Since moving to Land O’ Lakes full time, I’ve taken the opportunity to explore some of the hiking and walking trails hidden in the northwoods. Winter is often the most sedentary time of year for people, but February is American Heart month--- and one of the best things you can do for your heart is to do some kind of exercise several times a week. Walking and hiking is a great way to do this--- make sure to wear shoes with good traction. If you tend to not be the most coordinated in the snow, I’d recommend checking out a pair of Yaktrax or a similar brand to improve the traction under your shoes. Recent studies show spending 20-30 minutes in nature walking or even sitting actually reduces stress in your body by lowering the hormone cortisol. Decreasing stress is also linked to decreasing risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol, plaque buildup, and more. So take that “nature pill” -- your heart will thank you.
Most of the hikes my wife and I have gone on have been ones that people in the community have told us we have to check out! We started with the renowned Bond Falls which provides some picturesque views along with a beginner hike for all ages. We’ve visited in the spring and summer but have never ventured over there in the winter until now. It’s invigorating to hear the rushing water and breathe in the cool crisp air. Our next adventure was the trail leading to the O Kun-de-kun falls. This was definitely a longer hike but the whole trail was packed down nicely. The day we made it out there, the falls were completely frozen over but the views along the way were splendid. The silence of the woods was refreshing and brought a sense of calm that we all could benefit from.
My favorite hike so far was Star Lake Nature Trail- we took the loop that mostly stayed around the lake. We were surrounded by countless red pine trees and in those moments it made me feel so small. I enjoyed that this trail was a loop- so the entire hike was different. While trying to find more fun trails in the area, I downloaded the app “Map It Vilas Co”--- in doing so, I found my wife and I’s next adventure. We’re going to head to Heart Lake Trail for Valentine’s Day (how cheesy lol). The phone app is cool because it lists a ton of trails in Vilas County and gives you tips on how to find the trail and where to park. (This is especially helpful if someone hasn’t told you about the trail in person. Sometimes these trails really are hidden- but I’m sure those are some of the best trails to hike). The app also tells you how long the trail is and different things to expect like if dogs are allowed on the trail or not.
If you have a favorite hiking trail or secret nature spot, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know! I’ll add it to our list of must go places.