The butte on Mauston Plain

July 31, 2006

Juneau
In south-central Wisconsin, Juneau County was carved out of sandstone bedrock during the period of glacial Lake Wisconsin, which covered much of the county some 18,000 years ago. The rocky outcroppings, called buttes or bluffs, you see throughout the central and northern part of the county are really the tops of islands that dotted the surface of glacial Lake Wisconsin. Much of the southern part of the county escaped the destructive force of the last glacial period and is part of the “driftless” region of Wisconsin. Deep valleys, high ridges and quiet rural life make this area a special place to visit.

ButteA


My initial visit to Juneau County was a lot of fun. While in the Central Plain Geographic Province, in the area of Mauston, I encountered fantastic buttes just jumping out from the flatlands. Wisconline.com talks to these buttes this way:

"Isolated, rocky hills which resemble ruined castles, grotesque towers and crags of sandstone along a line of bold, irregular bluffs, and an unusually flat plain which stretches away beyond the northern and eastern horizons."

Juneaucounty.com focuses in a bit more on this particular area, and provides an easy to understand description of these buttes. It says this:

"The rocky outcroppings, called buttes or bluffs, you see throughout the central and northern part of the county are really the tops of islands that dotted the surface of glacial Lake Wisconsin.

ButteB

This is the "backside" of the butte easily accessible from Hwy 82. Note the large number of trees. Wisconline.com says, "The evergreen trees, clinging in precarious positions on the rocky buttes and mesas ... and the tamaracks on the swampy, level plain, are among the first forerunners of the northern forest." In the "gee-whiz" category, note the small orchard in the lower right quadrant of the photo. This next shot is from the "side," and you get a better view of the orchard.

ButteB
Apples we think.

ButteC

Apples for sure! They look like they're starting to ripen. The photo was taken on August 1, 2005.

ButteD

This is the "frontside." We call it frontside because it faces the road. This photo was shot from Hwy 82. The rock formation is absolutely fantastic, and it does resemble a ruined castle. Let's take a close look.


ButteE

Now remember the first shot you saw; this butte stands alone, amidst a rather large level plain. We understand these buttes are more common in the Camp Douglas area, about 8-10 miles northwest of Mauston on I-90.