We were greeted in the Chippewa Valley by a beautiful, blustery fall day! The wind was blowing and we could feel the bite of winter just barely starting to set in, but it was great to be out and about, enjoying the beauty of fall in Wisconsin.
A small group of locals and I bundled up, and set out to walk a portion of one of the best trails in the area, the Old Abe State Trail. In its entirety, the trail connects two state parks, Lake Wissota State Park in Chippewa Falls where we started, and Brunet Island State Park, 19.5 miles to the north in Cornell. Our walk was led by Cameron Bump, the Northwest Parks Distrcit Trail Coordinator for the DNR, and Mike Dahlby, the County Forest Administrator for Chippewa County. They shared with us how this trail was formerly an old railroad, and has since been developed into a multi-use trail for walkers and bicyclists, and is even used for snowmobiling and horseback riding! It was great to hear that Wisconsin is among the top five states in the nation for repurposing old railroad grade into new, multi-purpose trails that can be enjoyed for outdoor activity!
I hope you’ll take a look at the photos posted from this walk – although some of the fall colors had already come and gone, the contrast of the remaining red leaves against the greenery was quite stunning.
As always, my favorite part of these walks is the chance to just chat and visit with the locals who come out to join me. For example, I met Judy, Jordan, and Tammy Gilles, whose family has been on their land since the 1850s! Judy told me about their family-owned business, Cabin Ridge Rides in Cadott, WI, where they offer stage coach rides all year. I hope to make it up there sometime to take a ride myself, and possibly enjoy a sleigh ride when the snow starts falling!
I’d like to give a special thanks to the Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce and their Tourism Director Allyson Gommer for hosting the walk, and, St. Joseph’s Hospital for their support and especially for providing pedometers!