Hike 7 - Big Bay State Park/Big Bay Town Park

Our second hike on Madeline Island was a brief walk from our campsite. We'd considered another nearby hike, but there was a sign that a bear and her cubs had been seen recently, so we decided it was best to avoid that path. Instead we, walked over to the beach and took the boardwalk from Big Bay State Park to Big Bay Town Park. Back in 2013, when Riley was 3, we'd visited Madeline Island and walked a little of Big Bay Town Park, but didn't go far because 3 year old's don't hike far, so it was nice to see where that trail actually went.

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Hike #: 7

Trail: Big Bay State Park to Big Bay Town Park and back

Location: Madeline Island, Wisconsin

Trail surface: boardwalk with sand on the beach

Date: 5/19/18

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This trail was a little longer than we realized (2 miles each way?), which wasn't bad, but was more of a "when are we going to get to the end - this boardwalk feels like it goes on forever". In fact, Riley, who tends to rate on the high side, said she was only giving this trail a 3 because of the length even though she enjoyed the hike. The board walk was well maintained and had plenty of paths over to the beach and benches to rest on. It was chilly on this day with a threat of rain, but had it been warmer, we likely would have found a spot on the beach to relax for while.  We only saw a couple people on this trail so it earns points for that.

Jo: ★★★★

Jesse: ★★★★

Riley: ★★★

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Check out my Madeline Island post to read more about our weekend camping trip here. 

Hike 6 - Capser Trail

This was our first hike of the year that felt more like a hike... rather than a walk. Madeline Island isn't very big, but does have a number of trails to explore and it's worth going there just for that. We decided to start with this one as it was close to the ferry when we arrived and we wanted to get our feet to the ground right away. The trail is only about 2 miles round trip - perhaps slightly longer if you take the Nucy Meech spur (as we did on the way out, but not on the way back). 

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Hike #: 6

Trail: Capser Trail

Location: Madeline Island, WI

Trail surface: dirt

Date: 5/18/18

While I've been counting paved trails as hikes so far as part of my 50 hikes, my brain really considers a trail made of earth to be a legitimate hike. While Torrey Pines was an earth surface, it was crowded with people. This trail was not, although we did see a couple other people and the local school kids.

Speaking of the local school kids, apparently they use this trail a lot and even built a little village with houses made of stone and tepee's made of branches and bark. We almost missed it, but you can find it near the start of the trail on the left by the benches that are in a circle. We spent quite a bit of time there with our 8 year old imagining all the fairies that must live there. We hiked down to the overlook and back and saw a couple deer, and smaller critters along the way. I was surprised how one deer stayed somewhat close to us, but I suppose they are used to people on the trail.

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While this trail was fairly short and easy (great for kids), it made my heart sing. I really felt like I had escaped and was truly out in nature. The village houses and wild animals were all bonuses to the walk. 

Jo: ★★★★

Jesse: ★★★★

Riley: ★★★★★

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Check out my Madeline Island post to read more about our weekend camping trip here. 

Hike 2 - Westwood Hills Nature Center

We explore Westwood Hills Nature Center on a fairly regular basis since it's close to home, but this was the first time we'd been there this year. There are a variety of trail surfaces that include paved, wood chips, crushed concrete and boardwalk. The main trail loops around Westwood lake, but there are other trails that wind through the woods.

Hike #: 2

Trail: Westwood Hills Nature Center

Location: St Louis Park, MN

Trail surface: pavement, boardwalk, crushed concrete, wood chips

Date: 3/11/18

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While I love the boardwalk, my favorite trail is through the pines (behind the nature center building). There you can find nature art made by Chelsea Bahe. Chelsea gathers leaves, bark, acorns, pine needles and so forth to create pictures of people and animals on random tree stumps. We even got to see her in action one weekend and she shared that she comes out weekly to create new art.

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We love this trail for it's proximity to our house, that it feels like you are far out in nature (when you are in the city), that we see turkeys almost every time we are here, the focus on nature (they have a lot of kid's nature programs throughout the year), nature art (of course) and because there is a playground. 

Jo: ★★★★

Jesse: ★★★★

Riley: ★★★★★

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