Ice Age Trail Winter Hike

img_3122Yes! Finally, a weekend without tons of stuff going on, certainly I can find a couple of hours for a hike. I did yesterday! I hiked 6 miles on the Ice Age Trail in the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest of Wisconsin. It was a great day to get out for a winter hike. Not too cold at 26° F and lightly snowing when I arrived at the trailhead. Before I started my hike, I helped to free car that was stuck in the snow of the unplowed trailhead parking lot. If you decide to come here be prepared, do not try parking in the lot right at the trailhead if you are driving a car with low ground clearance, I have seen people park on the road directly across Highway P from the trailhead.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin is not yet complete, with only about 600 miles of blazed trail segments out of the 1200 miles of total length. For more information about the Ice Age Trail, check out the Ice Age Trail Alliance website at www.iceagetrail.org.

img_3121My afternoon hike encompassed only a short piece of this great trail totaling about 6 miles. Walking south from the Highway P Trailhead near Glenbeulah to State Highway 23 and then following the same route back to the truck. This completely wooded section of trail has an elevation gain of about 365 feet. There is no shortage of great views along this hike. The first two miles the trail follows hardwood ridges, with great views overlooking wooded valleys on both sides. The third mile brings you into thick pine stands and the Aspen Reforestation area before coming out of the woods where the trail crosses Highway 23.

img_3105

This is the first time I have done this hike in winter. It is always neat to take in an area during different seasons. In the winter, you notice things that you cannot see in summer when there are leaves on the trees limiting how far you can see. Winter in any woods is special for many reasons; you can easily see the tracks where the wildlife walk and the picturesque views of snow hanging in tree branches is simply awesome. The trail conditions are really nice right now. Snowshoes are not required, but there is just enough snow that they would definitely be helpful.

 

At the end of the day I felt great having finally gotten out for a hike this winter (it’s been way too long). I recommend to anyone getting out and spending some time in nature especially as the winter drags on, there is plenty of natural beauty to cleanse and rejuvenate your body and mind. Don’t forget to Like my Wild Stewardship Facebook page, and check out my website www.wildstewardship.com.map

It’s Snowing Again…Time for Some Wisconsin Winter Fun!

The calendar says it’s a few days before winter officially begins, but here in East Central Wisconsin it already looks and feels a lot like winter. A few short weeks ago, there was no snow on the ground, and temperatures were still in the mid-forties. Then like turning on a light switch, temperatures have dropped, and there is almost a foot of snow on the ground. Many people dread winter, with its short days, cold temperatures, blustery winds, and deep snow, but many others have been waiting all year for the snow to come back. Here in Wisconsin, there is a plethora of outdoor winter activities for enthusiasts to enjoy.

Hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are some of the great ways to get out and enjoy nature in winter. Other than the crunch of the snow under your boots or snowshoes, or the swishing sound your skis make as you glide through the snow, these stealthy modes of transportation allow you to take your time, and enjoy all the sights and sounds that nature has to offer. Quietly trekking through a snow filled woods soon after a fresh snow fall, not only might you see some wildlife but the snow-covered trees make an awesome sight to behold. There are many miles of trails dedicated to these types of winter activities located on public lands throughout Wisconsin.

Snowshoeing or cross country skiing sound a little too slow paced for you? Do not fear, Wisconsin also offers faster paced winter fun too. Although maybe not the most peaceful winter pastime, riding snowmobiles is an excellent way to take in the beautiful snow covered scenery. With many hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails throughout the state you could literally ride for days on end. There are many hotels and resorts in the northern part of Wisconsin that cater to snowmobile enthusiasts. There is also downhill skiing, snowboarding, sledding and tubing, with ski hills located within a couple hours drive for nearly everyone in the state.

For the anglers, Wisconsin has some great ice fishing opportunities. Although the ice in most areas is not yet thick enough, soon many people will be venturing out on the frozen lakes to try and catch some panfish, pike, and walleye. If you prefer going after furbearers rather than fish, hunters and trappers have a few more weeks to fill their tags as many of Wisconsin’s hunting and trapping seasons are open into January and February.

I’ve only touched on a few of the many great winter pursuits that get you outside and help to keep you active during the winter months, and there are many more to choose from. So whatever it is that you enjoy doing in winter, make sure you include some time to get outside and enjoy nature!