Hi, I’m Ellen and this is Maxie. Welcome to Tails from the Trail!

I’ve had so many friends ask about my hikes, and I love to share the details so that they – and now you – can do it too! I started this blog to journal my hikes and share my explorations. Whether you are new to hiking or just looking to find a new trail, I’ll make it easy for you to decide on your next adventure. Here’s the other thing, I plan to have lots of fun sharing with you stuff that I’m experiencing “on the trail” … as well as “off the trail.” Because let’s face it, sometimes a day’s hike can lead you afterwards to some other kinds of fun, like a very cool Trail Community, brewery, coffee shop, conversation with a stranger … you just never know!

A little bit about me. I lived a few years in Montana and attended college in Boulder, CO … I guess that’s where I first started to appreciate the grandness of the mountains and the beauty of nature because how can you not be, when one is literally surrounded by this incredible outdoor playground (and I’m very lucky for that). Despite my access to a plethora of trails and wilderness that many dream about, I didn’t really start hiking until my 40’s. Yep, that’s right, I came to the hiking game a little later than some. But you know what, that makes my journey all the more relatable to many. I’m learning as I’m going and having a lot of fun doing it. In some ways, hiking has helped to reinvent a part of me … or give me a new purpose and perspective at this stage in my life …to be honest, I’m not really sure what the right words are. I guess, that’s what makes this kind of a journey for me. And, perhaps the best part, I’m not quite even sure where this journey is taking me!

Ok, fast forward to current day – I live in Whitefish Bay, WI just north of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. The lake offers parks and trails with beautiful bluffs and vistas. When I want to get into some woods, the Ice Age Trail is my go to. We are lucky to have a National Scenic Trail so close to us. The glaciers carved out so many geological features making every segment their own personality.

My husband Kurt has always been a true hiking enthusiast, but me…not so much. But, trips to visit my parents living in Arizona gave us some prime trails to explore on vacation and I loved the accomplishment of hiking a mountain. The fall in Wisconsin is spectacular with the colors, and as result, it became a driving factor behind what would become a new fall hiking tradition (always followed by finding a local apple orchard). The past several summers has involved cross-country family road trips that consist of hiking by day and enjoying some great local brews by night (and sodas for the kids). From the Rocky Mountains to the Black Hills to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the perfect day consists of a day hike, then exploring the town and hitting a local brewery.

So, what else? I have two great kids … and between normal kid stuff (school, playing LOTS of soccer year round) … it makes for some pretty busy weekends. Did I say I have two kids … it’s really three, if you include Maxie. That’s right, enter Maxie, our rescue pup. We adopted Maxie in early 2019, and as a result, that summer we started taking her to many local parks in the Milwaukee area. Some of these spots we’d been to, others were new … but it was a rediscovery in a way, as we were now seeing and experiencing all of these places through our pup’s eyes!

Then came 2020, and with it the pandemic! And like many, the fears, anxiety and overall stress started to take its toll physically and mentally. My ritual summer escapes from the crazy were now on ice. No summer road trip. How do you get that feeling of adventure or trying new coffee houses, craft breweries and restaurants? With no kids’ soccer games this spring, my husband and I started to pour ourselves into the full exploration of all the beauty, wilderness, trails and overall escape that our own “backyard” of Wisconsin had to offer. It was always there waiting for me to experience (I just wasn’t fully awake to it). And, that my friends, is where my true hiking passion began (I mean truly started, as in it became a part of my DNA). It’s also where the genuine inspiration for this blog begins.

Tails from the Trail has my stories about local trails here in SE Wisconsin (and some here and there throughout other parts of the Badger state). And, don’t be surprised if I journal some of my adventures that extend even further beyond Sconnie state lines … like I said, we like to road trip across the country! I’ll have tips on local coffee shops, breweries and restaurants for an after hike reward. I’ll also provide tips I have learned along the way!

This is going to be fun and I can’t wait to share my “Tails from the Trail.”


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