Last month, my parents asked me if I had any interest in going on a candlelit hike with them in Kettle Moraine State Park. Of course I said yes, it sounded so intriguing. So this past Saturday, the time came to take the Metra train out to Fox Lake and, from there, drive the 30 minutes north to Kettle Moraine.
I love Wisconsin. Life seems simpler and more genuine there (yeah, I know, we are all watching “Making a Murderer”, but don’t let that ruin the whole state for you, ok?) After the sun set, which happened as we drove, the temperature dropped a good ten degrees. We bundled up in the car before going out to brave the icy weather for the hike. At the start of the trail, there was a small lodge, surrounded by candles that were nestled into cylinders of ice.
The lodge offered some respite from the cold as well as hot chocolate and other goodies. Around back, a bonfire burned, warming people’s fingers and lending some more light to the area. Just beyond the hot chocolate house was the trail head, which was lined with twinkling lights. The trail itself cut through the forest and was lined down the middle with candles in white paper bags. It was fairly dark along the trail, save for the light coming from the interspersed candles. The snow crunched beneath our feet and cross-country skiers whizzed by us, headlamps lighting their way.
One of my favorite things about getting out of the city and closer to nature is how crisp and clean the air is in the country. It smells so delicious, and I breathed as deeply as I could, despite the cold I was (and still am) sporting. About halfway through our walk, we came upon another bonfire, where we stood around to try and warm our freezing fingers. It seemed that all the other hikers and skiers were as happy to be there as we were and there was a nice sense of community, especially around the bonfires.
We moved on down the path and came to a little clearing in the trees where the half-moon shone brightly. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening and the candlelight added a whimsical touch. After about an hour’s walk, we reached the end of our hike. It really was a wonderful experience that I would absolutely recommend to anyone. The candlelit hikes go on through the end of February in different State Parks all across Wisconsin. You can find the complete schedule here.
After we left Kettle Moraine, we stopped by Holi Canoli in Elkhorn, WI. Their coal-fired pizza is so damn delicious. We had the Margherita pizza with prosciutto and kalamata olives paired with some Montepulciano wine. It was perfect. So, if you do find yourself catching one of the candlelit hikes in Wisconsin and it happens to be at Kettle Moraine State Park (the next one is on February 6), stop into Holi Canoli too, and you won’t be disappointed.
A big thank you to my parents for taking me along with them on what has become their yearly tradition. They are the original wanderlusters, and without their adventurous spirits I’d never be the travel-crazed woman I am today. So, thanks guys – for everything.