Pay no attention to the lost hiker

Joe Schulz hikes along a paved trail at the Green Lake Conference Center. submitted photo

by Joe Schulz

The official first day of summer is June 21, but you could say that my summer started a month early.

For me, the summer began Monday, May 20 when some friends and I went hiking at the Green Lake Conference Center.

My junior year of college ended a few days prior, and I had just spent the weekend working at Kwik Trip, so in a lot of ways that day felt like my first official day as a reporter.

In between doing interviews and looking through pictures from the day, I sent a message to my friends asking if anyone wanted to drive to Green Lake and go hiking.

I didn’t really have a plan at the time; I was sitting at a table in the library facing a window and it was a beautiful day outside, and I just knew I wanted to go outside and enjoy the start of summer.

My friends Dante Florianschitz and Nick Wielgosz replied eager to do something on a Monday night to jump start the rest of the week. We met in Oshkosh when everyone was done with work.

There was one major flaw with our plan: it was nonexistent.

As we drove, my friends bickered about which radio station to listen to, while I flipped through the 2019 Green Lake Wisconsin Official Vacation and Travel Planner. I eventually found the Winnebago Trail Conservancy.

The magazine said that the trail when through the Green Lake Conference Center, so we set the GPS and were on our way.

We got to the conference center around 6 p.m. when another problem arose: we didn’t know where the trail connected to the conference center.

Passing endless golf holes on our way in my friends turned to me and said, “Joe, I thought you knew where we are going.”

To their credit, the magazine does note that the Green Lake Conservancy has a complete list of Green Lake Conservancy lands and maps on its website. I didn’t read that until the drive home after my phone had died.

We eventually parked, and the bickering about a lack of a plan continued.

Everyone was annoyed and irritable, but as soon as we got out of the car we flipped like a switch. The fresh air and nice weather had helped rejuvenate everyone.

The great outdoors and beauty of Green Lake overtook us, and we were off to adventure.

We explored the train car, Chapel Car Grace, and we even found a chin-up bar we used for a little competition.

We walked the leaf-covered hills far away from the golf courses in the distance; we explored a chapel in the pines path as well as a few others.

We never ended up finding the Winnebago Trail Conservancy, and even though we didn’t really have a plan, it was still a fun Monday night voyage.

After the two-hour long hike, we decided to sit by the lake, which is when I realized that my summer had finally started and that there were still many adventures yet to come.

I was done worrying about grades, at least for a couple of months, and I guess you could say I was finally living “the good life” out in Green Lake country.