When you put down roots in a place and yet you have a yen for travel, but you have a job and commitments and no bottomless bank account — well, you have to find a way to make that work or you might go bananas. In our house my husband and I both traveled quite a bit before the house & kids, so to offset those itchy feet we have places that we revisit that are relatively close that are unique. It’s like the illusion of traveling farther afield, but for the cost of just a tank of gas and a picnic lunch on a day off. As I’m sure any longtime readers know, each of these spots tend to pop up here on the blog once or twice a year. Parfrey’s Glen is one such place and it was our family adventure yesterday.
The trail starts flat in a wooded area with a stream running alongside with some pristine habitat for bird life.
Our highlights were a Blue-winged warbler (I’ve heard them many times, but I think this was my first time actually seeing one) and a Louisiana waterthrush. There were also ample spots for the kids to test their balance.
The trail then begins to get more challenging…
Most of these stairs and easy stream crossings are gone as floods destroyed an extensive boardwalk system in 2010. While it does take patience to wait for slower hikers to make some of the crossings, by the time you get to the more difficult terrain most of the crowds have diminished and the trail isn’t too congested. Sometimes though, sometimes someone gets to one side of the stream and can’t figure out how to get back.
And even on May 18th, there is still some snow & ice in the cool recesses of this glen — could it be the start of a new glacier? While highly unlikely (read: impossible) that would be awesome and is kind of fun to consider.
The cherry on the sundae of this hike, however, is the little waterfall at the end.
Most importantly about this hike, though, is that inside the towering walls of this landscape it is an opportunity for the kids to test their mettle and pick their own path through the stream and fallen rock. They get to feel big and small all at the same time. As grown-ups we feel it, too, and it is refreshing to revisit a place so difference than our everyday landscape.
We wrapped up our day with a picnic at the neighboring Devil’s Lake State Park where we ate while getting to watch a loon find lunch, too. What a day to adventure, to see the green of spring, and to get out of our little corner of the world & see see something ‘new’.