Sunday, October 5, 2014


What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, the miserable weather dampened the spirit of about ten Tyke Hikers. Today, the bright Sunday sun warmed up the trails and made it a marvelous trek for nearly 20 hikers and a pair of pups. Half of the partakers in today's excursion were from the Marquette School of Dentistry, so the woods heard all sorts of topics today involving hygiene while the pair of male kindergarten teachers (myself included) shared stories from the classroom that made some laugh and some squirm.

Walking through the forest as it is transitioning seasons is amazing. I enjoy when the dirt is covered by a soft bed of pine needles. I absolutely love the sound and feel of walking through the technicolor trails of Autumn. There's something about the crispness of the air and the whisper of the wind that truly makes this time of season an ultimate hiking high for me.

If you've followed my blog entries, you might know I have a special affinity for dead trees. Their importance and usefulness in the ecosystem is one reason, but mainly, I just find them fascinating and beautiful. Today, much like yesterday, we came across a hollowed out tree at its base that was flourishing up above. Unlike yesterday, the participants were more than willing to pause and take photographic advantage of this sight. Additionally, I encountered multiple stumps that were mossy and littered with lichens and leaves. I especially love seeing hollowed stumps that collect rainwater and foliage and eventually become nature's compost bins, sprouting up new life.

Another enjoyable aspect of this hike was the fact that it was sponsored by the Ice Age Trail Alliance Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter of which I am an enthusiastic volunteer. If only time allowed me to put more into this amazing organization. I am continually blown away by the passion and dedication of the volunteers I have been blessed to get to know in my early existence in this chapter. I am motivated by their knowledge, inspired by their energy, and excited for their future and the future of the trail.

After the hike, all were invited to Monches Farm ( , a farm just a  half-mike away from the trailhead where a fall festival featuring local artists was being held. This was a definitely a hidden gem of the area . My wife and daughter met me there and we enjoyed exploring the grounds, feeding the chickens, sampling the cider, and taking in the beauty of the unique art and plant variety.

If only yesterday was as grand as today. Then again, days like yesterday make you appreciate days like today even more.

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