Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 First Day Hike - Tyke Hike #19

Winter can certainly change plans quickly. With below zero wind chills overnight and stiff breezes expected throughout the day, There was a moment of trepidation when I thought back on how all the work volunteers from the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance could go for naught if Old Man Winter and Mother Nature got together and made it unbearable.  Luckily they did not and over 160 hikers and probably a dozen doggies ventured out on one of the three hiking options available for all guests.

I was responsible for leading one of the shorter hikes meant for more of the crowd's younger hikers. Approximately 40 people joined in on this hike. It was wonderful to have some special guests from Hike It Baby Milwaukee and Hike It Baby Waukesha come experience a Tyke Hike. Sadly, my official co-hike leader and nature-loving toddler took the morning off. She'll be back on the trail in no time.

Besides hearing some of my terrible jokes and putting up with teachers knack for taking advantage of multiple and unexpected teachable moments, my group seemed pleased with their experience.

Hiking from Lapham Peak's incredible nature center and heading on an adventurous trek near the butterfly garden, through a marvelous meadow, and off trail through a pine grove, we all managed to survive and have some fun on our way to the Ice Age Trail and to the park's famed tower.

Then it was back to the nature center's downstairs for treats and hot chocolate before heading upstairs to explore the wonderful collection of natural and educational materials and visit the friendly and furry mascot of the Ice Age Trail, Monty the Mammoth.

It was a great to kick off 2016! With the Tyke Hike program expanding, my daughter getting older and wiser, and my forest kindergarten concept just starting to bloom, there will be plenty of more tales from the trails ahead.

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