Most everything is a bit more visible when backdropped with fresh powder.
Or, maybe it’s a matter of perspective. All of the usual wintertime suspects were here, albeit somewhat invisible. But snow where there previously was none (or very little) makes it all stand out a little better, gives it more clarity.
Yes, the out-of-doors is back on the radar in Wisconsin.
Just in time for a new year (and a host of new year-related outdoors events), a storm reportedly dropped 2-10 inches of snow across the state earlier this week, with the brunt of the snowfall across central and northeastern Wisconsin.
That’s good news for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers and wildlife watchers in the state.
And a number of happenings scheduled across Wisconsin this weekend and beyond.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the lack of snow threatened to alter a slew of candlelight events scheduled across the state. While many of the events in the series allow for hiking, most were touted as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing events. Without the snow, the events would have been limited to hiking only. And like similar happenings across the Northland, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are the draw. Well, that and the candlelight vibe. The experience of traveling snow-covered trails lined with luminaries in the otherwise dark of night is a rush.
Now, the candlelight series will kick off with snowy trails Jan. 2 at Blue Mound State Park on the Dane-Iowa county border and Mirror Lake State Park near Lake Delton. And First Day Hikes — 10 are slated across the state Jan. 1 — were scheduled mostly as, well, hikes. But some were promoted as snowshoeing events as well. So here, too, it’s all better with snow.
Also, as of Thursday, about a half-dozen counties in far northern Wisconsin were able to open or partially open snowmobile trails, according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Snow Conditions Report. Still, most areas were reporting conditions as poor to fair, with mostly fair conditions in Vilas and Iron counties.
The snow also should help archers track and better see deer — the archery and crossbow deer season is open until Jan. 3.
Also on the wildlife front, according to the DNR, bald eagles are congregating around the Bay of Green Bay and most of the elk bulls have separated from the cow/calf herds and are in bachelor groups, likely until late August. And, according to the DNR, the weasel population appears strong. Lots of tracks, the agency said. But without snow, who would know?
Also under a canopy of snow, the DNR said bird feeders are abuzz with a colorful mix of woodpeckers and winter birds: chickadees, nuthatches, gold finches, cardinals, blue jays and juncos and red-headed, pileated, downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers.
The snow, however, could be an issue for ice anglers. Many northern lakes have refrozen, but with the new snowfall, ice conditions remain highly variable, according to the DNR. Anglers are reporting up to 5 inches of ice in some spots, and those going out are finding fish, the DNR said, adding that anglers are targeting walleye or northern pike on the Bay of Green Bay, and some tributaries are seeing activity.
Still, the agency urges caution: Trout Lake in Vilas County still had open water this week, and most lakes in central and southern Wisconsin remain open.
Now, let it freeze, let it freeze, let it freeze.