The hike began at East Pointe shopping center, located at Ogden and Jefferson, on the east side of Milwaukee. The weather was brisk and somewhat snowy, but perfectly acceptable for a nice hike. We headed north from the stores and commenced some very interesting treks through the Milwaukee River valley. The first hike segment took us through the Brewer's Hill neighborhood and the back areas of the river valley. To reach Brewer's Hill we ascended a four-story staircase rising from Commerce Street up to Brady Street. Other ascents proved equally challenging, especially with the amount of snow present on the ground. Some slips could not be helped, but the snow made the falls soft, if not wet. The hike route took our group around the old North Ave. dam site area. This part of the hike featured an exciting ascent up a steep bluff to get back into the lower East side streets. It was generally agreed that this was one of the club's better "Kodak moments" (but unfortunately no one had a camera along!).
After passing through Brady Street and witnessing the remarkable rebuilding of this district, we meandered through the Lower East Side, with its marvelous assortment of architecture. This included a walk past an organ manufacturer's shop which we were encouraged to visit. Our hike leader had hoped to tour it during the hike, but the owners were out, doing a house call on a sick organ in town. We also had the privilege of discovering Wolski's, that legendary tavern of bumper sticker fame. No, we did not stop (it was closed). Next we headed down Lafayette Hill and wound our way back up again via the trails in Lake Park. It appears that the club is getting better known since a couple of folks we passed, when informed of who we represented, remarked that they had heard of us and would possibly be attending hikes in the future. This portends well for new membership!!
After a stop at the Lake Park Pavilion, we made our way back down to the lakefront for a very interesting tour of the Milwaukee Water Treatment Plant. This tour had been pre-arranged by our esteemed hike leader. The tour guide, the manager of Water Quality, gave us a most informative and friendly tour of the plant. This included observing the flushing of the water filtration pools and an examination of the ozone treatment building. This latter feature of the system is a recent addition and was an outcome of the Cryptosporidium outbreak of 1993. As a result of the addition of ozone treatment, the guide claimed that Milwaukee has the best water quality in the nation.
The hike concluded with a brisk walk down Lake Drive to the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Schooner Construction site and a return trip back to Ogden St. and our cars. Many thanks to Peter Slaby for his imaginative hike. It was challenging and informative at the same time, no mean feat. Equally as many thanks to the congenial members of this trek who provided the usual mix of happy hikers that I have come to prize.