Walking down the wooden steps to the Devil’s Punchbowl was an experience all it’s own. Once descended into cooler air, you were free to travel the length of a stream, in either direction. One direction led to where the water entered. Day and night the water must drip from the layers of rock and moss, forming a puddle in this cavern. The puddle then slowly flows, forming the shallow stream, which gathers other water dripping in from the sides of the crevice. This dripping water was what captivated me. With the sunlight that filtered through the leaves, some of the drops turned into tiny diamonds. They twinkled as they moved, dancing downward to the ground. I could stand there enthralled forever if I let myself, simply because each shimmer of reflected light danced differently. It was like each drop of water had it’s unique dance, just as each person I’ve met so far at UW-Stout has such distinct qualities; just like every person in the world is purely individual.
The sweet, cool smell of nature filled my lungs as we descended wooden stairs into the Devil’s Punchbowl. Once glance upward and I was amazed at the beauty that surrounded me. The walls of the canyon–like structure were massively gorgeous. Sunshine seeped through trees, highlighting portions of the wall and bringing out the colors in the different layers of rock. The sound of trickling water reached my ears as it slowly found its way down the rocky landscape. To complete the look, the entire scene was brimming with lush green vegetation (hopefully not much of which was poison ivy…). It oddly occurred to me that the Devil is often portrayed in society as enticing, ugly, and unpleasant. If this was the Devil’s Punchbowl, then perhaps the founders understood the TRUE identity of the devil prior to naming this masterpiece. Ezekiel 28:12 claims that the devil is incredibly beautiful. Genesis chapter three gives the impression that he is enticing. If you choose to visit the Devil’s Punchbowl, be warned that the beautiful surroundings may entice you to make it a new favorite Menomonie destination.
From above the Devil’s Punch Bowl looks like a large hole in the ground, but when you step off the last stair down into the bowl there is a noticeable difference. The temperature drops, and you can hear the tinkling sound of water falling. Looking around, you are surrounded by water covered walls of rocks. There are not really waterfalls, but the water drips down on all sides creating a sparkling look in the sunlight. It is a peaceful place. It is one of those places you just want to keep for yourself.
When you begin to enter the Devil’s Punch Bowl, it imposes a silence upon you. Maybe ‘imposes’ is a strong word; it modestly suggests. It is invitingly lit, like a scene from a movie you used to like. When you are in the Devil’s Punch Bowl, the silence causes you to reflect upon the facts of life that are most immediate to you: the foliage is beautiful, the water sounds nice, and your shoes are covered in mud and sand. When you leave the Devil’s Punch Bowl, watch out for the missing step.
In a secluded area in Menomonie lies the Devil’s Punchbowl. This reminds me of a more outdoorsy Grand Canyon, but obviously smaller. Many small details are added up to make this what it is. There is water trickling down the side of a stone rock face. This leads to a small stream where one can hear the water flowing slowly. The rest of the area is filled with sand, trees with most of their roots showing, and leafy green plants. I observed a couple frogs and few water bugs prancing around in the water. The air is cool like a nice autumn day. It is woodsy and shaded and feels good when it is ninety degrees at the top. The Devil’s Punchbowl is a place someone can go when they feel they need to be at peace with the earth.
As we ventured down the wooden stair case into the ravine below I was instantly reminded of home. It smelled of an old forest and the not so distant sounds of the running water. They both comforted me. It reminded me that even though I’m miles away from my hometown I can find ways to make Menomonie my temporary home. Standing at the bottom of Devil’s Punchbowl with my eyes closed, my sense of sound was on overdrive. The birds sung freely, uninterrupted by the human presence, water splashed as the frogs danced through the water. Opening my eyes once again I was overwhelmed by the sights that surrounded me. The enormous rock walls that enclosed the gorge dripped as if they were silently weeping. It was calming and reassuring to find somewhere that took me home without ever leaving Menomonie.
