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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Slippery Mile at Mirror Lake State Park

Since I had to take my daughter's car back up to her after the repairs were done, I chose a day when the weather wouldn't be too bad and planned a winter hike in a state park to break up the drive to our meeting spot in Tomah.  Turns out I should maybe have done a little more research because Mirror Lake State Park is catering to the cross country skiiers at this time of year and only the trail to Echo Rock and a little stretch along the lakefront are open to foot traffic, but I made do and put together about a mile hike on Saturday.

Cross country skiiers only on this trail...which was unmarked where I picked it up so I had to retrace my steps.

I had to walk along the outside of the trail because under the light layer of snow it was nothing but bumpy ice from previous melted footprints.  That slippery mile seemed a lot longer when you're struggling to keep your footing!  A few folks were out ice fishing and it was actually warm out in the sun.  Shacks will be coming off the ice probably because we're supposed to be warming up for at least a few days this week.

Mirror Lake is a 137-acre impoundment of Dell Creek that is about 4 miles long. The dam of Mirror Lake is one of the oldest man-made dams in Wisconsin. The west end of the lake was a popular resort area from the 1800’s until the 1930’s.  In its heyday, this area was the playground of influential people including Al and Lou Ringling with their Ringling Dance Pavilion.

The Blockbuster hit “Public Enemies” starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale was partly filmed in Mirror Lake State Park, namely several gunfights and car chases.  Guess I'll have to rent it now and see if I recognize anything, because apparently Echo Rock Trail's hilly terrain is from the film. When I came upon the trail to Echo Rock things were pretty quiet, no car chases or gunfights anywhere.  It was a nice spot and I had it all to myself.

The trail loops around back to the campground area and passes the Ishnala Bridge.  I didn't linger too long, but snapped a couple of shots while thinking about how nice it might be to come back in the spring with Wayne and do some kayaking in the area.


  1. Well, I just don't know about hiking in the snow, but it looks pretty.

    1. Desperate times call for desperate measures!