Friday, April 6, 2018

Horicon Marsh

People have happy places. Maybe these places hold special memories. Maybe they have unique features. Maybe there's just an unknown and unexplainable connection. One of my happy places is Horicon Marsh.

I remember oldies being blasted from the family car as we trekked for our weekend road trips, stopping on the side of the road to take in views of the marsh. I recall visiting with my wife and coming across turtle hatchlings. I recollect seeing a huge snapping turtle and countless other creatures on a beautiful trek with my daughter. Now with two daughters, there will be many more memories to be made.

While today's might have been forgettable, we wouldn't let it stop us from memory-making. The marsh has a state wildlife area and a national refuge. We began at the state's education and visitor center. Battling bone-chilling wind gusts, Embry made sure our first stop was to show Oakley one of her favorite mammoths.

We took a snack break in the visitor center and watched the weather take a dip. While we would have loved to hike these grounds, we decided to drive over to the national side and take in the sights from our car as we traveled to the three-mile auto tour loop.

While on the loop, we saw numerous ducks and geese and even a small flock of sandhills. As we approached the boardwalk (a must see on the national side) the sun peeked out just enough to convince us to get out and walk around.

While the boardwalk was a nice break from the car, the walk was rather brisk as the winds picked up and brought the temperatures down.

By the time we got back to the car, we were all quite cold. But, we decided we weren't done exploring so we headed back to the visitor side on the state side of the marsh.

Once inside, we took a child-led tour and found an activity room full of books, arts and craft, and unfortunately, an empty snapping turtle tank for Marsha the snapper. We made a campfire craft, read a story, completed a coloring page, and snacked.

We enjoyed lots of bird art and sculptures before spending time at the turkey table.

Hoping the weather might allow at least an abbreviated hike, we checked the window and decided an indoor tour was all we could muster up today. It's OK though. I have a feeling we will have plenty of opportunities to explore even more in the future.

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