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The King Is Alive

Jordan Feliz

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What’s Next with Natalie: Devil’s Lake

On “Mornings With Dave & Natalie,” we asked for your help compiling a bucket list for my first summer in Madison – and boy, did you deliver! I plan to check off many of your suggestions throughout the summer – and beyond – and write about my experiencesYou can also follow along on Life 102.5’s Facebook and Instagram pages, where I’ll be posting as I go. Thanks for helping to make my first Madison-area summer a memorable one! 

My parents were visiting us from Virginia for the 4th of July, and we wanted to pack in activities that showed off our new home. What better way to do that than to consult the bucket list?

Devil’s Lake was at the top … and now I can fully appreciate why.

I’m so glad I checked the state park’s website before we went. There are so many warnings about how much it fills up on summer weekends and holidays, so being that it was the weekend of the 4th, we hit a double whammy. Let me tell you: It was PACKED. And while I had figured that would mean we’d only get a sliver of beach to ourselves, I didn’t take into account just how much driving around we’d have to do before we found a parking spot. We were aiming to start our hike on the north side but were forced to exit the park and look for parking on the south side instead.

Alas, we FINALLY made it to the Tumbled Rocks Trail, which I had read was the best kid-friendly hike especially if you only had time for one. Our almost-2-year-old still goes in a carrier on my husband’s back when we hike, but this was a perfect one for my 5-year-old, who loves climbing and scrambling. Plus, there are some great rocks to jump from if you’re hoping for a swim!

We took the trail from the south end to the North Beach and back again. On the way back, my dad, brother, sister-in-law and I decided to be adventurous and jump into the water from those rocks. I had worn my swimsuit just in case, but the rest of them jumped in fully clothed because they didn’t want to pass up the experience!

My dad, brother, sister-in-law and I jumped from the rocks and went for a swim!

After the hike, we drove to the beach on the south side … sending us on yet another long hunt for a parking spot. That beach was also crowded, but we found a nice shady spot to set up for lunch, which wasn’t very far from the water where my husband and I swam with the kids for a while.

Even though it was only 78 degrees, the sun warmed up the water nicely! And at one point, my husband found an arrowhead in the water. He handed it to me and without thinking, I looked at it, said, “That’s cool,” and put it back in the water. He still hasn’t forgiven me…

Such gorgeous views!

Knowing what I know now about parking and the lay of the land, I think we’ll try taking our lunch and swim gear with us on the hike which is only a mile or so long and camp out at the north-side beach for the day, then hike back when we’re done. (The way we did it was great too though!)

I also hope to someday hike the East Bluff Trail that offers some great views of the park from up high, but maybe we’ll wait until the kids are older to tackle that one.

In the meantime, where should I go next?