Hiking at Watkins Glen State Park in New York the other week rekindled my passion for hiking that has fallen by the wayside over the course of the pandemic. I love being in nature, I love taking photographs of beautiful places, and I love the sense of accomplishment I get when I finish a trail. I decided since I was going to be grounded in Wisconsin for a couple more months while I dealt with my new medical issues, it was time to dedicate more time to hiking here once again. Wisconsin has not been especially inspiring to me photographically speaking as of late but I am trying hard to look at it all through a new lens so to speak. I started reaching out and making plans with friends and managed to get out to do two hikes this week.
Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area
The last time I hiked Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area in Baraboo, Wisconsin was roughly 9-years ago and I almost forgot how beautiful it was until I returned there a couple of days ago. The weather was a bit on the warm and humid side but cooler along the creek especially as you make your way into the gorge. The hike is mostly shaded but there are these wonderful spots where the trees let in the dappled light and illuminate all the foliage that surrounds the area. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Baraboo area because it combines all my favorite things: beautiful scenery, hiking through water, and scrambling boulders. With all of my stomach issues lately combined with running late, I unfortunately did not eat before I headed out that afternoon and found as I was hiking back to the car a couple hours later that I was getting lightheaded and dizzy. Not wanting to do something dangerous like faint, I knew food was going to be immediately next up on my agenda that day. Lucky for me, as soon as I did get some food into my system as well as some time to cool off in the air conditioning, I found myself feeling much better. I would have loved to spend more time exploring some of my other favorite places in the area but instead opted to head home and relax.
Upper Yahara River Trail
A friend had reached out to me a couple months ago to hike the Upper Yahara River trail in DeForest, Wisconsin but the timing didn’t work out back then so the ball has been in my court to reschedule. Now that I am back in Wisconsin for a bit, I decided to reach out the other day and make that happen. The weather was much more comfortable for this hike, cooler and less humid. The trail is rather established and well maintained and meanders alongside the upper section of the Yahara River through a little subdivision that is adjacent to some wilderness areas and corn fields. Occasionally the paved trail turns into a boardwalk and is fairly level and easy to navigate by either foot or bicycle. Along the trail, I was greeted by several creatures including an adorable tuxedo cat, highly vocal sandhill cranes, scampering chipmunks, and a sunbathing grasshopper. The trail is on the shorter side but is a really nice little hidden spot in an area not especially well known for its natural attractions. After the hike, my friend and I headed to El Alegre Mexican Restaurant for lunch where I enjoyed an assortment of very tasty fish, shrimp and veggie tacos and a sangria soda. All in all it was a really nice way to spend a Friday morning.
Tomorrow I will depart on another little road trip adventure. This time I’ll be visiting 8-parks in various spots throughout Wisconsin over the span of a few days to finish almost all of the remaining parks on my “Hiking All Wisconsin’s State Parks” list. This is a project that I started but couldn’t complete before I moved to Oregon in 2014 and I’m looking forward to getting these final parks checked off this year so I can finally put together and share a photography book of my travels and experiences.