As usual, a weekend forecast for snow, wind and generally miserable weather leading up to the class I was teaching last weekend with Chris at Devil’s Lake had us gripping all week….for no reason…mostly. Saturday was unpleasant (cold, extremely windy) for half the day, but conditions improved as the day went along. Sunday was supposed to feature temps in the 30’s and the possibility of snow, however it was actually in the mid-40’s with nary a cloud in they sky. In other words, basically a perfect day to be at Devil’s Lake.
Unfortunately, both Chris and I have had surgery in the past 2 months so climbing was not really high on our priority lists, nor was it high on the priority list of our students apparently. With perfect weather taking shape on Sunday and a few hours left in the class, we hiked around Devil’s Lake a bit and then headed to Parfrey’s Glen State Natural area just outside the main area of the park.
I have been to Devil’s Lake and driven by the entrance to Parfrey’s Glen dozens of times without stopping so I was psyched to finally pay a visit. The trail meanders along a stream (or raging river currently) for about a half mile until you start to get into the Glen itself. Here is where you begin to wonder if you aren’t in a different state. As you continue up into the Glen, walls of rock as high as 50 feet start to take shape on either side of you.
One of the more amazing parts about ‘The Glen’ is the ability it gives you to see the layers of rock that have formed. The walls are composed of alternating layers of sandstone and quartzite. Of course, quartzite is actually made of sandstone so it makes sense to see them together. Attempting to visualize how these bands formed separately over the course of millions of years and then were carved out into the valley that we see today is an entirely different matter though. Not so good for climbing, but it provides an interesting glimpse into the natural history of the area.
Overall it was a great weekend, especially when compared with what the weather could have been (allegedly). Check out the rest of the pictures below (if you are reading this via an RSS reader it is helpful to visit the actual post to browse the photos):