The Portly Bard’s inspiration for their limerick sequence:
“As an admiring poet, I tried to narrate informative, visual praise, using some subtle humor here and there, but mostly confining the limerick form to the memorable, minstrel-like story telling for which it is extremely well suited. I thought that would be the best way to pay tribute to the majesty and to the many particulars of Wisconsin’s premier recreation attraction. I wrote with the hope that those who read my work would enjoy it and be drawn to the wonders of the Trail.”
(The above 3 stanzas are only part of a full 19 stanza limerick sequence submitted by contest finalist, Portly Bard. The entire limerick sequence can be found by visiting this blog post).
Lou Ann Novak hails from Dane County.
Favorite Trail Segment: If she had to pick one, it would be St. Croix Falls. But really it is whatever segment she has hiked recently!
Lou Ann Novak’s inspiration for her limerick:
“I love how Nature pulls me into the present. I don’t worry about the past or become anxious about the future when I am hiking. I just celebrate being with the sky, the trees, the flowers and the animals along the way.”
Patti Herman hails from Columbia County.
Favorite Trail Segment: Gibraltar Rock, especially the section between the Slack Road trailhead and the Merrimac Ferry wayside. She says, “So many different environments along that segment and some incredible views, along with all the wildflowers that are showing up as a result of the stewardship that has been happening on that section of trail”
Patti’s inspiration for her limerick:
“During this time of the pandemic I have made being outdoors, including being on the Trail, part of my mental health/wellness plan. I always feel better and more hopeful about the future after I’ve taken a walk on the Trail.”
Rob Malewicki hails from Walworth County.
Favorite Trail Segment: Some of his favorite segments reside in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest: Whitewater Lake, Blackhawk, Blue Spring Lake, Stony Ridge, Eagle, Scuppernong.
Rob’s inspiration for his limerick:
“I’ve recently gotten back into my music with my little two-man band called ‘Rob’s Alibi’. I’ve been writing a few songs so I figured I’d try my luck with the IAT limerick since the muse has been with me.”
Nataly Stenzel hails from Hales Corners in Milwaukee County.
Favorite Trail Segment: Whitewater Lake Segment
Nataly’s inspiration for her limerick:
“When I learned about the contest, my 8-year-old son was also beginning a poetry unit for school. He was learning about rhyming patterns and word cadence. We wrote a few limericks together so I could teach him about those concepts. I told my son about the contest and he encouraged me to enter.
I ran an unsupported trail marathon on 4/18 on the Whitewater Lake, Blackhawk, and part of the Blue Spring Lake segments in honor of the Boston Marathon. I channeled the energy from that run to write my limericks. I have 2 boys who are 8 and 10. They have been watching me do trail races on the Ice Age Trail and hiking with me since 2015. They are very excited that my poem won!”
Hannah Francis hails from Dane County (as a graduate student in Soil Science and Agroecology at UW Madison), but has been “Safer-at-Home” in Walworth County for the past two months.
Favorite Trail Segment: One of her favorite segments is the Blue Spring Lake Segment – it has some spectacular views and cool erratics.
Hannah’s inspiration for her limerick:
“The limerick popped into my brain while I was trail running on the Blue Spring Lake Segment, and thinking about how, thanks to the Wisconsin Glaciation, I had many hills to run up and down! As a MS student at UW Madison in Soil Science and Agroecology, I can apply what I’ve learned about geomorphology and think about how it has led to the development of our present soils, and the fabulous Ice Age Trail. The limerick was inspired by a love for this Trail over kettle-moraine topography that both makes your muscles work, while also giving your brain space to decompress.”
Judy Derse hails from Waukesha County.
Favorite Trail Segment: The Scuppernong Segment is a favorite and frequently hiked segment.
Judy’s inspiration for her limerick:
“Ray Zillmer hiked every Sunday in many areas of southeastern Wisconsin. Being next-door neighbors, my sister, Diane and I accompanied him on many of these hikes in the 1950s. He had a wonderful sense of humor, was a marvelous teacher and sparked our interest in the flora and fauna of Wisconsin. We were too young to realize he was mapping out trails and instrumental in the conservation of land in the Kettle Moraine for all to enjoy. Ray, ultimately, became the originator and founder of what is known as the Ice Age Trail and had a role in the creation of the Natural Trails system.”
Jessica Woodward hails from Waukesha County and is a Thousand-Miler.
Favorite Trail Segment: While, it’s hard to pick a favorite segment, Lapham Peak is her home court.
Jessica’s inspiration for her Limerick:
“I am Irish, so writing silly limericks has been a craft that I often share with friends for birthdays or other occasions. Of course, I wanted to highlight the great work our volunteers, in all capacities, but I was particularly thinking of last year when a group of us went to Langlade County to help blaze during the MSC project – and due to the rain made a second trip up there to finish, and then ol’ Mother Nature came for a visit and foiled a lot of our completed efforts.”
Vicki Christianson (aka Eskergo) hails from Cornell in Chippewa County.
Favorite Trail Segment: She would be hard-pressed to identify a favorite segment, saying, “I have enjoyed each and every one of them. They each have their own special features.”
Vicki’s Inspiration for her Limerick:
“I do have a favorite feature which is the esker. That was the topic of my first limerick. I just love how the land drops away from you on both sides of the trail.”
Vicki Christianson (aka Eskergo) hails from Cornell in Chippewa County.
Vicki’s inspiration for her limerick:
“I’m an active member with the Chippewa Moraine Chapter. I participate with trail maintenance and events with my chapter. I have also participated with a number of MSC projects. I am part of the committee in Cornell that applied for Trail Community designation for Cornell. I have been working on hiking the entire Trail starting in 2016 and have completed about 500 miles so far.”
Zeke and Jess Bernstein hail from Dane County.
Favorite Trail Segment: Valley View, because it feels like a secret trail.
Zeke and Jess’s Inspiration for their Limerick:
“We were inspired by our hopes of doing a short mother-son overnight hike on the Ice Age Trail.”
Tom Gross hails from Dane County where he’s been a volunteer for about 30 years.
Favorite Trail Segment: His favorite segment is the Cross Plains Segment for the quality of the Trail and the variety of landscapes.
Leora Weitzman hails from Dane County.
Favorite Trail Segment: Lodi Marsh Segment
Leora’s inspiration for her limerick:
“I’m a massage therapist and teacher—not something it’s safe to be doing right now. Being without work is a challenge to morale. Among the best antidotes I know are nature, exercise, and creativity. You’ve provided all three by means of trails and the limerick contest. So, I thank you.”
- Limericks were submitted by April 24, 2020 through May 6, 2020.
- On Tuesday, May 12, National Limerick Day, the winning limericks were posted on social media beginning at 8:00 a.m., and each hour after that.
- The Ice Age Trail-inspired limerick contest was offered in the spirit of fun and a strict adherence to the traditional limerick structure was not entirely enforced by the judges.
Thank you for your contributions!