We all are a gift. The world is a better place when we share our gifts with one another and life wouldn’t exist well without our combined contributions.
There is a group of volunteers who continue to dedicate time and effort to protect the equestrian trails and lands of the Caledonia Conservancy in northern Racine County. These green spaces have been gifted by local land owners and maintained by volunteers. It’s woodlands and trails are a string of well loved hidden gems in the middle of the bustling activity of daily life.
On their website you will find links to the map of all locations as well as trail maps of some of the hiking areas. Also you’ll find important information on the rules of their trails and the history of the conservancy.
There are a couple of important things to keep in mind while exploring these green spaces. One is that there are a lot of equestrians who use these trails which is really cool if you like horses, but it’s important to let them know you are a safe traveler. Simply greet them verbally with a hello and something about the weather and they will know you are ok to pass.
The other note is that these lands run between and past private property. Be respectful of the owners space. There are signs denoting much of the ownership of the lands, but not always. It’s better to stay on the trails and admire the beautiful farmland and neighboring woods from a distance.
My favorite space in the collection is the Trout Ponds Prairie accessed on 4 mile road via the gravel parking lot a step or two west of HWY 31. I think there are no trout to be had, but I like to believe at one time, before television and computer games, there were kids from the local farms idly whiling away the summer afternoons with fishing poles in hand and cooling off with a rope swing into the cooling waters.
The trails of the Trout Ponds let you wander around several seemingly spring filled ponds, wind through and around a tall prairie then weave into wooded areas along the Root River with bright green grasses and seemingly ancient trees. When you get to the river sit and contemplate the rich history of the area you are being given the freedom to roam. There is a horse trail winding through this space, but the only animals I came across were some ducks who I surprised walking around a large tree and a deer on the other side of the river.
I also fell in love with the trail named, Ehrlich Right of Way, running from 5 mile road to 6 mile road. It’s a short trail but it’s a great one. It connects on 5 mile road to the Neubauer Easement which are both part of the old North Shore Railroad right -of-way. The earth is packed well so the trail is relatively dry even in wet weather. In the Neubauer Easment I found a large amount of deer hoof marks. It looks like it might be a thoroughfare from field to field and a good place to sit patiently waiting for a sighting.
On 5 mile road you’ll find Kings Corner. This is a lovely little break from the craziness of life. It is part woods, new and old, part prairie and I’d guess old farm land with fruit trees. It is inhabited by much wildlife, several rabbits, deer and countless birds including a hawk. I even saw a black cat hunting through the underbrush!
/imageThe trail here has a few interesting surprises. A picnic table placed under a group of large pine trees with a chess table and stools made from tree stumps. In the prairie a bit of educational interest. It’s a fun place to walk around with the kids and maybe have a picnic in the woods.
The other land parcels include Tabor Woods located on Tabor road west of HWY 31 between 5 and 6 mile roads. Also the Neighborhood Central Walk on 4 1/2 mile road east of HWY32.
After hiking stop at the local coffee shop for refreshments and a snack. Then drive the long way home and drive around Caledonia to take in the gorgeous landscape of this area. It is ripe with beautiful farms, interesting history and a lot of horses.