The tale of two towers

>> 10.12.2008

Subtitle: The invasion of the Asian lady beetles.

Warm weather, pretty leaves, hiking at state p
arks, tons o' lady bugs. That about covers it.

Didn't think you'd get off that easily, did you?

State park visit #1: Saturday at Pike Lake. Below is the view from the observation tower in July, followed by one taken Saturday. The leaves have turned. Ooo, pretty. But to get that view, one had to fight thousands of the aforementioned beetles. The bottom half of the tower was coated with them, as in crunch, crunch, ewwww. Apparently they don't bite, they actually grab you with a spur on their leg. Same effect. Ouch. But there weren't any at the top of the tower. Wimps.

The Pike Lake beach only was occupied by a few nice people, including a polite playmate for the child, who actually asked to please borrow the pail and shovel. No bugs. Sunshine, colorful leaves, relaxation.

State park visit #2: Sunday at Lapham Peak. Apparently everyone in southeast Wisconsin forewent a day on the couch watching the NFL. Instead they said, "Hey, let's go to the state park down the road where we can park our car, walk 20 feet, and see pretty leaves." And they lined up down the highway to get in. Alas, the parking lot next to the observation tower was full and the rangers only let people who really couldn't walk more than 20 feet drive up there. Awwww.

So we parked in the overflow lot and took the less-traveled roller coaster trail around the park. I can't imagine cross-country skiing on that one. But you can.

The tower climb (once you got past the lady beetles again) was anticlimactic. The leaves once again were pretty. But being surrounded by not-well-supervised kids throwing footballs off the observation tower while listening to people blast music in the parking lot and let their dogs off leash kind of ruined the experience. Note to the football-throwing, foul-mouthed Cub Scouts: you aren't funny, and my five-year-old didn't need to hear all that while we're hiking.

Two days, two hikes, two towers, two experiences, two-thousand beetles. On our next hike we promise to skip "prime time" at the park.


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