Matthiessen State Park – Lake Falls – Upper Dells

Matthiessen State Park is located in central LaSalle County, approximately 4 miles south of Utica and 3 miles east of Oglesby.

I took the images on this page on the last possible day this year. A big snowstorm hit the area the next day, and all the leaves blew off in the accompanying windstorm. Continue reading “Matthiessen State Park – Lake Falls – Upper Dells”

Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area Waterfall, Merrimac, Wisconsin

Those looking for a nice weekend or day trip from Chicago, Northern Illinois, or Wisconsin should check out the natural features near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
This is my second post is on Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area.

Parfrey’s Glen is Wisconsin’s first State Natural area and is unquestionably the most visited state natural area outside of Devil’s Lake State Park. The glen is open to the public from 6am to 8pm. At its uppermost part, the glen reaches a depth of nearly 100 feet and embraces a mountain-type stream flowing through its floor. The Glen’s walls are sandstone embedded with pebbles and boulders of quartzite. This quartzite is conglomerate, sometimes called a “plum pudding” stone. The sandstone layers represent ancient sandy beach. Because the Glen has many unusual and rare flora, visitors must stay on the trail from the lower parking area to the top of the glen and retrace their steps back. The Path is about 0.8 miles long.

In the last 20 years, the glen has been changed drastically by powerful floods. The glen has gone through various closures, repairs and upgrades in recent years. The bridges and trail known to hikers in the 80s and early 90s are now gone. The trail was again damaged by flooding in 2010 and closed until the fall of 2011. The 2011 repairs only went as far as the gorge itself. The expectation of further floods has caused the DNR to curb spending on repairs within the gorge proper. Hikers wishing to continue up to the waterfall must navigate a stream and rough stone. The steps leading up to the old viewing area and the viewing area are also damaged. Steps are missing and a section of the viewing area is now partly collapsed. Use caution if you plan to go beyond the marked trail.  Visitors may hike to the pool below the waterfall, but not go around or beyond the falls.

The hike to the small waterfall featured in this article is at the end of the trail, about 0.8 miles each way. I would rate the trail as easy despite the cautions above. There is a bit of scrambling over rocks, but seriously, it is not as difficult as it may seem from the above description. Bring the kids. They will love it.

This is a fee area with pay boxes. They do check, frequently. Buy a pass or you are highly likely to get a ticket.

Feature Image Details

For the feature image, I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at ISO 125, 20mm, 13 seconds at F22 with a circular polarizer to increase the shutter time.

It had just started to drizzle when I took a set of images.

Parfrey’s Glen Tips

  • This park photographs best on a cloudy day.
  • Perfect conditions would be bright overcast, with little wind, with wet rocks just after a rain.
  • Light drizzle works very well is there is little wind.
  • Rain saturates the leaves as well as the colors on the rocks.
  • Use a polarizer to remove glare.

Polarizer Tips

People misuse polarizers. I generally do not use them on sunny days, especially if I have a lot of sky in the image. Why? The polarizer will darken the sky in a very non-uniform manner that is hard to correct even in Photoshop.

I often use polarizers on cloudy days and did so on these images. Here are more images from the glen.

Second Image

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Other Parfrey’s Glen Images

I have four additional images of the quartzite and sandstone bluff in my first post on Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area, Merrimac, Wisconsin.

Nearby Locations

Devil’s Lake State Park, Pewits Next, Ableman’s Gorge, and the International Crane Foundation are close by.

Pewit’s Nest

  1. Pewits Nest, Wisconsin State Natural Area, Lower Falls
  2. Pewits Nest, Wisconsin State Natural Area, Upper Falls

Ableman’s Gorge

  1. Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 1
  2. Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 2

I have an entire series on the International Crane Foundation. That link will take you to some of them. Look for those tagged “Mish Moments”.

Click on the link for a search, or better yet, scroll through my Mish Moments Home Page until you find them.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area, Merrimac, Wisconsin

Those looking for a nice weekend or day trip from Chicago, Northern Illinois, or Wisconsin should check out the natural features near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
This post is on Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area.

Parfrey’s Glen is Wisconsin’s first State Natural area and is unquestionably the most visited state natural area outside of Devil’s Lake State Park. The glen is open to the public from 6am to 8pm. At its uppermost part, the glen reaches a depth of nearly 100 feet and embraces a mountain-type stream flowing through its floor. The Glen’s walls are sandstone embedded with pebbles and boulders of quartzite. This quartzite is conglomerate, sometimes called a “plum pudding” stone. The sandstone layers represent ancient sandy beach. Because the Glen has many unusual and rare flora, visitors must stay on the trail from the lower parking area to the top of the glen and retrace their steps back. The Path is about 0.8 miles long.

