Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quick Trip to Ableman's Gorge

As part of my ongoing birthday celebration, yesterday Reena and I rode with a friend to check out a Wisconsin Natural Area that we had never heard about. It is called Ableman's Gorge, and it is about 8 miles west of Baraboo. I stumbled upon it while I was writing up my recent post about Durward's Glen.

We took the scenic route via the Merrimac ferry across the Wisconsin River and through Devil's Lake State Park. From there it was no more than 20 miles to the hamlet of Rock Springs, population 425. The trail for the gorge is right along the highway and the southern parking area also has a delicious tapped spring where numerous cars and trucks pulled up and filled water bottles while we were there.

The rock wall is interesting enough by itself, but there is interesting geology at play here.


Here in a little spot called Dott’s Detour at the beginning of a short hiking trail, you can see a rippled vertical wall that used to be the bottom of a shallow sea. In spots you can see the older layers with their more vertical lines rising up to meet the younger and still horizontal layers near the top of the cliffs. It really plays with your mind to see the rippled rock that was so clearly a sea bed, rising vertically, nearly straight up. This photos is taken along one tapered edge of the cliff, though the ripples are visible (but less clearly photographed) in other places.

Vertical Ancient Sea Bed

While we enjoyed the short hike, our time was limited by a late start, and a commitment back in Madison. It was clear that we missed some things to see, and so another trip is called for. I suspect it would be an interesting place to photograph in the late fall, or even in mid-winter. We shall see. There are more photos in a short SLIDE SHOW where you can see the images in larger size.

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