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  • Devil's Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wisconsin is a beautiful area. It's covered in lush forest, large rock formations, and even some American Indian mounds scattered about. I visited a few summers back with Christina. We planned on hiking some trails, snapping a few pictures, and just enjoying the day.

    Everything went off without a hitch. The sky was overcast but no rain. We walked up the slopes winding around the bluffs. Having no real hiking or climbing experience, I wasn't looking to get myself trapped, but being an adventurous spirit I was up for just about any challenge.

    We came to one of the more popular sites called Devil's Doorway. A large formation of rocks stacked like building blocks with an opening in the middle, hence the doorway. It was probably 20 to 25 feet high with a four to five foot distance from then ledge. I walked towards the formation and pushed myself up, making sure that I didn't budge the tons of rock that surrounded me (like I could have).

    The view of the area was spectacular. Being out extended over the edge like that was exhilarating. The wind sweeping over the bluffs and through the trees really made you feel one with nature. I stood there a minute or two then made my way back to the ledge. I looked to make sure I was "propelling," down to where there was plenty of rock to place my feet. Towards the far edge of the doorway was nothing but a straight drop to the ground. I did not want to put myself in any sort of danger. There was plenty, and I mean plenty of room to go down. I sat down, swung my legs over the edge, and began to lower myself down to the rock's edge.

    I had my legs off the doorway and was bent over at a right angle, giving Christina and the rest of southern Wisconsin a right fine look at my behind. I put my hands in a position to lower my torso over the edge when I noticed there wasn't any rock yet. I figured it was another inch or two away so I moved my upper half an inch or two over the edge and slowly rocked back enough to get my feet to touch the rock.

    Nothing.

    The rock was gone.

    Panic ensued as I had visions of my body hitting every rock, tree, and sharp edge all the way down to the forest floor. I shot my arms out to grasp on to the rocks as best I could. I knew I had positioned myself in the correct spot. Right? Did I shift mid descent and angle myself over the bluff's edge? I couldn't have. But something wasn't right. Being a man of 6'3" I shouldn't have a problem getting over the four or five foot ledge, or so I thought.

    As I dangled there debating if this would be my end or not, I heard Christina's voice.

    "Move your foot!"

    I couldn't detect any alarm in her voice. Surely she would have told me not to drop down if there was no rock to drop down to. I moved my foot from side to side. Nothing. Then I flexed my foot downward. The ledge couldn't have been more than half an inch away.

    I was going to be alright! I could continue my hike and then walk back to the car without any issue. Then I was overcome with embarrassment. I was in no danger whatsoever. None. Zip. I had plenty of room to drop down on either side. I played out all these awful scenarios in a span of ten seconds. What a panic I worked myself into.

    Christina greeted me with open arms and a smile. That helped lift my spirits. I walked away from the doorway a little frazzled but it was worth it. If there is ever a way to experience danger it is in a situation where you aren't in any real danger.
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