Photo Credit: Katie Weber
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail: A Refuge in Uncertain Times
It is a place for mental and physical rejuvenation, a place to unwind after a hard day and enjoy the landscape of Wisconsin.
There’s never been better reason to get out for a saunter on the Ice Age Trail. The wildness you crave is available on a nearby Trail segment. Come home to nature. Rest your mind, boost your immune system, and get into a relaxed, happy state. Immerse yourself in the simple act of putting one foot in front of another. Exhale stress. Inhale well-being.
Kevin Thusius, Director of Land Conservation for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, encourages Ice Age Trail enthusiasts to stop and listen to the chips, twitters, and calls of our feathery friends. This pleasant auditory experience adds an engaging dimension to your hiking experience.
One of the best gifts we can give ourselves, when we are stressed out or want to wholeheartedly relax, is to tune into the sounds, smells, sights, textures, and tastes of the woods, prairies, and connecting routes along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Here’s how to engage fully your senses as you hike from point A to point B.
Ever wondered why the gentle burbling of a brook, or the rustling of wind in the trees is so calming and relaxing? It turns out, our brains interpret these sounds as ‘non-threats.’ This allows our fight-or-flight nervous-system-response to settle down and relax. Listening to natural sounds helps turn the brain’s attention outward, away from its typical inward-directed focus, where anxiety and depression are more easily fostered. Rest your mind and get into a relaxed, happy state as you listen to water flowing along the Monches Segment.
It’s a pleasant surprise to find small, dainty wildflowers peeking up through rough, brown leaves scattered across the forest floor. Such delicate beauty after a stark, frozen winter. As you turn your own face to the sun, be sure to look down and around to find these bits of color!
We’ve got plenty ways to get and keep kids engaged while out for a hike on the Ice Age Trail. These activities are a wonderful way to begin a hike, keep a group together, spice up a destination, or occupy part of the group while the other part catches up. Adults will enjoy them as much as children!
A hike on a favorite segment of Ice Age National Scenic Trail offers mood-boosting fresh air and sunshine and provides a respite from the uncertainty around us. The Ice Age Trail is a perfect place for slowing down, gathering your internal resources, and gaining clarity. However, the spread of COVID-19 and the Safer-At-Home order issued by Governor Evers raises some questions and here are our answers.
Here’s how we’ve committed to handling things as an organization during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes recommendations for our volunteers and hikers and best ways to reach our staff.
Safer-At-Home order issued by Governor Evers
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources statement regarding the status of state parks.
Using Parks and Open Space While Maintaining Social Distancing by the National Recreation and Park Association
The Rules for Going Outdoors During Coronavirus by Outside Magazine
Hiking Responsibly: Frequently Asked Questions for Hiking During the Covid-19 Pandemic by the American Hiking Society
Leave No Trace Recommendations for Getting Outside Amidst COVID-19 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics