I like to have my blog posted on Thursday or early Friday so that you have if you are interested in one of my finds, you have time to plan your weekend. I apologize for this late post, I had too many things runny around in my brain this week and time got away from me before I saw it leaving.
With that out of the way, I want to tell you about a little, slightly hidden, green space not far from my home. To be truthful, there are many, but this particular park is special. It is partly groomed with a large paved parking lot and an awesome all accessible playground for children of all abilities plus a pavilion to rent with many tables and space for a party. It is a lovely little park for when you need a quick nature fix.
Franklin Woods is located at 3723 Puetz road in Franklin, Wisconsin. It is a short drive west from 27th street in the middle of a suburban neighborhood where time seems to be still and quiet is the norm.
As noted, there is the all inclusive playground and you can read about it and the young girl it is named for on the plaques around the playground or in the provided link below.
On the day of my visit we were in the acceptance stage of a month long snow drop. I haven’t seen this much snow in southeastern Wisconsin for many years and even then it was here for a much shorter time. The winter season of 2021 was one of the snowiest I remember in my time this far on the planet. With this in mind, note that I was not blessed with seeing wildlife as much as I saw the evidence of their existence left in the snow.
The park contains a gravel path that circles around a small wetland area complete with an assortment of creatures. I saw deer tracks leading in to the wetland and in skirting around I found their exit. I also saw some other animal prints, rabbit, fox and other species I am not sure of, one set of large cat like prints caused extremely curiosity. I could hear the sounds of other living beings in the reeds and tall grasses, but what they were, I cannot tell.
I did see a number of birds, most were sparrows and other small winter visitors, but I was also privy to a show of intense red as a male cardinal flew across my path settling in shrub to flirt with me for a few minutes and to show off his brilliant colors.
I’m pretty certain I saw a bluejay near at the time but he kept his distance and flew fast away before I was sure he was there. When I looked up in the clear bright winter blue sky I caught sight of a pair of soaring white birds, definitely not the ever present gulls, with a large wingspan and full round body. They were too far away to know without binoculars wether they were hawk or possibly owls, but certainly their quiet grace and strength was evident as I watched them disappear toward the horizon. After an internet search I was unable to rule out either as both have been seen in the area often throughout winter.
The other half of the park brings the trail through a section of old woods. I believe the trail is gravel under the snow to make for a nice meander through a healthy natural space, but as noted above, the snow was too deep and plentiful to know with my own eyes.
As the trails were groomed by many previous hikers, and I would have been ok without my snowshoes, but I’m glad that I wore them for the times I needed to step off the path where the snow was knee deep and occasionally closer to my hips. The park being surrounded by suburban homes means that a number of residents have the wooded park as a backdrop to their yards. The lucky souls have instant access to a forest!
Throughout the woods I found a good amount of deer tracks along with the obligatory dog prints running in circles around the deer residue. With the amount of tracks, could see that the woods were well used by both deer and neighbors alike but in the time I was there I only came across one resident and her kindly bearlike dog. It was a serenely peaceful experience.
I look forward to a return to see the park in the spring and summer when the seasonal birds will return in abundance and the sun swept wildflowers sweeten the breeze. I passed a Bluebird house, one for the Northern Flicker and several others, so I’d guess that it will be a lively place in a couple of months. I am looking forward to warmer days allowing the time to sit outside on a bench just to watch natures creatures go about their daily business enlightening us with their presence.
Until then, I have a yard to look out on the squirrels and feeders with visiting sparrows and finches in winter color with signs of change becoming ever more present as the snow begins to recede.
In regards to a dollar short, I see gas prices rising and my car is in need of some repair, if you have a little extra cash this month, please donate to keep me moving on down the road by using the button at the bottom of any of my posts. If you don’t have any extra, I am, at the very least, glad that I can share my stories of travel, photos and warm meaning insight with you.
Peace and serenity,
P.S. Here are some other little green spaces to explore that might be in your neighborhood!
Hawthorn Hollow Arboretum 880 Green Bay Road, Kenosha, Wisconsin, across highway 31 from Petrifying Springs park
Abendschein park 1321 E. Drexel, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Cudahy Nature Preserve 501 E. College Ave, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Whitnall Park 5879 S. 92nd street, Franklin, Wisconsin
Hawthorn Glen 1130 N. 60th street, Milwaukee, connected to Hart Park to the west.
Lincoln Park 1301 West Hampton ave, Glendale, Wisconsin
Schlitz Audubon Center 1111 East Brown Deer road, Bayside, Wisconsin, connected to Doctors park.
Lions Den Gorge 511 High Bluff drive, Grafton, Wisconsin (Usually closed in winter due to the danger of icy bluff trails.)