Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why I love our state parks

I will forever be grateful to my mom for raising me to have a great appreciation of our state parks. Every spring we would go and buy our park sticker that allowed us admission to the state parks for the entire year. We usually frequented Pike Lake State Park because of its beautiful hiking trails, great playground area and nice beach, but occasionally we'd venture upstate to any one of dozens of other parks.

I'm so happy to carry on this tradition with my own family. Our Jeep proudly wears the 2010 state park sticker, and today we took advantage of our beautiful fall weather to hike around Mirror Lake State Park. We chose the perfect weekend to enjoy the fall colors.

One of the nice things about having an early riser for a baby is that we were awake, showered, breakfasted, and ready to hike long before most people were awake.  We didn't see a single soul for much of our hike despite the fact that I couldn't imagine a more perfect day for hiking.

While some of the park trails are actually wheelchair accessible and would have been fine to take a baby stroller on, Dan put Jack in his harness carrier so we could explore more of the park.  Jack loved it.

We definitely saw some amazing sights as we hiked.  We didn't have a timetable or anywhere that we had to be, so we could just take our time and take in the beauty that surrounded us.

Can you believe this tree?  Wow!
Jack had a wonderful time exploring nature in his own little way.  Walks like this will be more valuable to him as he grows up and can better understand the lessons of the forest, but we made an effort to give him some good experiences.  He certainly had a great time - he was whooping and flapping his arms for much of our hike.

I loved being able to get so close to these beautiful rock formations that are the signature feature of my beloved Wisconsin Dells.  Someday when Jack is old enough to canoe with us we'll canoe Mirror Lake and see the rocks from the water, too.  There are some amazing outcroppings that can only be appreciated completely from the lake itself.

We truly had a wonderful time.  By the time we were heading back to our car, other groups were starting to make their way to the trails.  Parents with children, couples, a guide-led tour.  While it was nice to have the trail to ourselves for so long, it was great to see other people taking advantage of this beautiful setting.

What an amazing day.


Eschelle said...

glad to see you and your family having fun!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had an awesome time! I miss those fall colors!! We don't get them that dramatically here in TX! I grew up in upstate NY & loved the fall colors! My grandfather & I always took walks in the woods & had great adventures!