Meadow Ridge Trail – Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve

The Meadow Ridge trail in the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve is a wonderful peaceful hike through many different types of areas. From open grass lands to tree covered, shady areas it is a great spring hike.

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When you arrive at the preserve you will find a fairly large parking lot near the main entrance of the community building.

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You will then clearly see the beginning of many different trails and a map of the area. Choose your trail and begin.

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All of this trail is crushed gravel and has fairly decent water runoff considering we hiked it in the beginning of March and it was not too wet at all.

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Being this is a waterfowl preserve, you will come across numerous ponds and a stream,

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many different bird observation areas,

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and wonderful signs that are clearly marked along each trail.

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In the spring of the year you may even get lucky and see the Sugar Shack cooking maple syrup like we did.

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And for all you history buffs, there is also many different informative plaques along the entire trail

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We have visited here in the summer months and found this trail extremely hot and sunny in some parts. And I must inform everyone who dislikes snakes as much as I do, this is not your trail to hike in the heat of summer. There are NUMEROUS snakes and will make for a VERY stressful and terrifying hike. Now, if you enjoy these types of slithering reptiles, you will love this trail in the summer months.

 

 

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Tagging Along For The Day

Recently, our son and a friend casually mentioned that they were considering a hiking trip to my favorite WI park which quickly made me think fast. I knew they were both college students and, let’s face it, always tight on money, so if we offered to drive and supply lunch they may let us tag along for the day. So, the offer was made and by the next morning excepted…..which made this mom very happy.

I wish we lived closer to this area because this would be where I would spend a great majority of my time, hiking in Devil’s Lake State Park. This park literally has everything we love, well almost, it does not have whitewater rapids. It does have a lake for standup paddling, fishing, and swimming. It has bluffs to climb and hiking trails that are well marked and fun to hike. And the view is as good as it gets in Wisconsin.

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Since both our son and his friend are photography students, they each had their backpacks loaded with camera equipment, which meant I had the pleasure of trying out my new Gregory backpack. (Which I LOVE) My husband had his backpack which started out empty since we began hiking when it was pretty chilly. As the temperature quickly rose, we started peeling layers off half way up the bluff and loading it into his backpack.

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Our new hiking companion had never been here before, much less hiking anywhere for that matter. They have been doing little bits and pieces around home but this was by far the biggest hike he had been on. If only he could have seen his facial expression upon walking up to the trail head, it was photo worthy in my opinion. I hopefully put his mind at ease by reminding him that slow and steady is the key to success when hiking up cliffs/bluffs and that when he needed to stop and “smell the roses,” or catch his breath, to  do just that. We have done this hike a hundred times, so we knew exactly what was ahead. For him, this was truly a new adventure which we were hoping to make a big success.

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By the time we reached the top everyone was warmed up and ready to explore. IMG_2775  IMG_2790

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Then it was time for a little break. We found a sunny area and all shared a snack.

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After numerous pictures were taken it was time to head back down. It was not a long distance hike by any means, but it was successful. Anytime we can share our love of the trail with someone new is a success in my eyes.

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Then it was picnic time and we decided since we were not sure until last minute if we would actually be able to join them, that freeze dried meals would be easiest and fun for this newbie hiker to experience.

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It ended up being a wonderful day of hiking and getting to know a new friend a little more. We returned to 80 degree weather at home and even managed to get a little yard work done before the sun set.

 

 

Spring 2015: Devil’s Lake State Park and Glamping (glamorous camping) at Fox Hill RV Park & Campground

This weekend we visited Devil’s Lake State Park and stayed in a rustic cabin at Fox Hill RV Park & Campground. IMG_0894

I call this glamping (glamorous camping) since it’s not quite as rough as camping in a tent, but not as nice as camping in an RV or deluxe cabin with all the amenities. Yes, we have a tent and we could have easily slept in it this weekend due to the very nice temps but at the time of reservations (months ago) we did not know the weather and the heated cabin is nice to have in Spring.

