While out on the road touring some Rustic Road routes of Wisconsin I decided to spend a night near Madison, Wisconsin; our state capital. This, at one time, was my second home while attending college and my first home away from my hometown. I spent four years in this area and haven't been back for over 10 years. Even so, I found the area still easy to maneuver through but most of the buildings and former living areas have changed.
The city is alive with growth and opportunity. The Dane County Regional Airport is twice the size it was when I worked there, with expanded parking but the general route into and out of the airport has remained the same. My loft apartments are still there but now surrounded by more commercial and residential area. One thing hasn't changed and that is the road which was always in bad shape and continues to be even now.
After passing by the airport I pass by The Madison Area Technical College which is also twice the size it was when I attended with several buildings added that specialize in different fields and continues to grow with part of it still under construction. The new buildings are now where overflow parking used to be, I can only imagine the hike that has to be taken now by students; and we thought it was a long walk back then.
At one point I lived in a duplex in the suburb town called Waunakee a back road from De Forest and my hotel confirmed that I do know where I'm at and have a good memory but once entering Waunakee I was at a loss. The town, like everything else, has doubled in size bringing new shops into a historical feel, some of the buildings I remember but most I don't and new apartments and condos continue to grow. I finally come down the road of the duplex and it is a whole new world. The open fields that are now filled with residential homes, cul de sacs as far as the eye can see with single family homes line the road with new homes on the other side and continue on all the way back towards De Forest. I look for the duplex and it no longer exists bought and destroyed to make room for the new.
But the tour must come to an end as it is a long ride back to my hometown and even though most of that route has changed the bypass around Eau Claire has helped to cutback the commute by a half hour. However, weather is coming in from the North and if there are any delays I want to be back in familiar ground before it hits. There is one last stop I must do. When I came here for a college I was accompanied then by my rescued black lab mix dog and her name was Mitzy. She was first co-pilot and hiking buddy and it is only fair to show Aria her favorite spot and that is at Token Creek County Park.
Located outside of De Forest, Wisconsin. Token Creek park is 427-acre park that offers shelters, restroom facilities, disc golf, hiking trails, volleyball nets and in the winter cross-country skiing but the main attraction, for me, is their dog park. This dog park is located near the back and end of the park, completely fenced in with access to the local pond. There is also a smaller fenced in area, once inside, for puppies and small dogs. There is a fee to enter and can be purchased as a day pass or year pass, with forms available near the parking lot or once inside the fenced in dog park.
There are several picnic tables and benches throughout the park and along the trail. Upon entering the first trail on the right will take you down to the pond which allows dogs to enter and swim in. The trail continues around and comes back to the main trail of the park. Near the entrance the second trail which can go right or left is considered the main trail and in the middle is a high mound with benches on top. Going right or left takes you completely around the mound with trails that lead up to the top. Or you can skip the walk around and go right up to the top. There are also doggie bags for clean up, trash cans and water dispensers for your dog. The park always has been, and continues to be, clean, safe and well-maintained thanks to the fees paid at the gate.
Being here was a time of reflection for me on what was and what is about to be. I started a long, stressful, and confusing chapter in my life when I moved down here and spent a lot of time moving trying to figure things out. I learned a lot about my field of study, travel, customer service, friends and living on my own. I enjoyed it all, both the good and the bad, which made me who I am today. But it is now time to close that chapter and open the new one which is my Travel Writing/Blogging career. I look forward to the opportunities, travels, friends and memories that are going to be made along this new journey.
You don't have to go far to have fun. Here are a few places I visit when I'm not driving across country or exploring the Rustic Roads.