Updated: May 6, 2020
What a marvelous day today was! The air was so warm, a 71 degrees or so, making it a very pleasant day to be outdoors. My sisters wanted to go on a hike with me this afternoon, so we ventured out to another segment of the Ice Age Trail.
I talk about this trail a lot on this blog, there are segments running all over the state of Wisconsin. It is a 1,200 mile trail that runs south through the thumb of Wisconsin, down through eastern WI, then it curves back up right before it hits Illinois, then continues NW through WI until it hits Minnesota. The trail runs through West Bend and the Kettle Moraine where I'm living now, and you can find segments going south. My sisters and I hiked the segment by Holy Hill, a well known church up near Hubertus. The church grounds are incredible, especially during autumn when the leaves are changing. The trail we walked today was on the church grounds, though we didn't go near it. In fact, the roads that go toward the church and the main trail parking lots were barricaded off so you couldn't get through! There's always a way, though. Up the road were a bunch of cars off to the side of the street, and two open parking spaces just for us. Now, that's divine timing!
We got out and changed into our shorts and began our trek up the trail. Hiking in Wisconsin is pretty lonely - you don't see many people while you're out on a trail. There were tons of people out today though, and we probably said "hello" to about fifty people passing by on the trail. It reminded me of overcrowded Sedona, where you can't go on a trail without saying "hello" to a person every thirty seconds! It was okay with me though, there were plenty of places to walk off trial and look for mushrooms. The warm weather had me thinking I'd find some morels today, so I was sure to search around all the big oak trees I saw off the trail!
Reconnecting with my sisters today was such a treat. It's been FOREVER since we last hung out, just the three of us. Morgan had back surgery in December and had a bit more spunk in her step; you could tell she was feeling pretty good in her body! Kelsie was happy as can be, life flowing smoothly and calmly. I was feeling pretty good too, a part of something and feeling accepted by my sisters. I choose, err let's just say "odd" habits compared to the social norm, (like my hairy ass legs and not wearing a bra - you know, natural living!) and they didn't say anything about it, which made me feel safe in my skin. I get nervous around summertime when shorts and tees break out. I'm not changing myself for anybody, but I definitely feel more comfortable when people don't point out my choices like that.
We rounded many bends, and hiked up hills, talking about our memories together and updates on life. Any passerbyer would think we were triplets - we're all the same height, same build, same face practically, the only difference between the three of us is hair color and eye color. I've got tanned skin, green eyes, and dirty blonde hair, Kelsie has hazel eyes and half silver, half blonde hair, and Morgan has blaze orange hair and blue eyes. You wouldn't know we were so many years apart! At one point, Morgan had a notification on her fit-bit telling us we'd hiked 10,000 steps, an indication that we should probably turn around soon...
Underneath nearly every old oak tree we looked for morels, yet nothing! I was super surprised because it's been warm this week... you'd think they'd be popping out of the ground everywhere! This adventure for foraging my first morels is turning out to be quite the challenge, but I will prevail! Morgan helped nearly every time, and even found a false morel mushroom - it looks kinda like a morel, except it is brain like and not uniform at all. They kind of grow all over the place and have no true form. We did find some interesting mushrooms on a fallen birch tree, what we thought were chaga mushrooms, but alas, they weren't orange inside and didn't have that ugly chaga aesthetic. This hike made me realize... I need to get myself a mushroom foraging book!!
On our way back to the cars, I noticed a huge bur oak on the other side of a slight marsh. Cowslip and skunk cabbage littered the swamp, the only green patch in the whole forest. Morgan decided to go across the marsh to look for morels under the oak tree and tiptoed across some unstable logs. She made it across alright, but on her way back, she slipped and stepped in the marsh! Thankfully it wasn't too deep, and apparently her Nikes were waterproof because her socks didn't get wet.
Today was one of those days that I'll remember for my lifetime. You don't realize how important family is until you spend years away from them, missing them, and then coming back and spending quality time with them once again.
Spend some time with your family, even if it is through a window. You never know how important the people in your life are until they are gone <3
Sending you love!