Today was the day for us to visit Parfey's Glen. While there are many other caches to find in the Baraboo and Devil's Lake area, we did only one other after our lunch before coming here. We knew this would be a challenge for us to do, and we wanted to give the location all of the attention it deserved. Luckily, we had chosen a time to come when the parking lot had a few open spaces, so we grabbed our trekking poles to head out on foot to the glen.
Soon we heard the sound of water over rocks, and this would be with us all the way to the end of our hike and back. The sun was out, but there were trees to shade us along most of the trail. Then we came to a spot where we had to cross the stream. No problem. Hop on a rock here, another one there. Then we noticed that we were flanked not only by trees and other greenery, but now some rock walls, getting ever taller. And then there was another place we had to cross the stream. A bit harder on this one, but still doable.
All the time we walked we were noticing the boulders on the ground, the trees clinging to the sides of the glen, the horizontal curves of the walls, and the very interesting combination of reddish quartzite tumbled layers coursing through the gray/brown sandstone that makes up the bulk of the sides of this narrow gorge. So much sign of geological activity, past and present, in this one spot! We remember when the floods came through in 2008 and 2010, but I had never been here before to see what it was like previously. Mr. Sandlanders had been here quite a while ago with some people, and at that time there was some snow on the ground, but the boardwalks were still in place to make the hike in fairly easy. Not so today!
We eventually came to a point where we weren't sure of the best route across the water and over the rocks. We waited to see what some people who were coming towards us would do, but they couldn't remember how they had made their way in, since things looked quite different from the other direction. They crossed in a few different spots, so after they had passed us, the two of us tried two different ways to continue. The trekking poles were very useful for balance and testing stream bed stability, and there were enough rocks of varying sizes to provide handholds for us.
And we continued hiking. We have seen some photos accompanying other logs for this cache that show a sign that says "End of Trail", but we never saw a sign. We did eventually come to a point were we could look down and see the waterfall at the end of the gorge. There were quite a few people there enjoying the falls, but we had had enough of the rock scrambling, and we decided to stay put on our rocky perch to view the scenery from that vantage point.
Then it was time to make the hike back. Like those who had gone before us, we noticed that things looked different than when we came up. The steps we had taken were more like drop-offs going the other way, and we made some water crossings on different boulders in the stream. Luckily, the water isn't deep here right now, so we didn't have to go wading anywhere, but we did see quite a few people who had their shoes and socks off, enjoying getting their feet wet. Although the hike to the glen wasn't steeply uphill, we did appreciate that our trip back to the car consisted of downhill, once we got past the rock scrambling and water crossings. All in all, we spent close to two hours on the hike and in the gorge, but never did we think it was taking forever. It was fun! And scenic and informative and very enjoyable! This was our cache find #2600, so we will add to all of our superlatives... very rewarding and memorable.
Thank you so much for placing this EarthCache for us to visit and enjoy, Lostby7, and we really appreciate all of the work you have done over the years to keep us all informed of the goings on in Parfrey's Glen. We're adding this one to our collection of favorites!