In the last 20 years, the glen has been changed drastically by powerful floods. The glen has gone through various closures, repairs and upgrades in recent years. The bridges and trail known to hikers in the 80s and early 90s are now gone. The trail was again damaged by flooding in 2010 and closed until the fall of 2011. The 2011 repairs only went as far as the gorge itself. The expectation of further floods has caused the DNR to curb spending on repairs within the gorge proper. Hikers wishing to continue up to the waterfall must navigate a stream and rough stone. The steps leading up to the old viewing area and the viewing area are also damaged. Steps are missing and a section of the viewing area is now partly collapsed. Use caution if you plan to go beyond the marked trail.  Visitors may hike to the pool below the waterfall, but not go around or beyond the falls.

The hike to the small waterfall at the end of the trail is 0.8 miles each way. I would rate the trail as easy despite the cautions above. There is a bit of scrambling over rocks, but seriously, it is not as difficult as it may seem from the above description. Bring the kids. They will love it.

This is a fee area with pay boxes. They do check, frequently. Buy a pass or you are highly likely to get a ticket.

Feature Image Details

For the feature image, I used a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at ISO 125, 20mm, 4 seconds at F14 with a circular polarizer to saturate the colors.

Parfrey’s Glen Tips

  • This park photographs best on a cloudy day.
  • Perfect conditions would be bright overcast, with little wind, with wet rocks just after a rain.
  • Light drizzle works very well is there is little wind.
  • Rain saturates the leaves as well as the colors on the rocks.
  • Use a polarizer to remove glare.

Polarizer Tips

People misuse polarizers. I generally do not use them on sunny days, especially if I have a lot of sky in the image. Why? The polarizer will darken the sky in a very non-uniform manner that is hard to correct even in Photoshop.

I often use polarizers on cloudy days and did so on these images. Here are more images from the glen.

Additional Images

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Nearby Locations

Devil’s Lake State Park, Pewits Next, Ableman’s Gorge, and the International Crane Foundation are close by.

Pewit’s Nest

  1. Pewits Nest, Wisconsin State Natural Area, Lower Falls
  2. Pewits Nest, Wisconsin State Natural Area, Upper Falls

Ableman’s Gorge

  1. Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 1
  2. Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 2

I have an entire series on the International Crane Foundation. That link will take you to some of them. Look for those tagged “Mish Moments”.

Click on the link for a search, or better yet, scroll through my Mish Moments Home Page until you find them.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Coming up: A second post on Parfrey’s Glen.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Pewits Nest, Wisconsin State Natural Area, Upper Falls

Those looking for a nice weekend or day trip from Chicago, Northern Illinois, or Wisconsin should check out the natural features near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
This post is my second on Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area.

The dominant feature at Pewits Nest is a 30- to 40-foot deep gorge formed during the retreat of the last glacier. Associated with it are Skillet Creek, shaded cliffs, and a northern dry-mesic pine forest. When Glacial Lake Baraboo drained, Skillet Creek cut a narrow canyon through the Cambrian sandstone, forming a series of potholes and low waterfalls. The layers of Cambrian sandstone show that a finer-grained sediment was laid down by the Cambrian seas “inside” the syncline, a process different from that at Parfrey’s Glen where coarser Cambrian conglomerates and sandstones are found in layers. Skillet Creek has a gradient of 38 feet/mile and an average flow of 0.8 cfs. Within and above the gorge grows a narrow fringe of forest dominated by red cedar, white pine, hemlock, and yellow birch.

The hike to the gorge is about 0.9 miles. I would rate it as very easy. There is elevation change to get to the top, but anyone in reasonably good health who can walk will not struggle with this one. The main danger is getting too close to the cliff edge and falling off.

Pewit’s Nest Directions

The DNR link above provides directions and a map of newly closed areas. I cannot tell precisely from the map if I was in a closed area or not when I took the vertical images from above. I do not believe I was in a closed area for the third, horizontal image that shows a tiny portion of the lower falls.

Judging from the map, all the trails appear to be open but there is no longer any access to the gorge itself.

I had never been in the gorge but wanted to do so in the winter if things froze solid enough. That option appears to be gone, at least legally.

Feature Image Details

For the feature image, I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at ISO 100, 32mm, 4 seconds at F22 with a circular polarizer to saturate the colors.

Pewit’s Next Tips

  • This park photographs best on a cloudy day.
  • Perfect conditions would be bright overcast, with little wind, with wet rocks just after a rain.
  • Light drizzle works very well is there is little wind.
  • The rain saturates the leaves as well as the colors on the rocks.
  • Use a polarizer to remove glare.

Polarizer Tips

People misuse polarizers. I generally do not use them on sunny days, especially if I have a lot of sky in the image. Why? The polarizer will darken the sky in a very non-uniform manner that is hard to correct even in Photoshop.

