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Looking for something unique this holiday season to give is a gift?Happy Holidays

Apex offers the gift of adventure through gift certificates.  Climbers can choose their own adventure during a time that pleases them.

Share an Adventure with us this holiday season by calling 608-434-3360.

Happy Holidays from Lynn and Jill and the rest of the Apex Crew!

 

A Day Out Climbing with Apex

  • 10696338_10153375510403695_2782899309964598110_nBy Guest Blogger: Marcie Waters

This summer, my friend Marissa and I decided to try out rock climbing with an Open Group Climb with Apex. At first, it seemed we were doomed to bad luck, as it began raining as soon as we arrived to the parking lot meeting point at Devil’s Lake State Park. We met our guide for the day, Jill, who distributed gear and made sure it fit us correctly, and the rest of our group, who included a family of rock climbing enthusiasts. We sat in our cars for a bit, waiting the rain out, until we decided it was clear enough to go climbing.

We went on a short but steep hike up to the bluffs where Jill had laid out four climbing routes for us to try. On our way up, she explained some background info about the unique nature at Devil’s Lake. When we arrived at the bluffs, Jill made sure we had our gear on properly, taught us how to tie into the ropes, and explained how to belay. Then we were off!

The rock had dried out quickly and didn’t pose a problem for climbing. Marissa climbed first, and I belayed her; then we switched off. Climbing was much harder than I thought it would be, and I had not realized how much of climbing is mental. This challenge just made it even more fun and rewarding when I climbed higher and higher. The day was spent switching between different routes and between climbing and belaying. Belaying might not sound as fun as climbing, but I did enjoy watching Marissa climb, helping her find holds in the rocks that she couldn’t see from her vantage point, and cheering her on. With Jill providing helpful tips and encouragement the whole time, climbing was really a group activity.

We ended the day by following Jill up to the top of the bluffs to learn about how the ropes had been set up for the climb and how to take them down before heading down towards the parking lot. Marissa and I enjoyed our first climbing experience and can’t imagine a better place to have done it than at Devil’s Lake with Apex!11535909_10153455921741942_4761020965844571284_n

A DAY OUT CLIMBING WITH APEX

Reflections of a Guide

Camping and climbing at Devil’s Lake State Park is awesome. Getting to share that with others is also great. Know what is even better? Pantry Rock Climbing

Getting to share it with others for FOUR days. Last week I got the privilege of working with a youth group from near my home town.  We camped, we climbed, we swam, we explored a river, we jumped into the water, and best of all, we all learned about each other and the world around us. Taking this time to reflect and build relationships is truly what being a guide is all about.

I have worked at other camps and regardless of location, getting to work with kids and adults alike, you see a changes in them after spending time in the wilderness.  Without some of the stimulations we see in every day life, people are different.  I see calm, relaxed, open, excited, and more.  I not only see it in others, but I see it in myself too.

When we take away those stimulations, we also create space for relationships to thrive in ways that those stimulations can push away.  Not once throughout the whole four days was someone busy on their phone instead of giving someone their full attention. With our attention turned to each other and ourselves, we start to listen better, we start to interact better, and we make room for more. More of whatever it is that we need.

So as I reflect on my time in the wilderness and each day I am allowed to spend time outside, I start to see myself more fully. I am better at achieving results when challenged. I have better, deeper, more solid relationships. And best of all, I am more of the best parts of me.

If you have time, check out what the world around us does to you.

– Jill Griffis

Reflections of a Guide

 

 

Top 5 Natural Attractions at Devil’s Lake

There are many amazing sites to see at Devil’s Lake.  Lynn and I have done extensive exploring and for the past five seasons, I have very much enjoyed much of “The Lake.” Here is my top 5 list of my favorite natural attractions at Devil’s Lake State Park.

5. A fish out of water.

Grab your license (for purchase at most gas stations in Wisconsin), a tackle box, and your pole.  Fishing is a great relaxing way to enjoy the lake.  If you are lucky, you will land a big one and have a nice catch for dinner.

path4. The south beach on a week day.

Stop at the lake for less crowds and a beautiful serene beach on a week day.  Evenings are also prime time to enjoy the quietness the lake has to offer.  Of course, any time is the right time to swim, so jump in and splash around. Note that this activity is especially awesome after a day of climbing during the Summer!

3. Balanced Rock Trail meets East Bluff Trail.

Take the Balanced Rock Trail up the bluffs.  Check out Balanced Rock on your way up, a naturally occurring rock formation.  Keep hiking until you reach Devil’s Doorway, also a natural rock formation.  Both have great views and are iconic to Devil’s Lake.

2. A 360 degree view from the middle of the lake.

Take to a boat or raft to gain access to the middle of Devil’s Lake.  This spot will not disappoint one bit.  You can get a more full view of the extravagance of Devil’s Lake State Park.  Can you name the different climbing areas?

1. The view from the top!  View From the Top

Of course, this list can’t be complete without noting that when you reach the top of a climb, there are wonderful, unique views.  No matter where you climb at Devil’s Lake, when you reach the top, look behind you.  Don’t miss seeing Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River from the CCC and Baraboo from the middle of the West Bluff.

Enjoy all these wonders of nature close to home.  And you thought you needed to head westward… let me prove you wrong : )

– Jill

Eek! Devil’s Lake Climbing Surprises!

Eek! Yikes! Interesting Finds Climbing

and Bouldering at Devil’s Lake.

One of the best things about hanging out at Devil’s Lake State Park is the interesting array of insects, frogs, toads, and snakes we come across while guiding. Not only are these “finds” on the trails, but often on the actual climbs themselves! Climbers can be walking to their destination or reach up for that bomber hold, only to be surprised by any number of things including timber rattlers, toads, and spiders.

Not to worry, these encounters are rare and mostly harmless!

The following is a list of the few my favorite things found while guiding:

  • Timber Rattler – See where we have found these at the lake.  Last year we had several sightings along the hiking trails to climbing locations!  With their loud rattler, though shy (thanks goodness!), you’ll hear them.
  • Frogs and Toads – The perimeter of the lake, the nearing ponds, and sometimes, in the cracks of climbs!
  • Walking Stick – Check the trees around the park.  Keep your eyes peeled, they can be tricky to spot since they look, well, like a stick.
  • Millipedes and Centipedes – These guys are all over Devil’s Lake State Park! Freaky at first, but not harmful. If seen on the trails, their favorite past-time is being saved and not stepped on.
  • wolf spiderWolf Spider – We see these guys on the side of the rocks.  Not often, luckily. They never fail to be a freaky sighting.

The Nature Center, located off the Devil’s Lake’s North Entrance offers a wealth of information and examples of wildlife at the lake, as well as a history of the lake and area. It’s well worth a visit. For information about hours visit their website.

Come out climb with us and let’s see what we can find!