Sunday, January 6, 2013

Meetup- Saturday walks from Veterans Park

There's a hiking group that meets at Veteran's park, near the kite shop, every Saturday all winter long.  Today they walked to the Art Museum and watched the wings open.  The route can vary from time to time.  If you're interested in getting out and doing something, but you don't know anyone to do it with, Meetup may be for you.  You sign into www.meetup.com  and enter your interests.  If you include hiking or walking, you can be added to this group.  There's a $10 annual fee to be part of the walking/hiking/camping group.  They meet at 9:45 and walk about 3 miles which takes 1 1/2 hours.  Then there's a social hour at Alterra on the lakefront afterwards.  It's a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors and have a good conversation.  Think of all the therapy sessions you won't need if you do this!


If you enjoy the hiking locally, there are other hikes to various places around the state.  You're under no obligation to attend any or all of the events.  It's just a standing invitation to go do something.  When you want to join in, you just let the organizer know you're coming.  In addition to hiking, there are ski trips, camp-outs, snowshoeing, cross country skiing...you could find yourself having a lot of fun and trying some new things in the great outdoors.

If you decide to try it, let me know.  I personally think it's a hoot!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Havenwoods State Forest- winter hiking and wildlife

Although there isn't really enough snow for snowshoeing at Havenwoods, it's still a great place to go when the sun is shining.  You can usually see some wildlife and hike in the 237 acres of woods, wetlands, and grasslands. An environmental awareness/nature center  is open week days and Saturday, where you and the kids can learn about animal footprints and then go onto the trails to see if you can find animal tracks.  The first time I tried to find this lovely state park in Milwaukee, I used my GPS and found it futile.  If you go there and are unfamiliar, it's best to follow the directions from the DNR's website, "Havenwoods State Forest is on the north side of Milwaukee, one block west of Sherman Boulevard on Douglas Avenue. From West Silver Spring Drive, turn north onto North Sherman Boulevard. At the second stoplight, turn left (west) on Douglas Avenue. After one short block, you will be at the Havenwoods entrance. Continue up the hill to the parking lot and nature center",  and use the trail map from their website as well, or pick up one at the nature center.

This is an exception to the state park rules, in that you don't need a state vehicle pass to come to Havenwoods.

There is a friends of Havenwoods group that also plans events here.  I see on their website, they will be doing a bird program in February.  They also arrange winter family hikes.  Lots of urban fun here!
If you go to the nature center first, you can borrow binoculars, hiking booklets, geocaching information, and even snowshoes or GPS.  They offer a few amphibians on display too.  This is a great place to go as families when the kids are bored this winter.