It doesn't happen nearly as much as I'd like, but I had the opportunity to reunite with a college roommate and close friend yesterday while enjoying one of our favorite hobbies: nature. Both of us have taken our love of nature to more than just a hobby. Josh has become quite the nature photographer and is on a quest to visit all of Wisconsin's State Natural Areas (Please see http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/mans-on-a-mission-to-visit-all-673-wisconsin-natural-areas-b99205255z1-245706441.html and http://www.wisconservation.org/foundation-member-visits-500-state-natural-areas-counting/.) He mentioned is he now over the 450 mark. I am looking forward to hearing his presentation about his experiences on this mission at the May meeting of the Ice Age Trail Alliance's Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter.
My hiking hobby has become more of a passion for education as I love learning new things, experiencing different parts of the trail and (hopefully) spreading my enthusiasm and excitement through the Tyke Hikes and Saunters program I coordinate. In fact, one of the reasons I requested we travel the Eagle segment and portions of the Stoney Ridge segment this brisk Saturday morning was because I am planning this as part of my upcoming Saunters program and I wanted to walk it and see if my initial plans would fit. After finishing the segment, I think I was even more excited about sharing this beautiful segment with students this June.
On the trail, we saw a plethora of birds, including a nuthatch, song sparrows, sandhill cranes, and bluebirds. (FYI -Josh is much more of an ornothological expert than I and after hearing him rattle off a number of bird species, it's possible that the scientist who named all the birds might have been a pervent.) We also ran into our fair share of hunters and trail runners. We enjoyed the trail loop at Brady's Rocks and exploring the natural spring and scenic viewing areas. But more important than connecting with nature was re-connecting with a great friend. We talked about family, our jobs, the current political environment and its implications on our family and jobs, and anything else that came to mind.
I love many things about hiking. The views are great, the exercise is phenomenal, and the rejuvenation it provides is excellent. However, hiking with a good friend can provide so much more. I hope Josh and I hit the trails again very soon.