Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fighting Bob and the Devil (or his lake anyhow)

Fighting Bob Fest VIII

Examining the reason that I feel compelled to post about fighting Bob Fest, my conclusion is that it stems from the culture clash experienced by a political progressive* living in the lovely, but politically conservative area that is southwestern Virginia/northeastern Tennessee.

Taking place at the Sauk County fairgrounds in Baraboo, approximately 10,000 people gathered to hear a day long roster of speakers. Fighting Bob Fest is an annual Chautauqua featuring progressive speakers, networking opportunities, and entertainment. Fighting Bob Fest carries on the tradition of Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette. Robert La Follette was a US Congressman, the 20th Governor of Wisconsin and served as a US Senator from 1906 to 1925. Historically La Follette has been called "arguably the most important and recognized leader of the opposition to the growing dominance of corporations over the government.

The fest features an "A" list of fabulous speakers and story tellers like investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill.

Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton
(And recently announced candidate for Governor)

Here, in a folksy musical singalong Ed Garvey wears a rub board tie.

Other fantastic speakers included the Independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders, progressive journalist Greg Palast, syndicated columnist Jim Hightower, Wendell Potter a whistle-blower from the insurance industry, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Senator Tom Harkin and the Raging Grannies.

Wow! This is the kind of stuff that happens in small town Wisconsin.

Devil's Lake

After Bob Fest, late afternoon found us at Devil's Lake a nearly-10,000-acre state park that is 2 miles south of Baraboo and about 40 miles northwest of Madison, Wisconsin. More people visit Devil’s Lake State Park annually—1.2 to 1.4 million—than any other state park in Wisconsin. Visitors can swim in or boat on the clear, 360-acre spring-fed lake, hike or bike on over 29 miles of park trails.

We opted to hike over the top of the western bluff and circle back along the lakeside trail. As the sun sank toward the horizon, the lighting intensified the colors of the purple quartzite that dominates the valley.

The park is not maintained for rock climbing; do it at your own risk. Loose rocks may be encountered.

Leaves were just beginning to take on fall coloring.

Sumac and asters.

A great white heron is colored yellow by the slanting light of a low hung sun alongside the lake trail.

A charming shore line construction

My tennis shoes next to the aforesaid construction

And all the rental boats are gathered up at the end of the day.


*political progressive = the politically correct term for former liberals like me, people a little to the left of Barack Obama

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