The Big M

On a large hill just east of Platteville visible for miles is a huge letter M.

Mining is part of this slice of Wisconsin history too.  The College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, which included Mining in their curriculum, is responsible for the creation.  It started working on it in 1937.

Just looks from a distance are all I've had; until last weekend.

It turns out you can drive to the base of the gigantic letter M.  And there's stairs! 266 stairs.  Ye-haw.

Looking up at the M from below, I noticed the M looked different. In the photo upper left, taken from 2 miles east, the legs of the M appear to be straight.

Yet, from the bottom of the hill (below) they are splayed a bit and look more like the University of Minnesota "M."

Now, if I knew I could park at the base of the hill and climb to the top... I would have done this much sooner.

A couple dozen steps to the left of the plaque on a boulder advising the reader about the M's dimensions (241' high x 214' wide) is the first step for the trip to the top.

While I climbed the stairs, I overheard a story a guy was telling his girlfriend.

Side note, yes - I know it was a boyfriend - girlfriend situation, because his comment, "When I was on the team, we ran these steps with weighted vests," could only be made by a guy trying to impress a young lady.

If they were married, I would have heard her eyes roll.

Each step to the top of the hill has a sponsor.  Nearly every step was paid for by a grad of the Engineering school.  A couple of the landings are sponsored by engineering firms like J.P. Cullen and Stroud.

The view from the top is amazing.

Some fellow climbers carried a picnic with them, then enjoyed lunch with a view and a bottle of wine.

It's an impressive view.

Off to the west, way beyond Platteville, the Mississippi River flows south.


To the south, farms dot the landscape.  It's and idyllic setting.  An awesome opportunity for dinner with a spectacular 360 degree view of the world in the driftless area of Wisconsin.