What a day! Humidity is killer right now. Secretly, I think we are all waiting for fall and nicer weather. We walked at the Wehr Nature Center today. We were supposed to be doing the 2 mile loop. 1 mile humid and gross
We ended up at 1 mile humid and gross. The kids had a great time. They were walking slow enough that I almost didn’t get sweaty. HA! Yeah Right.
Even the lake was a bit gross today. We just weren’t really feeling the desire to move at any reasonable pace.
I swear you can see the humidity in this photo. Hike 19. Done.
Total Mileage: 38.4
I can’t get cool.
I’ve drunk a quart of lemonade
I think I’ll take my shoes off
And sit around in the shade. -Shel Silverstein
Ah! That cute little booty! We decided to continue cloth diapering on our camping trips. This is mainly because I’m lazy and couldn’t be bothered to purchase disposables. I figure the amount of washing ends up being the same either way.
Our second camping trip was much more successful than our first. It may have been that Dada was along. It may have been that they were just more used to camping. It may have been all those other kiddos to play with. It definitely helped that it rained. White noise for the win! We borrowed a tent, to see how large of a tent we’d need. 4 person tent was big enough, but the amount of ventilation on this particular tent was not good enough.
I’m glad that camping is something we are making happen for our family. I’d like to try backpacking with our family too. I’m not sure if that will happen this season, but it’s a nice goal to have.
Hike 18 was on July 23. It was beyond gross. We headed back to the Zilmer Trail to celebrate Hike it Baby’s 3rd birthday with Hike On. We had intended to do the 3 mile loop at an adult pace. The above picture shows that clearly not working out. We ended up doing 2 miles. Kids were up, Kids were down, Kids were TANDEM! It was a free for all. Note to self: don’t tandem in that much heat. I almost passed out.
Total Mileage: 37.4
O wind, rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.
Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air--
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes.
Cut the heat--
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path. -Hilda Doolittle
Hike 17: Whitewater, WI a segment of the Ice Age Trail. We hiked from the Whitewater Lake Campground to the intersection of Highway 12.
We had a full crew: Elliot, Graham, Warren and I. We were joined by two of Elliot’s sisters and their families (Emily, Adam, Russell & Simon and Dawn & Alex).
It was hot, humid, buggy and an absolutely great time.
I can’t wait to do the next segment after this. I’m smitten with the Ice Age Trail. I hope they had as good of a time as I did.
Total Miles: 35.4
“I looked upon slumbering Nature, and with deep reflection discovered the reality of a vast and infinite thing — something no power could demand, influence acquire, nor riches purchase.” -Kahlil Gilbran
I’ve already written about the camping trip we took to Potawatomi State Park. It appears that I’m finally catching up with myself. I wanted to make the hike a separate entry. The Eastern Terminus of the Ice Age Trail was hike 16.
We hiked 4 miles. This hike had a lot of up and down and the first part was right next to a somewhat steep drop-off. I tandem carried the boys for as long as I could and as long as Graham would let me. Warren slept for a bit, which was a small miracle; he doesn’t usually care to sleep while being carried.
We only climbed up the first part of the observation tower. Graham wasn’t feeling well and that expressed itself in a determination to stay as close to the ground as possible. Normally, he isn’t afraid of heights.
I’d recommend this stretch of trail. It’s a bit challenging footing early on in the hike, and there is a significant portion of the trail in the park which is pretty nice. It isn’t always toddler friendly, but the kiddos loved the parts they could tackle. The part by the lake is quite pretty. The marker at the end is kind of odd, since it doesn’t look like much and we ended walking around it a couple of times before realizing what it was.
Total Miles: 31.5
“The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are” -John Burroughs
Hike 15 was a trek! Over July 4th weekend, we went to Hudson, WI to visit family. I convinced them all to go hiking with us. Ha! The goal was to walk the 1 mile segment of the Ice Age Trail to the Western Terminus. We hiked in Interstate Park. We ended up hiking 5 miles, 4 of which Graham walked himself. He loved having some cousins to keep up with. He was determined to do everything they did.
We walked from the visitor center, down the Skyline Trail, over to Interstate Shelter, up the Lake O’ the Dalles Trail, over the parking lots to the Ravine Trail and back up to the visitor center. After lunch we drove the short distance to the .4 miles Pothole trail to hike to the Western Terminus. It was a hot day, but it didn’t feel that hot until we were on the Pothole trail. This trail had a lot less shade. The Skyline Trail was really nice and shaded.
The Lake Trail was quite beautiful and it looked to be the perfect day for fishing, if you like fishing. We had fun crossing streams and the Ravine trail was a challenging uphill. Warren really appreciated the breaks to get out and practice his walking. He’s been mobile for the past couple of weeks and loves to show off his skills.
We had a great time with our extended family. It was exhausting! But in that way that makes you feel alive. The glacial features like potholes and the St. Croix River made for interesting views and a fun destination.
Total Miles: 27.5
“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found was really going in” -John Muir
This past week my friend asked if I wanted to take my kids camping (sans husband) and I said yes. We headed up to Potawatomi State Park. It was my first solo trip with Graham (almost 3) and Warren (almost 1) and it was Warren’s first ever time sleeping in a tent. Just prior to setting out anxiety set in. I silently dreamt of all the ways this trip could end in disaster. I left anyway, knowing that I’d have learned a whole lot when I had returned.
