Sunday, Sarah and I both wanted to get out of town for a while and Sarah's idea of taking a picnic to Devil's Lake State Park won out. Sarah put together lunch while I loaded the car and off we went.
We stopped on the way and bought some cheese (for home) and some cheese curds (for the picnic). About an hour after we started, we pulled into the parking lot. The park can be fairly crowded in the summer as it is the single most popular state park in the Wisconsin. On Sunday, while there were plenty of people there, it was far less crowded than it often is during the summer.
We spread out our blanket in the shade under some trees and enjoyed a pleasant picnic. Garrison played with plastic lids and a carrot that Sarah brought along for him while Sarah and I ate our lunches. Dalla spent her time waiting for hand-outs and patrolling the nearby greenery for critters.
After an hour or so we brought our picnic gear back the to car, changed into our hiking boots, and hit the trail. Sarah put Garrison into a new baby carrier that she made and he was asleep relatively rapidly (he didn't manage to take a nap in the morning so he was pretty cranky and tired by then). She hauled his sleeping self uphill for the better part of a mile as we climbed up the East Bluff Woods trail. At the top she transferred him to me and I put him in the baby backpack that we have. He spent the rest of the hike on my back and most of the time he was asleep.
The weather was extremely pleasant, with temperatures in the upper seventies and sunshine. A handful of trees were turning, and many of the plants on the forest floor were browning up, heralding the arrival of fall in the next couple of weeks.
After hiking for a couple of hours, we started back to Madison. Everyone, except Garrison, was tired from hauling water, food, and/or an infant on their back up and down the bluffs. We took the scenic route back to Madison, with the windows down the entire way, and took the Merrimac Ferry across the Wisconsin River. We had to wait twenty minutes or so to get on-board, but it made for a pleasant end to our trip.