exploring our amazing natural spaces

Outdoor Wisconsin Winter

Winter’s story

This time of year a walk in the woods shows what’s been going on during the winter months. The snow and ice tell stories of people and animals some in search of food others in search of fun.ice tracks big buck

Water garage

In days of old Wisconsin allowed boat houses at the shoreline and sometimes even on pilings IN THE LAKE as this grandfathered structure demonstrates. It’s the ultimate in fishing convenience just open the door and toss out your line!

Water garage Minocqua WI

Hit the beach

The sandy south shore of Lake Superior is made for long walks even during winter. A mild December has kept the big lake from freezing. If only we could get SOME sunshine, but then what would we have to complain about?

South shore near Superior WI

Smooth sailing

You need to work a little harder to get your glide on when the temps are below zero. All that extra effort however helps warm you up and before long you wish you’d left that one extra layer in the car.

smooth deck

Zero ain’t so bad

When you only have a few days to play you can’t let the negative temps keep you down. As the saying goes there’s no bad weather just bad clothes.

full day

It can’t all be outside

When it’s zero degrees outdoors I recommend a brisk hike to your favorite lakeside lodge for hot cocoa and some quality couch-time admiring the tree and reflecting on the year that was.

warmup in the lodge

O degrees and still paddling

If you ever questioned the insulating ability of down these swans, geese and ducks should squash any doubts. A group of 40-50 trumpeter swans takes what winter has to give at the mouth of the Willow and St Croix rivers near downtown Hudson Wisconsin.

swan song

swans by moonlightxposed swans

Belly power

In September I spotted a litter of North American river otter kits slinking through these woods from one small lake to another. Their mother had used an abandoned beaver lodge for their den. Based on these slide marks it looks like three of the kits are still hanging together using their back legs and belly to scoot through the snow toboggan style.

river otters


Picking up a few extra calories

With good snow on the ground and nights in the sub zero range woodpeckers like this Pileated work the suet cage stocking up on much needed fat calories to insulate against those cold winter nights.


Stocking up for winter

Up north we’ve had a few nights below zero freezing the lakes enough for winter activities like ice fishing and snowmobiling. This American red squirrel spent the morning running along the deck rail chasing nuthatch, grosbeaks and chickadees away from “his” stash of nuts and seeds.