Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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Mirror Lake State Park Wisconsin

Entrance to Mirror Lake State Park

When taking part in outdoor adventure travel, the changing of the seasons is acutely noted by those who take part. This is especially true between fall and winter and winter and spring. I call this period the in betweens.

Not only does the weather change, but the activity themselves change. Alpine and cross-country skiing gives way to hiking and ice fishing gives way to traditional fishing. Hiking boots, bikes, paddles, and tents will be taken out of the closet replaced by skis and poles. Here are some other adventure travel ideas.

Mirror Lake outdoor adventure travel

Mirror Lake State Park in Wisconsin

The problem with this change in the season is the division is not so clear cut. While running in a forest preserve near my home a couple weeks ago I saw two robins flying around and playing with two juncos on the same tree. Robins are birds known for the arrival of spring while juncos are winter birds. This was perfect symbolism for early spring in the Midwest as sometimes it seems the weather cannot make up its mind whether it is winter or spring.

Wisconsin outdoor adventure travel cross-country skiing

Was today a day for skiing boots or

Hiking Devil's Lake State Park

Would it be a day for hiking? Hard to tell in the in between period


I drove up to Mirror Lake State Park in Wisconsin for some late winter early spring cross-country skiing. The conditions for the state park noted that they had received 3 inches of snow during the week, so I thought it might be a good place for my last ski excursion of the season.

The day was a beautiful early spring day in the mid 30s. The Canadian geese flew in V shaped formations. I even heard and saw one sandhill crane, one of the earliest birds to make the spring migration. Despite the moderate day, winter remained firmly rooted up here with over a foot of snow in the woods and ice fisherman present on the lake. In fact, one fisherman even had his SUV on the lake.

Mirror Lake State Park

Beautiful Mirror Lake State Park through the trees

Right away I could tell the ski conditions were mediocre. The snow was kind of slushy and the new snow had not been groomed. There is one great hill on the Ishnala Trail that winds through a little canyon down to the lake. I went half speed down the hill and actually stopped midway down the run due to the slow snow conditions.

Mirror Lake State Park

The good thing about the slow descent is I got this picture of icicles on the rock formation

This was a little disappointing, but there was one other hill on the course I knew would be good. It is a steep run that even with slushy conditions would be fun as gravity always prevails. I excitedly got to the top and headed down. Unfortunately, at the bottom of this hill was a three foot gap of snowless ground at the bottom of the hill. Check out the 30 second video to see how this turned out.

I decided it was time for spring and threw my skis in the car and headed to Devil’s Lake State Park in nearby Baraboo. Fortunately, I had the foresight to pack the hiking boots too. I hiked up to the top of the bluff with beautiful views of the frozen lake.

Devil's Lake State Park

Hiking Devil’s Lake State Park was a good decision

In one day I bridged the adventure travel activity gap between winter and spring. I felt like I passed outdoor adventure travel baton to myself from winter to spring via skiing to hiking. It felt great to get out and hike. Even though there was still a lot of snow on the ground, my new L.L. Bean boots gripped the snow and helped me up the bluff and back down.

Devil's Lake outdoor adventure travel

Enjoying the view at Devil’s Lake State Park

I then followed the Tumbled Rocks Trail down by the shore back to the car. In one day I did 8 miles of skiing and 4 miles of hiking on this early spring late winter day.

Tumbled Rocks Trail Wisconsin

Hiking the Tumbled Rocks Trail

Although I will miss cross-country skiing, I am looking forward to the future hikes I will make this year. I am already planning a spring hike in either Kentucky or Tennessee along with a two week trip to Oregon and Washington in July. There is always a hike or two in fall to enjoy the changing colors

Soon enough it will be November and the snow and cold weather will be upon us. That suits me fine as it will be time to take out the skis again. That is the great aspect about outdoor adventure travel. There is always a great activity to match the season.



The goal of Traveling Ted TV is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).