Hiking in my “backyard”

Today I did some hiking, but didn’t have to drive anywhere! Jared and I live close to Woodland Park in Monona, and Jared wanted to try out his new pack, so we went for a hike. Jared’s friend Todd also came along.

I loaded up my overnight pack to practice hiking with a heavier pack. Jared and I will be doing a 3 day backpacking trip in May along the Ice Age Trail up north. I didn’t want to take time to compress my sleeping bag into the compression sack and I didn’t have any clothes or food packed, so we took a look in the cabinets. Jared already had the five pound bag of sugar in his pack, so I took the hot chocolate canister and the huge container of nesquik.

We walked over to a Woodland Park and went around the outer loop and around to the big hill near the water towers. The entire park loop only takes about 15 minutes, so Todd suggested going to Aldo Leopoldo Nature Center and Edna Taylor Conservation Park. Aldo Leopold Nature Centeris a non-profit in Monona and Edna Taylor Conservation Park is part of the Madison parks system. The nature center and Woodland Park are separated by a parking lot, so we headed over there. The nature center had recently done a burn, so everything was black. It also smelled really bad, I do not like the smell of burning or burnt grass. It did make it easier to know which way to go to get across to the next park.

Aldo Leopoldo Nature Center and Edna Taylor Conservation Park are connected, so we just continued on into the conservation park. This park has a big hill that overlooks Stoughton Road, so we headed over there for more hill practice. This park is pretty small, and really only has one loop. There is another trail we did not go on which ended at a parking lot. We looped back around and headed towards the nature center. We saw some geese with a nest in one of the marshy ponds along the trail. I decided to walk a little faster to get more exercise in. I traveled back the way we came and went up the big hill in Woodland Park. I then decided to go back down and go up again since I was ahead anyway. Jared and Todd were at the bottom, so I only went up one more time, but had they been farther back I would have gone up a third time.

I’ve gone running in these three parks a lot and Penny and I take a walk in Woodland Park about once a week, but I haven’t hiked all three and it was nice to see them at a slower pace as compared to running.

Another great thing about this hike as that we got home by 7:30 and I felt like I had a lot of night left to do other things!

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