I often use polarizers on cloudy days and did so on these images. Here are two more images from this spot in the upper area.

I went back the next day, but a heavy overnight rain increased the flow and washed almost all the leaves away.

Also see Pewits Nest, Wisconsin State Natural Area, Lower Falls.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Nearby Locations

Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen, Ableman’s Gorge, and the International Crane Foundation are close by.

Ableman’s Gorge

  1. Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 1
  2. Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 2

I have an entire series on the International Crane Foundation. That link will take you to some of them. Look for those tagged “Mish Moments”.

Click on the link for a search, or better yet, scroll through my Mish Moments Home Page until you find them.

I will cover Devil’s Lake State Park and Parfrey’s Glen in subsequent articles.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Coming up: A second post on Pewit’s Nest them Parfrey’s Glen.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Pewits Nest, Wisconsin State Natural Area, Lower Falls

Those looking for a nice weekend or day trip from Chicago, Northern Illinois, or Wisconsin should check out the natural features near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
This post is on Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area.

The dominant feature at Pewits Nest is a 30- to 40-foot deep gorge formed during the retreat of the last glacier. Associated with it are Skillet Creek, shaded cliffs, and a northern dry-mesic pine forest. When Glacial Lake Baraboo drained, Skillet Creek cut a narrow canyon through the Cambrian sandstone, forming a series of potholes and low waterfalls. The layers of Cambrian sandstone show that a finer-grained sediment was laid down by the Cambrian seas “inside” the syncline, a process different from that at Parfrey’s Glen where coarser Cambrian conglomerates and sandstones are found in layers. Skillet Creek has a gradient of 38 feet/mile and an average flow of 0.8 cfs. Within and above the gorge grows a narrow fringe of forest dominated by red cedar, white pine, hemlock, and yellow birch.

The hike to the gorge is about 0.9 miles. I would rate it as very easy. There is elevation change to get to the top, but anyone in reasonably good health who can walk will not struggle with this one. The main danger is getting too close to the cliff edge and falling off.

Pewit’s Nest Directions

The DNR link above provides directions and a map of newly closed areas. I cannot tell precisely from the map if I was in a closed area or not when I took the vertical images from above. I do not believe I was in a closed area for the third, horizontal image that shows a tiny portion of the lower falls.

Judging from the map, all the trails appear to be open but there is no longer any access to the gorge itself.

I had never been in the gorge but wanted to do so in the winter if things froze solid enough. That option appears to be gone, at least legally.

Feature Image Details

For the feature image, I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at ISO 125, 45mm, 3.2 seconds at F22.

I do not recommend an F22 or anything greater than f16 because you run into diffraction limits which makes for decreased sharpness. I was trying to get a longer exposure to blur the water. F16 would have resulted in an exposure half of F22 (each F-Stop doubles or halves the time).  1.6 seconds likely would have been long enough to get the effect in the water that I wanted. All that said, the image is very sharp, so F22 does not seem to have hut the image any.

Pewit’s Next Tips

  • This park photographs best on a cloudy day.
  • Perfect conditions would be bright overcast, with little wind, with wet rocks just after a rain.
  • Light drizzle works very well is there is little wind.
  • The rain saturates the leaves as well as the colors on the rocks.
  • Use a polarizer to remove glare.

Polarizer Tips

People misuse polarizers. I generally do not use them on sunny days, especially if I have a lot of sky in the image. Why? The polarizer will darken the sky in a very non-uniform manner that is hard to correct even in Photoshop.

I often use polarizers on cloudy days and did so on these images. Here is a second image from the bluff area with a narrower angle view.

The gorge contains at least three waterfalls.

To get those images, I was in a place where if I fell I would have died. I do not want to exaggerate the risk as there was not that much danger as long as one is paying attention. It is easy to take a step back or slip if one is not careful.

Similar shots are available from the main trail, but they will have trees blocking a portion of the scene.

Portion of Lower Falls 

That’s all you can see of the lower falls from ground level, at least legally. Swimming and wading are prohibited.

I edited out a small portion of one rock where some idiots attempted to scratch their names. The rock is very hard and you have to get wet, so, fortunately, the area is not very defaced.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Nearby Locations

Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen, Ableman’s Gorge, and the International Crane Foundation are close by.

Ableman’s Gorge

  1. Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 1
  2. Ableman’s Gorge State Natural Area, Wisconsin – Part 2

I have an entire series on the International Crane Foundation. That link will take you to some of them. Look for those tagged “Mish Moments”.

Click on the link for a search, or better yet, scroll through my Mish Moments Home Page until you find them.

I will cover Devil’s Lake State Park and Parfrey’s Glen in subsequent articles.

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Coming up: A second post on Pewit’s Nest them Parfrey’s Glen.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock