Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pike Lake

I absolutely love Pike Lake. It is definitely one of my favorite state parks, and not just because it's quite close to my house. I love the fact that it is on a lake, there are many various trails to explore, and I've always been partial to a tower. I love exploring there and am excited to continue my explorations with my daughter.

The Ice Age Trail that cuts through the park is just over 3 miles, but there is a lot to see.  On this overcast day, we strapped on the hiking carrier and saw lots of furry friends, from an abundance of squirrels and chipmunks to a few deer and even a ferrel cat. The chorus of birds was also quite enjoyable.

We trekked through the forests and prairies and saw plenty of ferns on our way to the tower, which is just off the IAT.  We caught up with a little boy and his grandmother.  On the somewhat exhausting trip up and around the hill to reach the tower on top of the glacial kame called Powder Hill, he confided that he wasn't very experienced with hiking, but he knew that if my little girl could make it up the hill, so could he. :)

I was very excited to get this little boy a bit more excited about hiking. As my last post discussed, I am helping coordinate a Summer Saunters program through my district for next summer and I can pretty much guarantee a trip to Pike Lake will be on the agenda.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

National Trails Day 2014 & Saunters

Today was National Trails Day and I celebrated by volunteering with and amazing group of individuals from my local IAT chapter.  Hours before the first hikers arrived, meetings were held, snacks were baked and sorted, materials were gathered, and decisions were made. All that hard work paid off as many came out to enjoy an absolutely gorgeous day in two of the most spectacular IAT segments southeastern Wisconsin has to offer.

Personally, I was excited to help out as this was my first ever National Trails Day experience. Before the hikes actually began, I was assigned the duty of using my megaphone to welcome the hikers and help split them up into groups based on their hiking preferences for the day: distance and speed.

After barking out those directions, I was fortunate enough to lead a very friendly group of hiking enthusiasts on the full 7.5 mile stretch through the Loew Lake and Monches segments. Though this group pushed for a faster paced hike, we did enjoy some beautiful scenery and views of some glacial features along the way.  We also met up with some very interested mosquitoes and a wide variety of other bugs.  I usually don't notice insects that much, but with my kindergarteners recently studying them, I did take notice. By no means am I an expert, but I did see many different species, from damsel flies to weevils. The clouds cover helped keep the hike quite comfortable and the group seemed very pleased with the hike when we reached the end.

Speaking of being pleased, I am very pleased to announce that I will be heading up a Saunters program beginning the summer of 2015 through my school district's summer educational opportunities.  I can't wait to share my love of the trail with kids for years to come!