Devil’s Lake – 11/4/17

Distance – 7.9 miles loop

Today started out rainy and after looking out the window of my hotel room at 7:00am and seeing the rain, I checked the weather for when it would end and crawled back in bed.  I finally got up about 8:30 and Accuweather confirmed the rain was supposed to stop about 10:00am.  I slowly got dressed, grabbed a donut at the nearby convenience store and headed toward Devil’s Lake.  When i arrived at 9:30 it was still rainy but was still supposed to end about 10:00.  the temperature was 34 degrees so i donned my warm jacket and put on my rain jacket over that.  I started from the north parking lot and headed up the East bluff woods trail.  the trail was well maintained and wide enough to walk 2 people across.  The trail gradually climbed upwards toward the east bluff.

Once on the east bluff trail, the trail turned to asphalt and rocks.  The wind at the top was cold and blew the rain towards me quickly soaking my pants. The bluff was in the clouds and there were no views to be seen today. I found some relief from the wind at the Devil’s Doorway Loop as I dropped off the top of the mountain.  With the fog, Devil’s Doorway looked almost surreal, like something from Lord of the Rings.  I climbed back up to the east bluff trail and continued on toward the CC Trail on the east end of the trail.At this point the trail dropped from the east bluff down to parking area on a series of steps made by the CCC in the 1930’s. 

Once at the bottom, I headed back West on the Grottos trail until I came to the Potholes trail and headed back up to the top of the bluff.  Like the CCC trail this was a series of steps made into the side of the bluff.  Once at the top I realized that there were now quite a few people out hiking today.  I proceeded toward the balanced rock trail and headed back down toward the south shore recreation area.  On the way down I noticed a group of people rappelling down the cliffs, but never did see the “balancing rock”.

Once at the south shore recreation area I stopped under a covered pavilion where I found a dry picnic table and enjoyed a Gatorade.  Picking  up my gear , I headed toward the west bluff trail.  There was a lengthy walk through the park and then a roadwalk to the west bluff trailhead.  as soon as I got on the trail the assent up to the west bluff began.  This trail was asphalt and rock as well and climbed quickly to the top of the west bluff and prospect pinnacle.  After the pinnacle, the trail continued along the bluff for a while before gradually descending into the North shore recreation area.  A quick walk along the shore and I was headed back to the car.

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