Take a Hike: Sometimes, moms just need a break
By Lynn Zaritsky
Sometimes moms just need a break. These three short hikes, all with water features, are dedicated to moms needing to get the kids tired by the end of a long day, tired enough to fall asleep before mom herself does. The first two hikes are appropriate for steady walkers but not for stillshaky toddlers. The Hill Lake hike can accommodate children still learning to walk, if followed closely (this is a lake, after all) and carried as needed. Strollers are not recommended for any of the three hikes due to the landscape, which in some cases is too steep, rutted or rocky, or in other cases has a path that is either too narrow, or slopes sideways too much, risking a stroller overturning. Front and back packs, however, would work very well for a parent toting a baby or young child.
First up is the path winding around the lake at Palisades State Park. You can begin the hike, appropriately, at the playground in the Arapeen camping
area. The trailhead is just beyond the parking lot, next to the lake. There is more than one hike that takes off from the playground area, but the easiest is the one that stays right next to the lake. The first part of the hike goes through a lovely little forest. There are minnows trolling the shallow waters, visible from the path, and it’s not uncommon for the youngest hikers (the ones closest to the ground) to discover little lizards here and there. Put on sunscreen, though, because when you leave the forested area, there’s just sunshine above, which reflects on the lake back up to you. Be sure to say “hello” to the fisher-people along the shoreline as you make your way back to the campground on the opposite shore. Follow the paved road back to Arapeen where you started. The entire hike around the lake is just over 1 mile. A day pass into Palisades is $10 per car. Palisades is a rather popular destination, so if you’d prefer something off the beaten path, you might enjoy the rather long ride and short hike to Milky