Outdoor Adventures 001: Wisconsin Dells
another segment I'd like to start is about enjoying the outdoors. We live in such a cool place in the Midwest that I'd really like to start enjoying the scenery and landscape near us. I've always been a fan of hiking and biking, but there's so much more this area has to offer. I can't wait to share my adventures with you!
This week's theme is nature. One of my favorite things about the Midwest is all the beautiful greenery. We have some wonderful places full of history and adventure right in our backyard. One of my favorites is the Wisconsin Dells, and not just because of the water parks and tourism but because of the beautiful landscape.
The above photo was taken on the Wisconsin River, and the bluffs next to it are made of a sandstone that’s found in only a few places in the world. It’s so pourous which is why trees can grow so close to the edges of cliffs; water permeates the stone allowing for proper hydration for plant life.
I just love the greenery in this area of the state. It’s so vibrant this time of year. Plus this area is full of history and for history buffs like us, we love learning while enjoying nature.
The first thing I’m learning is that if we have a day off together (which doesn’t happen much with our schedules), I love to take mini-adventures. Meaning that if there is something to do within driving distance (about 2 hours) where we can spend some time, I’m constantly bugging TJ to load up the car and make some memories.
One of my favorites is the Wisconsin Dells. I grew up making a camping trip here once a summer with my family and have so many wonderful memories of the place. While we normally spent a day at a budget water park and mini golfed, and the next day we spent at a bigger water park (Noah’s Ark or Mount Olympus), we also found time for a historical or nature based tour.
So needless to say, I have a soft spot for the Originals Ducks tour. I haven’t been on this specific tour since college, but my favorite company in the Dells has to be the Originals Ducks. They are across from Mount Olympus and it’s $30 per adult for about an hour ride. Tours usually leave every 15-20 minutes on weekends, so while you can purchase tickets ahead of time online (and save $3 per ticket), we opted to just show up. We ended up waiting just 5 minutes to get onto our tour boat and then the adventure began!
The tour starts on land and tells you about some of the history of the area, including who purchased some of the land the tour explores. The tour takes you through pines and a section called Fern Dell where the temperature drops nearly 10 degrees due to the lower elevation and extensive shade. That had to be my favorite part of the tour because the forest floor was covered in big, bright ferns.
Then the tour transitions to the water part of the excursion. Our tour guide did a wonderful job of explaining where the lifejackets were prior to the trip, how to access them, how to assist others in putting them on, and how to put on our own. At this point in the tour she reminded us where they were should they be needed in an emergency.
If driving through the beautiful ferns was my favorite part of the tour, this was a close second. Just take a look at that sandstone! The river was full of beautiful rock formations and mini gorges that showed such a beautiful and rich landscape.
What I liked best about this trip was the spontaneity. I’m not the best at just getting up and going. I like to have a plan. So for me, casually throwing the idea out a day or two prior and then just getting in the car was riveting.
I also like that I learned these mini outdoor adventures don’t take a lot of effort. TJ and I had a blast on this little 4 hour trip and we were happily home in our own bed the same day. I’m so happy we took the time to learn something, spend time in nature, and enjoy the outdoors.
So what are some of your get up and go tips? Do you have a location in your state that easily allows for a fun mini-adventure? If you’re in the Midwest, and close to the Great Lakes, I’d love to hear of some places you’ve traveled so we can add them to our list! Hope you find a fun mini-adventure for yourself this month too.
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