The camping itself was much like the camping I remember as a kid. We pulled into the campsite on Wednesday afternoon. We set up camp, taking turns watching each others kids. We got water and snacks to distract the kids. while chopping firewood to make kindling. We had a campfire and dinner. It started to rain, so we called it an early night. My kids, lovers of white noise, slept like rocks. Until 5 am. They of course proceeded to wake up the other three families with us. We had planned to hike the section of the Ice Age trail that ran through the park to the Eastern Terminus. We started early and the hike lasted until about noon. We ate lunch and opted for car napping, since tent napping was just not happening. Sure enough once around the campground and they were out.
When Graham woke up he refused to get out of the car. He just kept saying over and over that he wanted to go home, see Dada, done camping. It’s at this point that all those anxious thoughts that I had prior to the trip came roaring back. As the sole parent, I was responsible for making the call to go home. I knew I wanted to stay. Graham, however, was adamant that we leave. He hadn’t been feeling well and he looked so zoned out in his car seat. So we left. I started ripping down the campsite as fast as I could in the light rain that had persisted throughout the day. My friends held Warren or helped me throw our soaking gear into the car. They would continue to stay while I left. It is this point that felt like defeat. I wanted to know, what had I done wrong?
Our camping trip was successful right up until it wasn’t anymore. I could have chosen to push through with a grumpy, frustrated, and increasingly obstinate toddler. I chose to go home. Part of my decision process included the reasoning that if I ended the trip before everyone was miserable, then I knew I’d be more likely to get them to go with me again. Here is what I learned on my first solo adventure.
- Bring Friends- We took turns watching each others kids in order to set up tents, start fires, pee, when we had to take a break, and when the kids wanted to go off into the trees. 4 adults and 6 kids was a pretty good ratio and it helped to have kids for Graham & Warren to play with.
- Start close to home- Potawatomi was about 2 1/2 hours from our house. I think 1 hour might have been more ideal, especially if you need to bail out. If we had spent both nights, as we intended to, then the 2 1/2 hrs might not have felt so far.
- Expect to get dirty- we coined the expression Camp Clean. Also known as it’s as clean as it’s going to be until we get home. I had a hard time with this and Warren. As he is just learning to walk and still puts every thing into his mouth, he was filthy by the time we left.
- Kid size- I brought the kiddie toilet, a pack n play and another mom brought a super nifty portable high chair and the picnic table from home. Having a place to put baby that was clean was nice and the kids liked to sit at their table and in kid sized chairs.
- At one point Stop Packing- especially in a group, if you forgot it, someone else will have it
- Make friends- the couple next to us had a great fire, so I asked them how they pulled it off, especially in the rain. Not only did I get a great fire starting method, but the gentleman helped jump one of our cars, and when they were leaving gave us his fire.
- Know when to go- going home was the right choice for us, even though I had wanted to stay. An hour into the ride home and Graham was happily chatting about seeing Dada and telling his stuffed animals about the bath he was going to take. Pushing him would have meant we were all miserable.
I’m planning to go on more solo camping trips with the boys. I know that with practice we’ll end up being fantastic at it. Our neighbor went camping this weekend and Graham looked up and asked if we could go as well. That’s success right there.
On June 28th (wow, I’m really behind!) we went on hike 14. This hike was a first for me. We went to Lulu Lake State Natural Area. It was a first because the hike started at 6 and the boys’ bedtime is 7. I knew we’d be blowing that out of the water, but ultimately decided it was worth it.
We walked about 3.5 miles. The path had not been tended to for quite a while. We really had to trek. Luckily Elliot was able to join me, because this was definitely not toddler friendly. We made it to the lake and let the kids stand and play in the mud. The sun was setting and the light was pretty much perfect. Bug repellent was definitely a must.
It was a hike that made me feel so refreshed. It was work, but the best kind of work. The boys slept great that night. Sometimes, even when we do things for ourselves as parents, it works out for everyone. I’m so glad I took the chance and did something out of my comfort zone.
Total Mileage: 22.5
“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” ~Wallace Stevens
Hike 13 Plantation Path at Lapham Peak. Lapham Peak is where most of our action seems to be taking place. It’s a great park, close enough and far enough from home to be manageable, and familiar. This hike was a nice 1.8 mile loop with some of our Hike it Baby friends. It was such a joy to have Graham have someone right at his speed.
It was a particularly amazing day. The temperatures were high, but there was a nice breeze and the shade was cool. We visited the butterfly garden again, which had dramatically changed since February.
We played a lot of find the next bench. It was a fun way for the boys to have something to look for. A lot of the benches had dedications so we read each one.
My personal favorite was the Marshmallow plant we saw. I adore marshmallows and it made me feel like a kid to see a wild one.
Total Mileage: 29
“We’ll walk the road of life together day by day
And I will love you every step of the way
The road may wind beneath a sky of blue or grey
But I will love you every step of the way”
Hike 12! It’s just cruising along. This 3.5 mile hike was part of the Oak Leaf Trail in Grant Park on the south side of Milwaukee. The weather could not have been more perfect: light breeze, cool in the shade, warm in the sun, and not too hot.
Just look at that light! We got a sneak peak of the lake from the trail.
This part of the trail connects up to Seven Bridges. I’m really looking forward to going over that section of trail. After the hike we ate at Ferch’s Beachside. Next time swim suits!
Total Mileage 27.25
“A little fresh air would be good for you just now. The weather is lovely; and a little stroll in the park will bring the colour back to your cheeks.” ~J. Palgrave Simpson