This Super Secret Natural Area Turns into a Winter Wonderland
It’s been quite the unusual winter this year in Wisconsin. Usually, at this point, we have a few feet of snow on the ground but right now, the front yard has just a dusting. So the other day, when southern Wisconsin was calling for a snowstorm with up to a foot of snow, I made plans to head south to find it. I woke up at 4:30
Normally when I go on adventures, there’s not a whole lot of planning beforehand. A lot of the photos that you see
So on Saturday when we did this, we noticed an area of green space along the Wisconsin River called Gotham Jack Pine Barrens State Natural Area.
We had a little trouble finding it at first but eventually discovered these directions on the Wisconsin DNR website:
“From the intersection of U.S. Highway 14 and County Highway JJ in Gotham, go east on 14 0.2 miles, then south on Timber Lane past the sawmill to the bike trail and a gate. Park and walk due south along an overgrown access easement to the northwest corner of the western
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, easement means, “A right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose.” Take a look at the map below. I’ve placed a pin right next to the easement access point. You can see a narrow strip of green space that runs north to south. That’s the easement that you must follow. We simply kept Google Maps out to make sure we weren’t straying off the path and headed out into the woods.
Also, allow me to stress the fact that the easement is very overgrown. We had trouble finding it initially and just kind of forged our way through the trees. There were plenty of private property signs along the way to help keep us in the designated state natural area.
The fresh snowfall made for such a beautiful hike! The whole forest turned into a winter wonderland! I just love when the snow clings to the trees like this. Every now and then, a branch would give way, sending a flurry of snowflakes down on us.
Eventually, we made it to the river where big, slushy ice chunks floated on top. It was a lot more open here with fewer trees and rolling landscape. I bet this would be a great place to come sunbathe in the summer!
In early August, Sean and I headed north for a weekend adventure in the Porcupine Mountains! Based in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, this Midwestern mountain range is made up of gentle slopes, old-growth forests, and cascading waterfalls.
Located just a few miles from downtown Madison is Olbrich Botanical Gardens, a 16-acre property bursting with colorful flowers, small ponds, and an ornate Thai Pavillion. We spent a couple of hours here one afternoon and had such a wonderful time!The outdoor gardens...
Just across Wisconsin’s northern border in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is an area called Sylvania Wilderness. Located entirely within the Ottawa National Forest, Sylvania offers 18,000 acres of pristine lakes and old-growth forests. It was a beautiful summer...