April 07, 2017



About six years ago I discovered an old homestead ruins in the woods.  I was so excited about the find I called my wife on my cell from the woods.  I went on and on about the open hearth I had found.  Before we ended our conversation she made me promise I would take her to the site.  I told her yes I would but I seriously doubted she would walk all the way back into the woods.  My wife Barb is from a small town and the closest she got to the outdoors was a park in town.

When I got home I explained more about my discovery and I tried to paint a picture with words for her.  She was smitten with my tale.  The next day we drove close to the site and walked all the way back into the woods to see my find.  It was like a light bulb went on in her head. 

 As we walked out she told me she really enjoyed the hike.  The clean air and wide open spaces were just what she was longing for.  She talked about more hikes and her new found love of the outdoors.  

I had tried for 30 years to get her to go with me when I went fishing and wandering.  All I heard was wood tick or deer tick or wet feet.  Any reason to not go was being used.  I seriously doubted her new found love of the outdoors.

 Six years later and every hiking path and state park in a six county radius under her belt she is still out there.  She photographed many things when she first started. 

 Most of the photos were under or over exposed.  I bought her a new phone with a very good camera and it opened the door even farther for her.  We purchased her good hiking boots and winter gear also.  She dresses properly when hiking to limit her exposure to ticks.  She showers the minute she walks in the door.

I love to hear her stories and see the excitement in her eyes when she comes back from one of her adventures.  She captures the moments on her camera also.  We scroll through her captures on the phone and she describes her journey of the day. She has one bench she has found out in the middle of nowhere she goes to each time she hikes that area.  She calls it “her” bench.  I must admit being a little jealous of her new found hobby. 

All of the years I begged her to go with me and she refused.  My knees and back are a significant detour for me to enjoy her passion with her these days.  I must be happy to live vicariously through her.

The photos she comes home with are amazing.  Some include frozen waterfalls and giant rock formations.  There is one trail that is her favorite.  It is called the Omaha Trail.  It is an old railroad bed that is paved.  She has visited in each season and taken seasonal photos. 

  I might have missed out on her love for the outdoors because I always wanted hikes to be close to trout streams.  Maybe she needs the solitude of her solo hikes and discoveries she finds on each expedition into the wild.

 As I type this she is out on a new trail in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.  She called me and told me about the beautiful purple flowers she just took a photo of.  

 The flowers were pushing through the brown leaves of the valley’s floor reaching out for the sun.  These were Barb’s words.  I could hear the excitement in her voice and almost see that twinkle she has in her eyes when she talks about her hiking in Wisconsin.


  1. Happy for you and Barb. The wild is too underappreciated. Alan.