I'm gonna miss the fall. This week I am having knee replacement surgery, in the heart of my favorite season. I won't be out on the trails or in the parks for a while. But, hopefully, come spring, I'll be feeling like new. It's been a long time coming, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to feel better, stronger. For the ability to hike more, and without so much pain.
So in recent weeks I've been out and about exploring some new (to me) spaces. I've no doubt they will be just as beautiful in fall as they were in late summer. I encourage you to check them out.
CALHOUN CREEK PRAIRIE - New Berlin
From Christmas tree farm to nature preserve, Calhoun Creek Prairie has been evolving for decades. Now, thanks to a partnership between the Waukesha County Land Conservancy, and the Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy, this fertile space is being returned to native prairie.
A walk along its perimeter will acquaint you with native plants like Goldenrod, Hoary Vervain, Wild Aster, and Joe Pye Weed, just to name a few. The prairie still features some of the farms evergreens, along with native trees like Black Walnut and Silky Dogwood. Expect fall colors here to be striking, at the least.
Located where Beloit Road and Calhoun Road meet, with limited parking on-site.
PETERSEN ISLAND WOODS PRESERVE - Elkhorn
One of several preserves maintained by Kettle Moraine Land Trust in the area, this 40-acre preserve at Lauderdale Lakes, north of Elkhorn, offers peaceful, lush, green, wooded trails, and plenty of bird life.
During my short walk here I saw several deer, and spotted Blue-jays, Robins, Goldfinches, Nuthatches, and an Eastern Wood Peewee.
Along the trail are felled, moss-laden trees, late season wildflowers, and wild native grasses. You can have a seat on the resident Leopold bench and take in the woodland view.
No doubt, autumn will bring plenty of color to these woods.
FOREST EXPLORATION CENTER - Wauwatosa
Surrounded by city life on all sides, the Forest Exploration Center is 60 acres of mature hardwood forest, and showcases one of the best lasting southern hardwood forests in southeastern Wisconsin. I recently made my first visit here, and it did not disappoint!
Originally founded in 2009, this woodland preserve features an all-accessible, one-mile, crushed gravel loop. It's made specifically for wheelchairs, foot traffic, and strollers. No bikes of any kind, please.
Along the trail you'll find educational signs with information on all things woodland - plants, flowers, trees, wildlife. Fall color should be spectacular here! Dogs are welcome here, though they must remain on-leash at all times.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.