Even though I live in the city of Milwaukee, I try to make time to explore the Kettle Moraine whenever I can. Over the years, my favorite segment to hike has always been the trail near Whitewater Lake. My brother’s house was located directly across the street from the trail, and whenever my family visited for Christmas or a summertime pool party, I would try to get relatives to hike it with me. It’s a short trail, probably about a mile in length, and runs parallel to Clover Valley Road. On one end is a bench and a pretty stream, over which a boardwalk was built.
The hike is just long enough for one to burn off a turkey dinner or catch vast amounts of fresh air and quietude after being inside with chatty relatives. I almost always got my younger brother Pete to hike with me, but since he passed away in 2017, the house has been sold, and the hikes are now just a memory.
That doesn’t mean I don’t hike anymore, on the contrary. I have already explored the Monches segment in the Northern Unit with friends and another segment at Scuppernong Springs near Eagle. It’s not quite the same without my brother, but simply being in nature and on the trail allows me to appreciate cherished memories of our walks together. The beauty of nature and the peace that is found there heals and restores the soul. I am so grateful for this incredible network of trails and the volunteers who maintain them. They are a real Wisconsin gem.
Photo: My friend Jeanmarie (left) and I stop for a photo along the Ice Age Trail segment near Monches in October 2018.