She Goes: Four Things I Learned Winter Hiking Near Milwaukee
In the past year, I decided to make it a priority to explore more. I absolutely love love love (did I say LOVE?) my home in downtown Milwaukee, but sometimes my mind and body scream at me to get out of the city and be one with nature. I truly don’t think there is any better mental healing than wandering through the woods. But getting started can be overwhelming. There are any number of questions that arise when planning an excursion: Where do I go? What do I need to bring? Who will come with me? How do I get there?
When this winter rolled around (and my hiking buddies coincidentally disappeared), I decided to stop asking and start doing. This is what I learned:
1. Google is a good place to start. The internet is a wonderful tool that makes finding information easy peasy. I simply typed in “best winter hikes near Milwaukee” and found many helpful articles, including the most fantastic list from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I’m working my way through this list and, so far my favorite is the Emma Carlin trails. It’s about 40 miles from Milwaukee and well worth the drive. The number of pictures I took was slightly absurd, but everything was just so pretty. These trails are for both hikers and bikers.
2. Use social media to find like-minded individuals. Through our doNorth instagram account, the wonderful ladies of @womenhikingwisconsin reached out to us. (Two months into this venture and we are already making friends!!!) I joined their group on Facebook and was immediately overwhelmed, in the best way possible, with TONS of places to hike and explore in Wisconsin. My weekends could not come soon enough to start adventuring in all of these places I’d never heard of. They always post tips and tricks about conditions of the trails, what to wear, and, of course, the great pictures that are taken on these excursions.
Recently they hosted a group hike at Scuppernong Trail Head and doNorth took advantage of the close location. We joined them on a 4.1 mile loop through the GORGEOUS woods and met some amazing ladies. If you want to know the power of this group, catch this story: Two of the women on this hike had not seen each other in 20 YEARS! They went to vet school together and both moved to different locations and chose this event to meet up again after all that time. CHILLS!
3. Enjoy the ride. I was pleasantly surprised by the drive to some of these hiking trails. I drove through miles of the cutest small towns, the most picturesque farms, and some of the best views I have seen in a while. Hiking and getting out in the woods are amazing, but the drive can often be just as serene.
4. Safety first! If you are hiking alone, always tell someone where and when you are going. I showed up to the Emma Carlin trails gung ho about my solo hike, and then it hit me that I was completely unfamiliar with the area and trails and really even how I got there. Upon my arrival, I was the only car in the parking lot. Luckily, my obsession with Law & Order SVU and My Favorite Murder kicked in and I made some contingency plans. I immediately texted the BFF about exactly where I was, how long I was going to be, and if she didn’t hear from me within 2.5 hours, send a search party! #ssdgm
Hiking has truly become one of my favorite activities. It’s awesome connecting with people who also share a passion for this, but it’s also just as fun taking off on a solo hike. A little research and some basic safety can go a long way in helping you escape that mid-winter cabin fever.
What are your favorite tips for hiking in the winter?
Yours In Adventure,