Go take a hike, it’s good for body and soul

Balanced Rock at Devils Lake State ParkI don’t hike as much as I’d like to these days, but I carry fond memories of hiking with my daughters when they were children and a special hike with them years later.

One special spot is Devils Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wis. Despite its name, it’s a heavenly place. Devils Lake offers miles of hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty, so there’s something for just about everyone.

I have three specific hiking memories that come to mind.

Hiking memory No. 1: During a weekend camping trip there when the girls were ages 4 and 8, their mother and I took them on a hike all the way around the lake. I can’t recall the exact distance, but it’s about three miles or so. I recall being quite proud because they made it all the way without whining or asking to be carried.

Hiking memory No. 2: A few years later, my older daughter accompanied me and a friend on a hike along the East Bluff trail heading south from the north end of the lake. Somewhere along the south face of the East Bluff we unwittingly got off the trail and ended up climbing down through some big boulders for a while. It turned out to be a little dangerous, to tell the truth, especially for a 10-year-old. But we were unscathed and lived to tell about it.

Hiking memory No. 3: When my younger daughter was about to head off to college in another state, the girls wanted one last day of adventure with their old man. They realized this rite of passage meant the opportunities for this kind of activity would be limited as they moved along in life, living in different states, pursuing their own careers, etc. So off we went to Devils Lake. We hiked there and then headed for nearby Phil’s Woods, a small park named for Phillip La Follette, a three-time governor of Wisconsin. We had never been there before, so we combined a new experience with a familiar experience that day. It’s one of my favorite memories.

So make the most of your summer. Get out there and hike. You’ll get some exercise, see some sights, flirt with danger and create some great memories. And it always helps to stay on the trails and dress appropriately to keep ticks and other bugs at bay.

30 Days of SummerEditor's note: Where are your favorite places to take a hike? Leave a comment, or visit the American Family Insurance Facebook page today and throughout the summer. Join the conversation by checking out the #30DaysOfSummer hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.

by Paul Johnson on Mon, Aug 05 2013 9:11 am
Posted by Paul Johnson on Mon, Aug 05 2013 9:11 amPaul Johnson is a strategic communications editor for American Family Insurance.


Tom Buchheim said on Aug 06, 2013
Paul - You touched on some great points. Nature is our great escape from reality. And Devils Lake is right up there on my list of outstanding hikes.
Grace VanDeWeghe said on Aug 06, 2013
Enjoyed your post, Paul. Hiking (especially at Devil's Lake) certainly has a way of bringing out the adventurer in all of us!
Paul said on Aug 08, 2013
Great post, Paul! My family, too, has enjoyed hiking around Devils Lake, an astoundingly beautiful park. Just a few weeks ago my daughter and I lost all track of time skipping stones on that pristine lake's surface -- a memory that will be with me forever.
Suresh said on Aug 20, 2013
Oh yes, there are trips I am dreaming of...if I could my next adenrtuve trip would be to Mongolia! But sometimes I don t mind continue dreaming.I also love little excursions to brighten up the daily grind!I go window shopping through the city, or to a gallery show, or just enjoying a walk through the city centre of Madrid which is always beautiful!

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