Northwest Lake Kegonsa SP – The White Oak Trail

Here begins our second journey through the Wisconsin State Park system. We took two “summers” (i.e., consecutive groups of non-snowy months) to visit all of the parks the first time around. I don’t expect that we’ll visit every Wisconsin state park again because there were some that just aren’t worth a second tour.

We’re starting this second round with Lake Kegonsa State Park because we could drive there, hike it, and get back home all in one day. In fact, as you’ll see, we managed to do quite a bit more than that all in one day. Another reason we chose Lake Kegonsa is that, on our first visit, we didn’t stay very long. It was our second park of that day, and we were tired.

One or two other items I should note before getting into the details of this hike. I won’t be showing you the official state park sign posted at the entrance of most parks this time around. If you really want to see it (and I’m not sure why you’d actually seek it out), you’ll have to check out my posts from our first tour. Also, I won’t be adding that handy-dandy Location / Hours / Cost / Maps box at the end of each post. I think once for each of those is enough. Again, refer to the first tour’s posts if you need that info.

The White Oak Trail

Last time we were here, we hiked in the southeast part of the park. This time we chose the northwest corner and the White Oak Nature Trail.

White Oak Nature Trail start
White Oak Trailhead

There were 14 “waypoints”(?) along the trail. You actually see the last one first as you start to hike. It looks like there may sometimes be “A Guide Booklet for Hikers” in that wooden box. Maybe we were just there too early in the season, but it was empty this day.

White Oak Trail marker 14
White Oak Trail marker 14

The other markers along the way weren’t very helpful without that missing booklet.

White Oak Trail marker 1
White Oak Trail marker 1

The White Oak Trail is a loop that you’re apparently supposed to hike in only one direction. Yes, actually this sign is mostly for cross country skiers, I believe. It also ensures that, if followed, you hit the 14 markers in the proper order – not counting #14. (So why wasn’t #14 actually #1?)

White Oak Trail "Do not enter" sign
Do Not Enter sign

There were benches of different styles – not all the cheap(?) kind we see so often – along the path. Some were dedicated to someone’s memory, but others were not.

Bench with no back
Very plain bench
Bench with back and dedication
Dedicated bench

It was 4/22/24 as we hiked, so there wasn’t a lot of plant life to take note of yet. But there were flowers already in full blossom. (Sorry, I’m not good with the types. Some appeared to be violets because they were…violet.)

Violets and budding plants
Violet flowers and other plants getting started
White flowers
White flowers

Some plants were no longer alive, like this interesting hollow tree stump.

Hollow tree stump
Probably at least a foot in diameter

Noted on the official map is this Pine Plantation which you can see in the distance. Perhaps the official missing guide booklet would have told us more about it.

Pine Plantation
Pine Planatation

The final point of interest on the White Oak Trail is this Indian Mound.

Indian Mound
Indian Mound

Usually an Indian mound is easier to see in person than in a photograph. In this case, I think the opposite is true. When we were there in person, we really couldn’t see why there was a sign warning us to keep out. (Was the sign really necessary? Why would anyone try to hike off the trail in that direction anyway?) Now that I look at the area in the photo…maybe there’s a rise of land several feet behind the sign…? You’re forgiven if you don’t see anything special in the pic either.

Historical Markers near Lake Kegonsa

That was the sum total of our hiking in Lake Kegonsa SP that day. I think we took about an hour strolling over fairly level land to walk about 1.2 miles. But as I hinted at above, we weren’t done with the day’s activities yet.

Somewhere along the way last year, I got it into my head to try to visit as many Wisconsin Historical Markers as possible. There are hundreds of them. As of this writing, we’ve visited the location of 71 of them. I say, “visited the location” because sometimes you get to the spot where the marker is supposed to be and for some reason it’s missing.

On this trip we saw these markers in this order. (Each one is numbered by the state.)

After visiting the first three of those markers, we took another hike. This time, not in a state park, but in a county park – CamRock County Park, which is between Cambridge and Rockdale.

To read more about our day, see the post about our CamRock hike.

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