Remember those weekend goals I told you I was hoping to accomplish this past weekend? Let me refresh your memory and let you know how I did on each one.:

#1 To not over do activity with that ankle. I need to strengthen it back up. As much as I would love to hike 10 miles, that is not likely going to happen. I do plan to hike a little this weekend since our plans have been on the calendar for quite some time now, but all in good reason.
I did accomplish this one. It took all of us to get me to the top of my favorite bluff but I did it and it was very rewarding. The combination of hiking boot, hiking poles, and a medical boot is something I NEVER thought I would see but it is what it is.

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#2 I really need to even out my tan. One leg is white and the other is not. Since I can have the boot off for a while each day, this will be my time to marinate in the sunshine.
This one I worked on when I was able but you can still see a difference.

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#3 Try out my new insoles when I have the boot off. I’ve been told this could be painful, but I am not too worried. I have been in pain for months, how much worse could it be?
I also did this one. I inserted the insole into my Keen boot and hiked the entire bluff trail with it. And when I am not in the boot it is in my other shoe as well. So far so good. I will write a full review when I can wear them both for an entire day, which will be soon.

#4 Enjoy my first campfire meal of the season. (Fire danger here is very high, this one is iffy) Done….my first roasted marshmallow  of the year.

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#5 Spend some family time together. My son was offered a job last week which has him working in his field of photography almost every single weekend photographing weddings. This could be one of our last weekends together as a family doing what we love so I need to savor every second. Done. We hiked, sat by the campfire, did some fishing, played cards, chess, checkers, and disc golf.

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#6 Last but not least, work on losing the three pounds I have gained from sitting around unable to exercise for the last month. The night I came home from my appointment we actually took our first walk in a month.(with the boot still on) It was great!
This one I am still working on. I don’t expect nothing to happen until I am back to normal exercise so for now I am just hoping for the best.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. Weather was gorgeous. I was so happy to be back on the trail. We had some great family time and I came home pain and swelling free which was my biggest worry of the entire weekend.

A Special Message for the Gentleman Who Fell

Dear Sir,

My husband, son and I were three of the few gathered on the cliff top enjoying the view when you suddenly appeared and just as fast disappeared from our eyes along the trail you were on. Honestly, none of us could quite believe what we had just witnessed.

I feel this need to write this to you because often times with social media and hearsay people, like all of us, that love to do what we do for fun get a bad wrap for being careless.This however, was not the case when this happened to you. We all saw the trail you were on and could have made the same wrong step you did. Plus, I hope by writing you it makes me feel better inside. I, along with everyone else on the top of that cliff, felt so extremely helpless watching you fall and being able to do nothing to help. There were two EMT’s and one emergency room nurse hiking on that cliff when you fell trying to figure out any way possible to reach you. Your climbing friends were clearly shaken but would have done anything to help you also. We were amazed by the calmness of the one climber whom was thankfully already harnessed and immediately made his way down to you by repelling. Devils Lake park service was first to arrive within minutes and right behind Baraboo Fire and Rope Rescue Team showed up with a climber ready to repel to your location. Finally, after all emergency personnel arrived we were all asked to leave the scene and let them do their jobs. However, this was the part that I just can’t seem to forget. We headed down that trail with everyone else and no one was talking. There were groups gathered around in circles saying prayers for you and it was a somber finish for all of us who witnessed this horrific accident that you endured.

That night as we sat around the camp fire we were so thankful to be safe from a great day of hiking. At the same time our thoughts were on you, your friends and family whom would hopefully be by your side by now at a local hospital. We would not know until arriving home Sunday that you were airlifted from the cliff a few hours later in stable condition. Thank God! We all took a breath of relief but also hoped that stable condition meant that eventually you will be able to get back out there and continue doing what you love.

We are always cautious while hiking this gorgeous park. However, witnessing your mishap has brought a whole new meaning to us that we will never forget. Accidents happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone when we least expect them.

My family will be praying for your full recovery. Just know, that any of us on the top of that  cliff would have done just about anything to help you, we just had no way of doing anything.

Sincerely,

My Family