–submitted by Dawn Crim; photography by Karl Gutknecht
On Saturday the Hiking Fellowship Group enjoyed its first hike of the season organized by Rotarian Karl Gutknecht with Bob Miller, President and Executive director of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, and board member and Rotarian Deb Gilpin on hand at the Black Earth location. What a wonderful way for over 25 Rotarians and friends and two dogs to welcome spring! Bob provided background on the 38 acre site in front of the Leopold Lodge that can be rented for camping trips, meetings,etc. An excellent location for our group photo too.
The site has wonderful hiking trails. We hiked the first loop, about 1.5 miles consisting of mature woods, and rocky outcroppings. This path had somewhat steep terrain that took us high in the treetops before winding down into the valley. Once at the bottom, Bob shared stories of several scouting troops who rent out the site to test for hiking badges and other camping adventures. We embarked on the second loop which was about 1 mile. This path was not as steep as the first and had a fire pit and council ring at the top.
Our hike concluded with a picnic lunch on the wooded deck of the Alexander Studio. The studio has high cathedral ceilings, a center stage and originally served as a rebirthing center in the early 1970’s.
It was a beautiful day and great location to kick off the hiking season. Bob invited us all to visit the Monona Aldo Leopold Nature Center later this summer.
–submitted by Andrea Kaminski; photos by Herman Baumann
The Rotary Hiking Fellowship enjoyed the snow at New Glarus Woods State Park on Sunday, November 16. We met near the picnic shelter, where a friendly park ranger made sure we all had daily or annual state park passes on our cars. He was very proud of his park, and he stopped to take a photo of the group before we headed off on the Havenridge Trail.
Equipped with printed park maps and multiple GPS devices, the consensus of the team was to simply follow the loop. According to Jeff Tews’ Fitbit, we hiked 4.3 miles and climbed the equivalent of 50 flights of stairs. After the trek, six of us went into New Glarus for a warm and tasty lunch at Kristi’s Bistro Cafe.
–submitted by Katie Ryan; photos by Herman Baumann, Karl Gutknecht & Susan Hunt
On Saturday, October 18, the Rotary Special Events Fellowship Group, Hiking Fellowship Group and Big Wheels Bicycling Fellowship Group and guests were invited to Frank and Mariana Weinhold’s beautiful 135-acre property, Louis’ Bluff. The farm was settled in 1847 and is one of the oldest in Juneau County. It includes 7000 feet of shoreline along the Wisconsin River and a spectacular rocky bluff that provides an incredible view. The October 8 Rotary speaker photojournalist Mike Kienitz went out to the site, which is about an hour and a quarter’s drive from Madison on the north side of the Wisconsin Dells, and captured the panorama with his camera-fitted drone.
You can watch his October 11, 2014, at the you tube video “DRONE IN THE DELLS“. Our hike was on the same sort of glorious, sunny fall day.
We gathered at the Weinhold’s house for a barbecue lunch and social time before heading out on hikes. There are flat routes past cultivated fields and through the oak and pine woods to the beaches and a steep climb up the rocky limestone bluffs. Most of the group of thirty headed up to the top. There’s an overlook to the north that juts out into the Wisconsin River and provides a stunning view of the formations caused by glacial outwash. The entire property is a private conservation area, and although you see some evidence of civilization, you’d never guess you were down the road from the amusements of the Dells. There is a reminder of the tourism history however, a 1954 cedar-log replica of the Fort Winnebago blockhouse from the Fort Dells amusement park relocated at Louis’ Bluff. It was dedicated in a traditional Ho-Chunk ceremony and there are headdresses from the Bear Clan on display inside.
Besides geological interest, the entire area is sacred to the Ho-Chunk nation. Melanie Tallmadge Sainz (left), a member of the Ho-Chunk nation whose family has a long history at the site, accompanied the hikers. At the top she explained the Native American significance of the area and played a beautiful melody on a cedar flute. She is director of the Little Eagle Arts Foundation. Another special viewing was an active eagle’s nest on the Weinhold’s bluff. The group reconvened at the house for pie and ice cream. The Weinholds opened their house, ice house, shed, beach-side gazebo and a cemetery for exploration. It was a spectacular fall day and a great excursion for the Rotary hiking fellowship.
Our thanks to Frank and Mariana Weinhold for their gracious hospitality and to Petie Rudy and Leigh Richardson of the Special Events Fellowship Group for organizing this event.
They began at the base of Wisconsin’s largest natural bridge, the anthropological site of the oldest residents of the Midwest, some 12,000 years ago. Our Rotary hikers meandered up and down the steep hills of deep forests, passing a high overlook, across a meadow–then finished in a field with sweet corn towering above their heads! A wonderful display of nature’s beauty and great fellowship. Following the hike, they shared a picnic lunch in Sauk City at August Derleth Park. Pictured in the photo from left are: Dean Nelson, Jackson Fonder, Ted DeDee, Gail DeDee, Jeff Bartell, Leigh Richardson, Suzanne Qualia and Angela Bartell. Our thanks to Suzanne Qualia for this photo and to Leigh Richardson for organizing this event.