Road Trip!
Parnell Tower Trail

It just felt like the time; the time to take a road trip! So, we packed up our things and traveled to the north to visit the Parnell Tower and Trail and the Horicon Marsh on November 5 and 6, 2017.

While I may not be a fan of some of Wisconsin’s sporting teams (c’mon, I live in Chicago!), I am 100% a fan of Wisconsin’s nature areas. Our first stop was at the Parnell Tower and Trail in the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit which is about 2.5 hours from where we live. It’s a beautiful place!

As I’ve noted previously, I like the addition of some terrain when hiking, and the Kettle Moraine area provides it in abundance. If you’re interested in some geological history of the area, here you go: Kettle Moraine Geological History.

In order to reach the Parnell Tower Trail, we first needed to walk up a fairly long series of steps. Then, it’s another 60 feet to the top of the tower which is the highest spot in the Kettle Moraine North Unit. Here, join us on our journey via the following video.

Pretty cool, huh?

After our descent from the tower, we then hiked the Parnell Tower Trail which is about 3.5 miles of rolling terrain. The Parnell Tower Trail includes part of the much longer (1,000 miles!) Ice Age Trail (which I’ve added to my bucket list).

Join us again via the following video.

One note – All Wisconsin State Parks require a vehicle admission sticker. And, as we saw while returning to our car, the Rangers aren’t shy about ticketing cars that don’t have a sticker. So, bring some cash (the fee was $11 for the day) and make sure to get a vehicle admission sticker – that you display in your car (it won’t do you any good in your pocket!) – before starting your hike.

We spent the night in West Bend, Wisconsin but, before heading to the hotel, we made a visit to the Museum of Wisconsin Art. The primary reason for visiting the museum was to view an exhibit of Gerit Grimm’s amazing sculptures. Here, take a look.

Gerit Grimm Sculpture 1
Gerit Grimm Sculpture 2
Gerit Grimm Sculpture 3
Gerit Grimm Sculpture 4

Amazing, right? So, if you’re ever in West Bend, you might want to visit the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Admission to the museum comes with a year-long membership and it contains a lovely curated collection of art by only Wisconsin-born artists, and the building is quite striking.

The next day we journeyed to the Horicon Marsh which is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. As it turned out, a gigantic flock of swans had flown in the night before, so we were in for quite a treat (Sorry for only four swans in the picture below. Trust me, there were hundreds!). Horicon also has a few trails for hiking and here are some of the sights we saw (sorry again, no video for Horicon).

Horicon Marsh 2
Horicon Marsh 3
Horicon Marsh 4

After our hike, it was back in the car for the trek back to Chicago. I’m feeling the itch for another road trip!

find a trail ~ find your path

~Trail Tracing

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