Winter Fun

January 13th, 2011 by

Our kids gave us snowshoes for Christmas and we’re still learning how to dance with flat-bottom boats tied to our feet.  I can’t imagine a more efficient mode of navigating winter’s terrain, if you can dismiss for a moment the less than graceful image of me waddling across the snow like a lost duck out of water.   

Thankfully, Driftless Wisconsin offers plenty of places to practicing snowshoeing and the like. The area’s parks are open all year and provide the perfect setting to enjoy winter’s subtle landscapes and invigorating activities. 

Upcoming winter events at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve near La Farge include a Cross Country Ski Workshop on January 29 that features a “relaxed group ski outing” and a Winter Kinder Camp on February 3 that will “explore the winter natural world through discovery” with your child using snowshoe hikes, nature crafts, and games.  However, both events require registration by January 15, shortly after this posting.  

Further down the road, the Reserve will offer a Winter Willow Basket Weaving Workshop on February 5 (register by January 22), a full day of crafting baskets and learning about harvesting willow; and an Ice Cave Hike on February 12 (register by January 29), an outdoor expedition that will include narrative about geology and biology. 

Mark your calendar for Ground Hog Daze on February 5 at Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien.  The event will feature a tiki torch hike through the Wisconsin Ridge Campground, horse-drawn wagon or sleigh rides, warming fires inside the Nature Center, food, and “educational activities for all ages” about the ground hog and its legend.  The trails are open now and according to the park’s current conditions report, snowshoes are recommended for navigating the trails.  The cross-country ski trails have been packed but not groomed or tracked. 

Across the Mississippi River, Effigy Mounds National Monument will hold its 48th Annual Winter Film Festival on weekends and Mondays from January through March.  An annual tradition for visitors and locals alike, the festival features films on natural topics along with displays of local art crafts, photos, and animal furs.  Check the schedule for specifics on films and displays. 

Of course, winter fun is not confined to the parks.  Ice fishers can enjoy The Stoddard Bay Jigging Jamboree Ice Fishing Tournament in Stoddard on January 29th, sponsored by the local Park Committee.  And Prairie du Chien will hold its Annual Fisheree on February 5 – 6, a competition at Lakeview Marina Bar & Restaurant north of town that includes prizes and evening entertainment.  

So come enjoy winter’s companionship in Driftless Wisconsin; before you know, she’ll be gone.