Roadtrip! Destination Devils Punchbowl in Menomonie, Wisconsin. From our home in Green Bay it is almost a four hour drive. Weather is nice, so why not. My daughter has the day off and it is a place I have always wanted to go.
On a Deadline: We had to make this a day trip. My daughter only has one day off. That is today. The remainder of the weekend she is working. At 6am tomorrow. Early start to this morning it is. Car and gear is packed.
Woah Driving 4 Hours There and Four Hours Back, TODAY?: People ask me often why would you travel four or five hours to see something, stay 2-3 hours and drive back. Isn’t that crazy? Sure. It may be a little crazy. I will admit it. It boils down to time and money. The entire day trip for the day came in at $67.00 for gas, drinks and our lunch. Not bad for a little getaway. No motel cost. If I commit to the drive I get to see and experience a little more of my world. Wish I had additional funding to travel further and longer but at this point I do not. Midwestern exploration it is.
Daughter and I doing what we do. Being silly, having fun and exploring inside the tunnel at Devils Punchbowl.
Are We Lost? Someone told me this park was on 410th Street. I punch it into the GPS. When we arrived at the “place.” It had an Amish buggy sign and a no trespassing sign. I said out loud, this is wrong. Can’t be. It wasn’t. Although it happens often. We were kindly redirected to the correct street.
Redirect – Directions That Got Us Where We Needed To Be: It is true that the road is called 410th Street. Punch in what is on the sign below. It makes a difference and I will save you from maybe making the same mistake.
Parking at Devils Punch Bowl – Easy. Free to access park. Plenty of off street parking.
First Thoughts: From the first set of stairs I could see a tunnel with graffiti. That was going to be our first stop. Well, first we had to think of how to get down the icy stairway in front of us. My thoughts. Solve one issue at a time. Worry about getting back up when the time comes. Right now, the problem is how to get down.
I’m Not Getting Any Younger: You never know how long you are going to be able to motor around with ease. I am not getting any younger.
I know that I have issues with absorbing calcium and my bones are getting weak (been through testing). Taking the necessary precautions to not break any bones is at the top of my list. Falling down an icy set of stairs, not an option. Sliding down on the ‘ole rumpster it was. Quick and easy. One thump at a time.
Bottom of Stairs Three Choices. Left – Overlooking the Punchbowl. It is chained off, for good reason. You can still see it, but not the prime spot for viewing or pictures.
Right – The tunnel. graffiti lined the tunnel, both by pictures and words. A few of the artist’s tags are pretty darn cool.
We wanted to explore the tunnel more and see what was on the other side but we were not sure if that crystal clear ice was safe.
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You could hear running water under the ice and it bubbled out underneath in a spot just before the entrance of the tunnel. We decided after looking at the bubbling spot that even if we fell through, it wasn’t deep. No worries. Our boots would get wet, nothing more.
The ice inside the tunnel was slick and smooth like an ice rink. We stayed along the wall and used it to guide us through the tunnel to view the works of art and get to the other side. Otherside – nothing to view. Not worth exploring in winter.
Choosing Straight Ahead: We chose the snow and ice covered steps that were barely visible. There was a chain-link metal fence that lined the steps and appeared to surround the top of the bowl. Looked interesting. The question became shall we try it? The answer was, yep. We were. And, we did.
I feel the burn in my pectoral muscles today from pulling myself up the stairs using tree stumps and the fence post.
View from the Top of Devils Punch Bowl: Short path that runs around the top of the bowl. In the winter you can get tree limbed pictures of the bowl. Was hoping for a better shot. But didn’t happen. The path way, dead ends.
I Know You Want To: Along the path was a water pump. Which you know, I snapped a shot of.
The path around the punchbowl dead ends. There was a clearing to our right. Off to the side was a piece of rusty equipment and of course, my daughter says I know you want to…. AND, I did.
Was setting up the shot and I heard what I thought was a tractor. Well, what the heck. Sure enough, here comes the farmer on his tractor across the field. I snapped a pic of the piece of equipment and ran back into the path in the woods.
Backtracking down the path and yelling to my daughter: “Who takes their tractor out to an empty field in the middle of winter in Wisconsin?” Her laughing reply as we are running through the woods, “The one who wants to get you for trespassing on his property!”
For fun, I processed the above picture in black and white and added a little bit of drama to it. Drama, just like the drama it took to get the shot.
Ended at the Road
Following my daughter’s lead, we ended up on the road, instead of having to climb back up the icy steps in the pic below. In the end, it was a win. We walked a short distance and re-entered the park. On to the second set of steps.
Second Set of Steps: There are many additional steps to this set. They are steeper and just as icy. I didn’t come all this way for just getting tree limb covered pics. We are going down.
The Punch Bowl: You have a short walk along a small creek bed to get the Devils Punchbowl. Some spots it gets slick. It was a cakewalk compared to the stair set.
Up Close and Personal: The sound of the running water that flows from the rocks is magical. The running and seeping water is what forms the ice curtains. If I had a long-standing recording of the flowing water, it would put me to sleep at night.
Many Vantage Points: There are a number of places to view the ice curtain from on the ground inside the Devils Punchbowl.
Each is equally impressive. My daughter and I were the only two soaking in the glory of this natural wonder. We had the place all to ourselves for about an hour.
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It Was A Wonderful Way To Spend The Day: My daughter is just as much as adrenaline junkie as myself. Well, for that fact; so is my son. We go on our own adventures from time to time.
Some of the things we do are not without risk. In the end, I only regret the things I didn’t do. Not the things I have.
I hope you enjoyed tagging along with us to Devils Punchbowl.
Until next time friends. Take care!
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Disclaimer: This site is provided for entertainment purposes and to display my work only. If you venture to any of the photography locations I list on this site you are doing so of your own free will. In making that choice – you have taken personal responsibility for any outcome. Emotionally, physically and monetary wise.