We’re trying to build in more family hikes to our schedules, so on Sunday we rallied to head out and breathe some fresh air! Since snow was in the forecast, we kept it local and just went to the trails at Hoyt Park. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the trail system is actually called. Because east of 92nd, it’s apparently called the Forked Aster Hiking Trail according to one map, but other than that I can’t seem to find any information on it. And west of 92nd, there’s a trail system that goes all the way north of Capitol, but I can’t find a map or name for that. I know the trails have lots of mountain bikers on them, but that’s all I have. Please comment below if you have links to maps or names for these trails!
Anyway, back to the hike. We arrived and headed into the woods at the west end of Hoyt Pool’s parking lot, right along the railroad tracks. It was just starting to snow…big fat wet flakes.
The kids started out REAL slow, picking up every stick and log (seriously) they could find. The loop is just over 2 miles and it was a bit chilly, so Theo and I tried to keep people moving at a steady pace. But there was so much to see! The Menomonee River, mallards swimming and searching for food, rocks with interesting patterns, a dusting of snow to eat, and lots more.
The kids asked me to take a photo of what the sky looks like when we were considering just how far snowflakes have to fall to reach the ground.
When the snow picked up, Little A plopped herself in the middle of the trail to catch snowflakes and roll around. Any dog owners out there? It was a little like watching your puppy roll in the snow for the first time.
S of course insisted on hiking in a dress and tights, with her piggy, blankie, and pacifier. We’re losing the battle on that last one. Ugh. I totally get how youngest children get spoiled. You just don’t have it in you to fight the battle with some things.
There are some small mountain biking jumps, which we used as slides. And then we immediately regretted not wearing snowpants!
By the time we made the loop, the snow was really coming down. We made snowballs and threw them in the water. And at each other 😉
Just as we were heading back to the parking lot (making sure to hike on the trail NOT next to the playground, because I don’t know about you but if my kids see a playground, it’s really difficult to keep them from it!), a train came by.
And just like that, we were back at our car. We snagged a 6-person selfie, took off our wet gear and headed home for hot chocolate and baths.
It’s amazing how much nature soothes my soul. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m so busy with getting places and fulfilling duties and making sure people are safe and loved, that I rarely get to gaze at a sunset long enough to feel its rays enter my being. I rarely get to see mountains in the distance and feel just how small we are, and how in my own head I’ve been. In the summer we get to the beach or maybe go camping and gaze at the stars, but waiting for nice weather/school to be out is not enough for me.
So doing things like this means the world to me. And we benefit as a family, too. We’re not complaining about getting a new Lego set/watching the tv/sharing a toy. We’re learning about the world around us and completing a challenge together. Granted, a quick hike in the city is a small challenge at this point (they don’t know about my plans to backpack through a National Park someday soon), but it’s something.
I’d like to give a shout out to Milwaukee County Parks for giving our family the opportunity to connect and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Wishing peace to all,