Take a Hike
Ha! Thought perhaps I was speaking of a certain someone? Wrong! I want a break from the Marriage Report to share instead with you our other endeavors, you know, the fun stuff that makes life so incredibly good! The weekend before Halloween we went up to Door County. It was a short, sweet visit — just the usual suspects, Oliver and myself.
Check out these little foot prints...
The best part of our weekend beside the ice cream shop visits in our PJ's was our 3 1/2 hour HIKE in Newport State Park (yes you read that right). This park is near our cottage at the tip of the Door Peninsula; it has 11 miles of shoreline and is the only wilderness-designated state park in Wisconsin — which means it features ecological, geological and other features of scientific, scenic and historical value, well-protected from the genus of bipedal primates. (OH, I think know what I'm talking about, but kindly prove me wrong if not. I have recently read too many scientific documents and my verbiage, while in abundance, creates superfluities rampant in my brain, unable to conceal the tumult of my mind. Ah, now, back to the lovely hike....)
What I love about Newport State Park, for us, is that it's an easy manageable hike, yet there's a lot of light climbing and foliage to get thru and without much traffic or noisy visitors. The ostrich ferns and wildlife surrounding the well groomed trails provide a lot of visual candy, as do the rocky shores and sand beaches (and the occasional grass snake). The park acquiesces unusual charm and beauty, as you shall see below.
This is the beginning of the trail. Someday I want to be able to look outside my back porch and see just this. Just like this.
That is one of thee most beautiful (small) prairie fields of Wisconsin grasslands. The textures layer a cool depth; the wispy independent blades whispering quietly go unnoticed to most. I could swim in them.
Our / my favorite trail is the Europe Bay trail which takes you thru the wooded areas right along side the rocky edge of the park to Lake Michigan.
Ahead, you see the area we disappeared in for a while.
Here's the other side of it.
Depending on which way you go, the hike can start out rather easy. I wagered the easy side. At mid-point where there is a fork in the trail, we could either chose to continue on the longer much more interesting trek, or we could take the short cut back to our car.
We each found our walking sticks and away we went.
Oliver found it fun to make these small, bread crumb trails of leaf piles at the start of our hike. They played an important role at the end of our journey.
Oliver was quite a trooper, carrying his backpack the whole time. In it was our picnic lunch: cheese, crackers, yogurt, apples and a few pieces of licorice.
The trail was stunning.
Though well past peak, the colors were still immensely incredible.
It wasn't long before Oliver became tired. We'd been hiking for only about 10 minutes at this point. I suspected he was not in for the long haul.
So we stopped for a short break.
Though doubt loomed over me, we enjoyed some interesting natural occurrences. As we blazed onward, Oliver began to perk up once he found more interesting things to climb upon.
He had a fascination with fallen trees.
Exposed roots satisfied him as well.
At last we reaching a turning point. Do we continue on or do I lead us back to the car? We'd been hiking for about 45 minutes at this point. It wasn't far that we had hiked, but my Peanut wanted to explore the surroundings, and I had no problem with taking our time.
So, onward? Homeward? Before we knew it, another family had caught up with us. A mother, father and a 12 (or so) year old boy. We said our hellos and casual introductions. There is a protocol to follow with fellow hikers and the bond amongst shall n'er be broken. The father was enamored with Oliver, having watched his own young toddler become a boy, and it had him longing for the days when he was referred to as Daddy rather than Da-aad. Oliver took a liking to the son Jonas (Oliver remembered the name, which is why I can actually tell you it!) and the family convinced us to follow along the rocky path with them. The father bribed us actually. He offered to carry Oliver on his back if the Peanut got too tired.
Away we went. The most beautiful parts of the trail were just ahead.
Soon we made it to the lake side part of the trail. Our father friend ventured ahead of us trying to locate an area where we could stand near the water.
We took the risk to follow him and were confronted with more amazing grasses.
At long last we found the concealed mid-western eden.
It's delightful for a female such as myself (prone to high heels and make up) to experience the pondering and curiosity of little men in the making. I think it's something all men remember and relive as they age. I can't speak from experience, but I do know from X and other men in my life, the saying is true: Boys will be boys.
It's inexplicable when you watch your baby turn into a little human with thoughts of his own. I love my son so so much and allowed him this little quiet moment all his own to enjoy.
Getting back on the trail we found interesting moss.
And had to climb a few rock formations, one of Oliver's favorite challenges.
Altho I'm not in the city, our little suburb back home has a urban feel and a personality all its own. We are not far from the lake, nor from nature trails. Yet, it's so easy to overlook these little miniaturized worlds when hiking. When nature is close but somewhat compartmentalized, I think I sometimes become oblivious to the tiny idiosyncrasies of the natural environments.
After the lake portion of the hike, Oliver did take our new friend up on his offer for a ride.
We encountered a few more fabulous works of art.
That's about it for the hiking pix. Oliver opted to hike again for another 20 minutes or so giving the father friend some relief. As I mentioned earlier, Oliver left us little petite piles of leaves at the beginning of the trail. It was sort of a Hansel & Gretal kind of deal. It worked out perfectly because once again Oliver became extremely tired (no nap) and would only allow me to carry him. Now I am not that strong, nor very athletic. I managed to haul my 35 lb all-boy on my hip, my shoulders and even threw him over my shoulders as if he were a sack. I was growing weary. My turn to take a break!
At last we came upon the lovely petite piles of leaves. There were about 10 or more of them. This was my chance. I told my weary child that I was going to kick apart each and every pile he created. Now this piqued his interest. Suddenly he revived and felt it necessary to take action himself. He leaped off my hip and began to run thru every pile, destroying the fine tuning of each. What fun. Looking ahead we were quickly running out of piles with at least 10-15 minutes of hiking left to do. That's when I noticed before us, our father friend and his son working desperately to create more piles for Oliver to kick thru and demolish. It warmed my heart. Parents certainly have a way of knowing. We made it to the end of our journey gracefully...
...arriving on level ground 3.5 hours after our start.
Our new friends came back to the cottage with us for a very short visit. We exchanged email info and pinky-swore we'd stay in touch. Which reminds me... I have some emails to write!
Thanks for joining me today! :)