Nephew Mike and I made this trip on 5 October 2010. Though I've been to the Baraboo Hills in the past. I had no idea Pewit's Nest existed. We also wanted to take in Parfrey's Glen but ran out of time.
Pewit's Nest is a gorge, or small canyon, on Skillet Creek, ranging from 30 to 40 feet in depth, that cuts through sandstone. It is a designated State Natural Area and is open daily. It receives no special maintenance so requires a lot of clambering around on high rocks along the side of the gorge, on ungroomed footpaths. There are no guardrails and it is dangerous -- but so gorgeous!
Mike lives out of state these days, but came for a visit so he could photograph. He's a superb photographer. I considered it a privilege that his mom suggested he take me along on one of his adventures. He had made Pewit's Nest a destination. I'd never even heard of it before, so that was perfect for me. These photos are mine, not Mike's. His are so much better that it's embarrassing; I've included this link.
We wandered along the backroads in search of anything that looked like a good photo. Mike didn't consider it an ideal day for photographing because the sky was so very clear and bright. Shadows were harsh. When we arrived at Pewit's Nest, however, the bright sunlight proved very useful.
The top photo kind of showcases Pewits Nest -- the gorge and the tiers of little waterfalls and pools. Autumn added color and brightness.
Across the road from the parking area was a picturesque old barn beyond a field. It was a classic so we photographed it.
Mike found this ornamental grass along the roadside interesting, so we stopped to collect photos. We were high in the Baraboo Hills, so I tried to capture the distant valley as well. Unfortunately, I also captured a car in the best shot.
At Pewit's Nest, we hiked back to the beginning of the gorge. This was an easy hike. We then worked our way downstream. The photo subjects just kept getting better, and also harder to access. Mike had no problem, even with all his equipment strapped to his back or slung over a shoulder. I, by contrast, am an old lady. I could only manage carrying my camera (around my neck). I moved slowly and clung to many trees and bushes in an effort to avoid careening over the edge. Oh dread!
The stream descends in tiers along the floor of the gorge. Each tier has its little waterfall and then a pool. The tree canopy above the gorge was brightly colored, and branches sometimes grew in twisted paths around other branches. Finally, the gorge ends and the stream exits through a narrow cut and out into a wide pool.
The trees growing on the rock formation were pretty, so I shot up into their heights against a deep blue sky.
Mike had climbed down into the gorge to photograph the first little waterfall. I dared not follow. I tried. The rock ledge along the stream's edge was narrow and I had visions of slipping off, so I turned around, climbed out, and photographed Mike from above: photographs of the photographer.
Last is a deteriorating shed below the Baraboo Hills.
We had hoped to find some shots reflecting sunset on Horicon Marsh from the Niagara Escarpment, but I really timed things badly and it never happened.
9 Nov. 10 I returned to the Baraboo Hills a month later, this time with a girlfriend from my college days. The weather was unseasonably warm, the husband didn't want to take off work, and I didn't want to miss this chance. We stayed in a cabin at Pinehaven B&B, which both of us loved. What a gorgeous setting and charming buildings (which the owner had built). The pond in late afternoon came alive with reflected colors from the sunlight and hills. The pond is a dammed spring that runs into the Baraboo River a short distance beyond the far shore.
We returned to Pewit's Nest because Tracey wanted to experience it "up close and personal." What a difference a month makes, as the trees were now bare; the water no longer reflected the brilliant yellows from above. Nevertheless, there's no denying the charm and tranquil loveliness of this quiet gorge.
We attempted to visit Hemlock Draw and Pine Hollow, but never did find any really cool rock formations. They were probably around but more difficult to access. We walked a long distance, down, down, down, but probably not down deep enough.
I checked out the Lower Narrows, which was impressive. A quarry was built where the Baraboo River passes through the Baraboo Range via a water gap. The quarry exposes the awesome rock structure of the hills.
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