Brown County
Winter Hike
January 17, 2009

“January observations can be almost as simple and peaceful as snow, and almost as continuous as cold. There is time not only to see who has done what, but to speculate why.”
—Aldo Leopold

by Jim Eagleman

Winter has long been held a special time for nature lovers. Just as nature study need not end as the sun goes down, or discontinue due to the season, we eagerly look forward to a time that it continues in the cold. The bookshelves at the Nature Center contain several field guides and handbooks that help us understand winter and nature’s response: winter botany, tracks and signs, winter birds, snow and ice, winds, storms, blizzards, etc. You might be surprised how many animals and birds are active as the temperatures plummet and ice crystals form. Brown County State Park Winter Hike will help you enjoy the great outdoors.

On Saturday, January 17, 2009 beginning at 9:00 a.m., one of two routes can be chosen by all hikers—Friends of the State Park, visitors, lodge guests, and local residents. Beginning at the Nature Center, the “Southern Loop Hike” allows a leisure hike for all walkers along a closed park road into Strahl Valley, around Lake Strahl and return to the Nature Center (Trail #6). It is 3.5 miles in length. Local Boy Scout Troop 190 will prepare “s’mores” at the Strahl Shelter for a welcomed hiker snack. Hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate will be supplied by the Abe Martin Lodge. The scouts can also offer first aid, doggie snacks, and helpful hiking tips. Donations are accepted.

A second hike route is the “Woodland Hike.” It starts at the park’s Recreation Building, proceeds through Ogle Hollow Nature Preserve (Trail #5), around Lake Ogle (Trail #7), and returns. It is 2.75 miles in length. There’s more s’mores and hot drinks offered on this route at the Lake Ogle shelter. Hikers from years past have commented “It’s a nice treat to be greeted by hot refreshments offered by happy scouts.” Hikers can talk with park interpreters on a variety of winter wildlife topics on both trails.

Don’t forget the Hiker’s Buffet Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. at the Abe Martin Lodge for $8.99. This “Breakfast with the Naturalists” will give hikers a heads up on what to expect and what to look for along either trail. After the hike, The Hiker’s Buffet Luncheon is served from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and costs $9.99.

The popular and collectable Winter Hike patch and yearly chevron will be sold by the Friends of Brown County State Park at the lodge, starting at 11:00 a.m. For more information, please call the Brown County State Park Nature Center at (812) 988-5240.