Straight Lake State Park

Another detour on the way back to my campsite was to check out Straight Lake State Park.  As Wisconsin’s newest park (founded in 2002), it’s still relatively primitive which typically means less people & less disturbed nature.  I decided to take a quick trek around the Rainbow Lake Loop Trail and leave the rest for future visits once I get a kayak.

At the height of summer, foliage is dense and exploding with hues of emerald green.  Midway through this short 1-mile loop you can cut across a connecting path to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

For such a short walk there is much to see if you have a trained eye.  For example, I found a nearly perfect and undisturbed Chicken of the Forest mushroom.  Even though I don’t really care for ‘shrooms, someday I’m going to try cooking one of these up!

Small chipmunks feasted openly on wild raspberries.  Wildlife here is abundant and easy to find if you stay still & observe quietly.

Wild black-eyed Susans line the trails nearest the parking area.  This may be the most “ideal” flower I’ve photographed to date.  They’re everywhere here.

I spotted some damselflies along the banks of Rainbow Lake and recalled an email I received from Wisconsin DNR before leaving to keep a close watch for a rare species (blue-ringed dancer? if I recall).  Didn’t spot any of those, but did get a high-detail macro shot of these Familiar Bluets

…and also captured their somewhat bizarre mating ritual where the male grabs the female’s neck with the end of his tail and they curl up into a ring/heart shape (not shown here but look it up, it’s pretty neat!).

Saved the best for last: almost perfectly still waters make Rainbow Lake postcard-worthy.  (Don’t forget to click any of the images for a larger view!)

Hiking Data

Overall this is an extremely easy hike.  Plenty of rewarding views in just a short 1-mile loop.  Mosquito pressure is high but bearable if you have some bug spray and a decent breeze.

Lat = 45.6001053 , Long = -92.4055328 -- Show at Google Maps

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