Chapter 152- Lion’s Den Gorge

Day off of school?  In our house, that means a family hike!  Even though we do this pretty often, I still get complaints at first when I mention it.  “But I don’t even liiiiiiike hiking!” and “It’s too boring!” are common responses.  While I understand that a 3mi hike is a lot for those little legs, THEY LOVE IT EVERY TIME.

So on our most recent no-school day, we got out my current favorite book (Kevin Revolinski’s Best Hikes Near Milwaukee).  I had a vote to hike near water, and the kids wanted a loop that was less than three miles.  Oh, and of course not more than an hour away.  Because I’m old school and don’t have anything electronic for my kids in the car, they’re stuck with books and art supplies for long trips.  Luckily, Lion’s Den Gorge made all the requirements.

The trip started out with an end-of-the-world itchy glove issue (see above for clues), but the disaster quickly remedied itself with the distraction of nature and siblings.  Which, come to think of it, remedies most things in life.

*a quick note that erosion is present and bluffs are steep, so please review with your family the necessity for staying on the trails.

The kids decided to take the Bluff Trail down to the beach, which is when I regretted not bringing my other new favorite book, Stan Tekiela’s Trees of Wisconsin Field Guide.  I’m sure we passed through birch trees, but there were many others that I haven’t yet learned to identify.  Games of tag and zombies and collecting shiny ice vs “blocky” ice (whatever that means) kept everyone pretty busy, and we suddenly found ourselves at the top of the steps down to the beach.  Heads up that there are a lot of steps.

We spent close to an hour at the beach, throwing rocks in the water and exploring the rapidly receding ice shelf.  And getting our winter boots soaked with water, of course.  We talked about how the waves were slowly melting the ice, and noted the small creek flowing into Lake Michigan.  Little T made use of her monocular (thanks Aunt Jamie and Uncle Rick!) and spotted some ducks out on the water for viewing.

When our snacks were about to run out (I think we went through a bag of carrots and celery, four granola bars, a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies, and string cheese for all…people were HUNGRY on this hike!), we made our way up the stairs.  The kids drew a map in the dirt and decided to take the Bluff Trail back because it was shady and they had such a good time on the way down.

My youngest found some birch, and she told her siblings that’s what people wrote on before paper was invented.

An added bonus of the trip was that two out of four kids mastered the use of a compass!

Everyone loved the long boardwalk at the marsh, near the end of the hike.  The kids brought back the nature-exploring technique they learned in preschool of lying on your belly to look off of a dock or pier.  It’s a safe way to get close to the water!

Success.  Another day, another hike, another reminder of how lucky we are to have so many unique places to explore.

Peace!

-Amber

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  1. Sakeena says:

    What a great idea, I’m going to take my kids on hike this week 👍🏽

    Reply