Photo essay: Badertscher Preserve in midsummer
July 22, 2020 | Topics: Places
By Eddee Daniel
Midsummer! It’s the black raspberries that really get to me. This is my first visit to Badertscher this year and I don’t remember the raspberries, but suddenly they are everywhere. I interrupt my hike every minute or so to pick and eat. Wild black raspberries are one of the things that makes midsummer sing and my spirit dance!
I don’t know about you but this time of year holds a special place in my heart. My love of the season predates all conscious memories of it. As a child the summer vacation felt like a vast, seemingly endless time of sunshine, seashores, and woodland explorations—even when the woodland was no larger than our suburban backyard. You knew it was mid-July when the wild black raspberries ripened and turned from bright red to rich black. They fell into your fingers as you touched them on the vine. They melted in your mouth with a burst of tart sweetness.
They do that today, here at Badertscher. This is a City of Muskego Preserve. Over a hundred acres of uplands, lowlands, wetlands, woodlands and prairie. A bit of everything nestled among the hills. I even discover—after eating my fill of raspberries—what appears to be an artesian spring, tapped and feeding a somnolent rill hidden deep in the tangled forest.
Actually, I never tire of eating the raspberries. But I can only stand in one place for a moment or so before the mosquitoes drive me off to another patch, having neglected to bring repellent.
My career in teaching—and consequently the continuance of summer vacations—reinforced my early impressions of summer. I referred to mid-July (in my mind) as “deep summer.” Equidistant from the end of the old year and beginning of the new. Long enough to have sloughed off all residual work anxieties, too soon to plan the coming year. And although it’s been years since I’ve had to think about a new school year, middle to late July still feels like “deep summer” to me.
A walk in the woods at Badertscher (or anywhere), among the raspberry bushes, helps. Vines loaded with ripe berries reach right out over the trail! Begging me to partake. But…I don’t want you to think black raspberries are the only attraction here. There are snakes as well! Or so I’m told. I don’t see any. However, the only other people I meet all afternoon are a man and his teenage son who are there trying to find snakes as part of a Waukesha County survey. They don’t find any this time either. It’s extremely hot and the reptiles are likely well underground today to avoid overheating.
There are plenty of ephemeral wildflowers as well. And the ever-present and magnificent oaks that grace a hilltop in a rare remnant savanna. Welcome to Badertscher! Don’t forget to stop and pick a few raspberries if they’re ripe…. And don’t forget the insect repellent. Oh, and you might need boots; the trail dips into marsh in places. Isn’t nature wonderful?!
For more about Badertscher Preserve click here.
Eddee Daniel is the Project Director for A Wealth of Nature and a board member of Preserve Our Parks.