What do you picture when you think of paradise? Where would you go if you could only pick one place? Everyone has their own version of the most perfect place on earth and for different reasons. Luckily, we live on a big beautiful planet with ever changing landscapes.
One such place I discovered quite by accident. I knew of this spots existence for many years but didn’t have the opportunity to go, or got lost on the way or simply distracted by another trail and lost track of time.
One sunny morning I decided to go for a hike out in the Southern Kettle Moraine unit and took the long way which consisted of county highways. I set my route in my GPS and headed out.
It is really a lovely drive, lots of rolling hills, new and old farms, lots of cows. But in driving through rural Wisconsin, it is very easy to get distracted, so I inevitably took one wrong turn and the GPS adjusted my route, except that I didn’t notice. I just kept driving along enjoying the sights and smells of farm life. I can’t even tell you where I ended up, but found a trail to hike on that I didn’t know about. The trail led through a historical farmstead with a spring running through it and a spring house and I learned that they use the spring to chill the house where they stored food. Good to know!
So this brought up the memory of Paradise Springs and I wondered if it was connected to this farm so as I hiked I kept my eyes open for such a place. It wasn’t the same location, but it was a good, although short, hiking trail. If I can find it again I’ll write more about it.
I got back to my car with plenty of daylight left and thinking I was in need of coffee so I found Eagle Wisconsin on my paper map where I knew of a great place to get coffee. They have a public market that includes a coffee stand, open air seating, take home and heat frozen dinners, locally produced cheeses, a nice wine selection and some interesting other locally made products. They even sell hand made knit hats in case you forgot yours when out for a winter trip.
Where was I? Can you see know why I don’t leave home without my maps? So, I find my way to highway Z drive past the Emma Carlin biking trails, where I then realize where I am and no longer lost, turn east on highway 59 toward the town of Eagle. I’ve taken this road many times and always admire the varying landscape from old wooded lands to open prairies, filled with springs! And just like that I see a thin road side sign labeled Paradise Springs and an arrow pointing left. I decided coffee could wait. My intuition was right!
The park entrance and parking lot is on highway N just a short skip north of hwy 59. It is a fee area so if you don’t have a sticker you can drop some cash in the on site box or you can purchase a yearly sticker now on line. Also, some trail locations now have sticker/pass kiosks.
As you begin your walk through the park, notice the paved path takes you along a small spring. Take a close look, the water is impossibly clear and the plant life surrounding it and growing in the stream are vibrant and just seem happy to be alive. You also might see some trout. Behind you is a lovely little pond surrounded by trees and reeds but this is nothing compared to what you are about to discover.
Follow the path either to the left, if you are in a hurry, or to the right if you want to stretch out your anticipation. The path winds through some fragrant pines, much indigenous flora and fauna, and a few building ruins. (There is a pamphlet to guid you on the layout, but the display box has been empty each time I’ve returned.) Sit for a spell on one of the benches and take in the joy of the place in the bird song and plant life around you.
As you walk further in the park, an old structure comes in to view and you see glimpses of a turquoise color usually reserved for Mediterranean waters. The building looks like an outdoor bath house with round and curving arched windows and inside lies a crystal clear spring fed pool. The view from inside the bath house is breathtaking. I’ve never seen water that color anywhere else in Wisconsin.
The water changes depending on the days light. In the bright sunlight it is brilliant turquoise on the side of green. In the shadows, it becomes a deep brilliant navy blue that no paint color can recreate.
You can walk all the way around the spring fed lake and cross a very small foot bridge to look out over the falls and the stream below. The spring pumps out an impressive 500 gallons of water per minute! With all that clean filtered water it’s no wonder nature is abundant in this land.
The park has a varied history of wealthy owners, from a salt king who built a horse track to the Pabst beer baron and was a resort from the late 1940’s to some time in the 1960’s. I am grateful that it is now owned by the state of Wisconsin and I am allowed to sit in the splendor of paradise letting quiet contemplation relax my overburdened spirit. I’ve found so many images to use for art that I know it will be a spot I will frequent often. Paradise Springs is paradise to me.
When you go, go early and pick a sunny day to take full experience of the waters magic spell. Then stop in Eagle for a coffee or lunch. Pick up some dinner to take home from the Public Market along with a bottle of wine. Drink your coffee in the towns gazebo where you can borrow a book from the Little Library or lazily watch the world go by before you head back out on the road.
Have a blissful day in whatever paradise you choose!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.