Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Our journey begins....

"Begins" is hardly the correct word. The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is a place we've visited, hiked, paddled and explored for many years. Every time we visit, we discover a new corner of this quintessential Driftless landscape.

Driftless? What's that? you might ask, particularly if you don't live in this part of Wisconsin. For unknown reasons, the area along the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota and far northwestern Illinois escaped the most recent glaciation. Other areas show remnants of glacial movements...moraines, eskers, piles of rock, all otherwise known geologically as "drift." No glacier, no drift. Driftless. From the standpoint of scenery, the difference is striking. Tall rugged limestone bluffs, cut deep by river systems and lacking in any true lakes are hallmarks of the region. This valley, created by the winding Kickapoo River, is a stunning example of this geological region.

This is the Driftless....rocky outcrops and bluffs, with trees clinging to the top.

While taking part in the annual Winterfest, visiting an ice cave on one of the guided hikes there, we discovered that a hiking challenge is being offered for 2016. Every time we visit, there's something new to discover; what better way to keep on that journey? While there are many marked trails, one of the many joys of this vast area is the freedom to wander....wherever. So throughout this next year, we plan to wander the Reserve in all seasons, looking forward to what we might find at each turn.

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