Go Claire

Mount Simon

FRESH+AIR%3A+Scenic+Mount+Simon+is+nestled+in+an+area+of+Eau+Claire+that%27s+easy+or+students+to+overlook.+For+that+reason%2C+the+park+can+be+a+nice+escape+from+campus+life.+%C2%A9+2014+Courtney+Kueppers

FRESH AIR: Scenic Mount Simon is nestled in an area of Eau Claire that's easy or students to overlook. For that reason, the park can be a nice escape from campus life. © 2014 Courtney Kueppers

Story by Courtney Kueppers, Copy Editor

You can’t go very far in Eau Claire without going up a hill or over a bridge. On campus alone, we are accustomed to freezing walks over the bridge and hikes up the hill. One hill worth the trek is Mount Simon.

Squeezed in an old part of town by Dells Pond, a little off the beaten path, Mount Simon offers a vantage point second to none in Eau Claire.

In the summer, Mount Simon park offers a disc golf course, sand volleyball courts, swimming, baseball fields and of course cliff jumping but this time of year it’s just a nice opportunity for a scenic hike.

Sunday afternoon I made my first move up Mount Simon. The clear day offered me a view that made me want to exclaim, “I’m queen of the world!” OK, I might have done that.

Since the world is frozen and the trees are bare this time of year, it allows you to see for what feels like miles and miles — a view that I’m guessing could be beat only by Mount Simon in the fall when the leaves are changing. I am definitely putting visit Mount Simon during each season on my Eau Claire bucket list.

Sticking to the common theme in my life that I rarely wear the right footwear for any given occasion, I highly recommend shoes that have some traction if you head out to the park. It seems pretty obvious for a trek uphill in patted down snow that is melting, but somehow I managed to wear horrible footwear, good only for sliding downhill when returning to the bottom. Which turned out to be pretty entertaining anyway.

It’s not a hard climb meant to be exclusive for experienced hikers, so it’s worth checking out. At a leisurely pace it only takes about 10 minutes to reach the summit.

On a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon Mount Simon was the perfect mini-adventure. It’s an opportunity to get out and do something cool without leaving Eau Claire.

As a firm believer that some time in the woods is good for you, it was refreshing to get away for a bit. At the top it’s you, nature and the assortment of empty beer cans left behind by other visitors.

As the season changes, and temperatures rise, I encourage you to grab some pals and head to this local hidden gem, whether it is for few minutes or for an afternoon of adventuring.