All Along the Watchtower

I got some hiking in the other day in the Kettle Moraine. To many in the area, the Kettle Moraine is taken for granted as a backdrop part of the landscape.  But what is it?  The great hilly glacial feature that runs the length of eastern Wisconsin.  It's technically an "interlobate moraine" - a bunch of glacial debris deposited at the confluence of two great lobes of ice that ground down into Wisconsin in the last ice age. 

Parnell Tower rises atop one wooded ridge above the treetops. The wind set the bare trees roaring, forcing me to wedge myself between railings at the top to snap a few photos.  It was fiercely cold.

I looked out over a classic Wisconsin postcard scene through the rails.

Off to the west, I had a great view of the kames - steep conical glacial hills of debris formed when debris fell down through holes in the glaciers to the plain below.

After ascending the tower, I made a hike through the surrounding forest for several hours until darkness crept up to the crowns of the trees. The deep snow provided good exercise and warmth - and I wished I had my snowshoes.

It was a tranquil, reflective pause at the end of a long, eventful, often stressful year.  A deep exhalation.