Spring Has Arrived in Wisconsin

It’s finally spring in Wisconsin and that means hiking season has begun!  My dog Cole and I did our first hike of the season at Governor Nelson State Park in Waunakee a couple of weeks ago on a trail we had not done before.  It was a short hike and the trails were pretty wet from the melting snow.  The trail brought us right by Lake Mendota and not only did we get a view of the capitol and downtown Madison, but we also were pleasantly surprised to see that the ice was melting.  There is a dog swim area there that I look forward to going back to once the water warms up a bit. 

Me and Cole
The weather reverted back to winter for a bit, so today was the first opportunity I had to get back out on the trails.  Cole and I joined a couple friends and their dog for some hiking at Hickory Hill Conservancy Park in Cross Plains.  The trails were considerably drier this time around.  On the first trail, there was a scenic viewpoint of the entire town.  The second trail looped through some recently burned prairie and then a nice wooded area with some pretty decent ridges and large trees.  Once the leaves come in, it will be even more beautiful.  We heard an interesting sounding bird in the woods but we could not identify its call nor could we see it.  Perhaps it will make an appearance the next time we are there. 

Hitting the trails at Hickory Hill Conservancy Park
I signed up to volunteer with a mobile skills crew projectwith the Ice Age Trail Alliance next weekend.  We will be building ¾ mile of new trail at the Gibraltar segment near Lodi.  It’s an overnight project so instead of continuing to borrow other people’s camping equipment, I’m working on getting my own gear finally.  My wonderful sister got me a purple camp chair as a belated birthday present and also found me a nice 3 – 4 person tent online that will hopefully arrive before next weekend.  The hiking shoes I’ve used for the last two seasons have finally given out so I stopped in at REI today and picked up a new pair of Keen hiking shoes.  I started the not-so-fun-for-my-feet task of breaking them in today as well.   The only gear I still need to round up is a flashlight, lantern, air mattress and rain jacket.  One of those car 12V DC to 110V AC power inverter converters would be pretty awesome too. 

Ice Age Trail Alliance Mobile Skills Crew
The planning of my relocation to Oregon is still pretty much in the brainstorming stage.  The first and most important task is to find a job.  I’m focusing my search on the coast but am also open to Portland and other parts of the state so I’m hoping with that many areas, there will be many job options to choose from.  I’m hoping to keep working in the nonprofit sector although I’d like to focus on conservation.  Oregon seems to be the perfect state to do that kind of work in.  Once a job is secured, that will determine my plan for everything else such as a place to live, what I will bring, how I will get it cross country and whether or not I need to find a storage unit once I get there.  One thing at a time though.  I’m looking forward to the journey to this new chapter in my life.  My first walk on the beach and hike on a trail in Oregon will be the reward for all the work it will take to get there. 

To see more of my nature photography, visit my Flickr page here.

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