I can completely understand how the Devil’s Punch Bowl has become an iconic part of the Menomonie area. Though much of Menomonie is covered in plant life, the view from the Devil’s Punch Bowl is very striking and awe-inspiring, especially to first time viewers. I couldn’t believe how peaceful and quiet it was, and how easy it was to move away from others and hear the noises of nature. Examining how all of the vegetation had thrived on the rock face was very interesting as well.
Seeing such a landmark is very different than anything found in my hometown. I live in the middle of Wisconsin, about four hours south from Menomonie. I tend to see nothing more than hills and plains there, so a geographical wonder like the Punch Bowl is breathtaking in comparison.
I was sad to see broken glass when I ventured down in to the bottom of the Punch Bowl. I would hope that most residents of Menomonie would treasure such a beautiful place, because many other cities do not have the same thriving landscape that Menomonie does. It would be sad to see a place like this closed off from the public due to hazards such as glass and other pollution.
The Punch Bowl is a very relaxing area, and I feel many students would make good use of it as a way to get outdoors and really appreciate such a city as Menomonie. I would love to return with some of my friends and experience the peace of such a great landscape.
While visiting the Devil’s Punchbowl, I was immediately struck by its immense natural beauty. A short walk in the woods led us to a long, winding set of stairs encompassed by overhanging branches, various greenery and the occasional flower. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs though is where the full beauty and peacefulness of the location hits you. The rock face immediately draws your attention, and if you listen closely, you can hear water trickling down into the small pool and stream below. Trees surround the narrow walking path, some standing, others fallen or growing at odd angles from the earth. I found the trees there so interesting; ;the way that some of them appear dead and lying on the ground yet are still flourishing amazed me. I am so glad I was able to visit this incredible, peaceful natural landmark.
The Devil’s Punch Bowl is a small natural park of sorts on the outskirts of Menomonie. It is a beautiful area that creates a very strong sense of community. I found this out both at the site and back at the dorms. While I was in the Devil’s Punch Bowl admiring its breathtaking views, I saw several people from Menomonie visit it to take pictures of the wildlife or just to walk around. Then later in the day I was talking to my RA and ARC and both of them had stories to tell about the Devil’s Punch Bowl. I was very intrigued by the fact that this small forested area has really affected so many people enough that the name is instantly recognized by them.
While walking down to the Devil’s Punchbowl, or overlooking it from above, I immediately thought of High Cliff State Park, where I spend time back home. Both places are important to visit as they represent the Wisconsin environment so well. From below, the mineral, soil and rocks as well as the plants and flowers serve to remind us of the wealth of nature that is our home. It’s a cross-section and a snapshot of the native resources that we lose to poor environmental regulation or treatment and which we, at Stout, do our best to protect and preserve.
The Devil’s Punch Bowl is one of the more fascinating places I’ve been. With exotic forestry, and stunning scenery it is certainly worth ones time to visit. While I enjoyed the cool air and forest, perhaps the greatest thing about the trip was the stories that were told in the stone. As I looked at the great sandstone walls that surrounded me I could not help but be in awe of their majesty. If the Devil’s Punch Bowl was not amazing enough, to learn that it was over 500 million years in the making would certainly give it an extra edge. From the depositing of sand in that ancient ocean to the erosion that carved out it’s now magnificent shape, it held a story as old as time. It reminded me much of Minnehaha falls, by my home town of Minneapolis. In that respect, the story felt very familiar. In some way, I felt that it was the unification between where I had grown up and where I was now going. A link between the future and past. In that aspect, the Devil’s Punch Bowl can also serve as a link between us as a community, a place where we are bonded together in the story it tells. Of course, with every good story comes a good mystery. There, in that serene space, the mystery was plentiful. One of the things that caught my eye was that there was no discernible source for the stream that trickled down the rocks. For a long time I pondered about its origins. Was it from the ground water, or was it from an underground stream not visible to our eyes? Regardless, the dazzling beauty of the water and its mysterious origins only furthered to deepen the story. Throughout the time I wandered and wondered. I had so many questions about this place, and so little time to explore. While most of my questions remained unanswered, I did not leave disappointed. Rather, I left feeling rejuvenated and eager to learn more about the world around me. The Devil’s Punch Bowl must be a piece of heaven.