Friday, January 25, 2013

Quick Hike: Sunnyvale Park

I'm heading out of town shortly to see a concert in Milwaukee. Charlie will be home for the next 22 hours, with scheduled visits from her doggy-sitter and a family friend, so we need to go for a quick hike to get her exercised before I leave. Because of time constraints, I didn't want to stray too far from home so we ended up driving to Sunnyvale Park on the West side of Wausau. This is an ideal place if you want a scenic but easy hike. The small "lake" is man-made and has a wide hiking trail around its perimeter. There is a sandy beach with bathrooms, volleyball pits and picnic shelters. One side of the park features an open area for model airplane flying ~ you can hear the buzz of the aircrafts in the air on most days. If you follow the occasional foot-paths through the woods, you'll end up on the bank of the Big Rib River which flows around the park in little s-shaped twists and turns. When the river is low enough, you can walk through the shallows to the little islands dotted throughout. Last summer I threw a tennis ball across the river onto an island for Charlie to fetch ~ she LOVES to swim ~ but she didn't see where it landed; it's still there.
Today is still pretty cold and it's snowing. The weather forecast had said the snow would taper off by noon; apparently that was wrong. The wind blowing on the North side of the lake is fierce and frigid. The snow pelted my face and made me miserable. Walking on the path was treacherous due to the ice layer beneath the snow that threatened to twist my ankle at any moment. But when we reached the other side of the lake, protected by the wall of trees, it was a peaceful little winter wonderland. The wind had not stripped the weeds and trees of their blanket of snow yet. The weeds were wearing little "hats" of snow and even though there was no bright sunlight, the snow sparkled.

I didn't really have time to hike all the way around the lake, but Charlie was having so much fun and I was inspired to take pictures of all the beauty around us. So the lesson to take away from today's hike: even though you don't have a lot of time and the weather is not cooperating, you can have a good hike if you just let the mood take over you. Typically once you motivate yourself and get out there ~ even when you don't feel like it ~ it'll be worth it!