Photo Credit: Katie Weber
Ways to Experience and Enjoy the Ice Age National Scenic Trail!
It is a place for mental and physical rejuvenation, a place to unwind after a hard day. It’s a space for solace, reflection, and processing life’s transitions and joys. It offers the opportunity for a complete sensory experience.
We offer you plenty of ideas for enjoying the gifts of the Ice Age Trail.
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.
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.
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.
Practice Nature Photography
Nature photography compels the explorer to look at the natural world with new eyes. Photographers pause while hiking to perfectly frame landscapes, flowers, wildlife, and fellow hikers. Next time you head out on the Ice Age Trail, challenge yourself to take at least 10 photos along the way. Who knows what special critters, plants, and landscapes you will encounter…
Yoga on the Trail
Yoga is an ancient practice that involves movement, meditation, and breathing techniques to promote mental and physical well-being. The combination of movement and mindfulness increases flexibility, reduces pain, lowers stress, and sharpens concentration. If you are new to yoga, there are several yoga poses and sequences that you can learn and practice anywhere – even on the Ice Age Trail!
Meditation has been practiced in cultures all over the world for thousands of years. One meditation technique, called mindfulness, encourages us to quiet our minds and pause our constant habit of rehashing the past or imagining the future. Breath in… breath out… and take in the present moment. Instead of analyzing your thoughts, let them drift by as you allow your mind and body to fully relax.
Trailtessa Be Creative
Art on the Trail
Spending time in nature boosts creativity by 50%. Express your creative side by sketching, painting, writing, and more while hiking on the Ice Age Trail! Let yourself be inspired by the environment around you, and channel your feelings through an art medium of your choice. You may be surprised by what you discover about the natural world – and yourself – after an art walk on the Trail.
Spring, summer, and fall offer the wildflower enthusiast incredible delights. A pleasant surprise awaits in the small, dainty petals peeking up through the forest floor. Pops of color cheerfully announce themselves, swaying amongst the prairie grasses. As you turn your own face to the sun, be sure to look down and around to fully enjoy the ephemeral beauty of Wisconsin’s native flowers!