Wednesday, May 28, 2014

26May2014 - Forestville Dam to Krohn's Lake

Dale and I were able to squeeze in another section of the Ice Age Trail as soon as I got back from my Memorial Day weekend bike-camping trip.  While it’s not the PCT; I continue to be amazed at how wonderful the IAT has been so far.   

Things got interesting right from the start as I bent down to get a better look at something odd looking on the side of the trail.  Boy was I startled when I found out it was a mother turkey.  Check out the catch of eggs in her nest.  

Picking up the trail at Forestville Dam we followed alongside the Ahnapee River, through Blahnik Park, past two trailside campgrounds and into the coastal town of Algoma. There are many informational signs along this rails-to-trails corridor that give the history of the railway, major accidents, harsh winter conditions, and other historical information about the area. 

Back in-the-day they would even use old worn-out train boilers to create culverts to bridge small streams along the railway.  

Lots to see including plenty of birds, mushrooms, fungus covered trees and stumps, and lots of wild flowers mostly white and purple trillium, bluettes, and marsh marigold.  Even found a robin’s egg.  Those that know me also know it's all about the food and the wild mustard greens and dandelions didn't go un-noticed.  On last Friday’s Fish-fry bike ride some friends had pictures of morel mushrooms that they had found.  Dale and I kept our eyes open and it paid off.

Crossing Silver Creek we hiked into the coastal fishing town of Algoma on back streets with views of an old church on bluff above the town.  I was surprised by the moist cold air that hit us as we rounded the mouth of the Anhapee River where it meets Lake Michigan.  Our short town walk included a stop at Bearcats Fish House; a famous fish shack.  Next we passed the von Stiehl Winery, Anhapee Brewery, public harbor and fishing boat landing, and the lighthouse at the mouth of Anhapee River.  

We had to stop to sample an Anhapee Brewery Noble IPA. These town beer stops are starting to look like a major feature of the Ice Age Trail!

From Algoma the trail follows closely along Lake Michigan on a series of boardwalks beside the sandy beach front.  A very scenic waterfront.

From Algoma the trail is an unofficial and unmarked route.  As we left the coast line on side roads we took a planned 1.3 mile detour over to Krohn’s Lake where we had staged a car to end our day.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

11May2014- Ice Age Trail - Potawanimi State Park

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a nearly 1,200 mile long hiking trail located entirely within Wisconsin.  It is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the country.  The trail roughly follows the location of the terminal moraine from the last Ice Age.

Today my friend Dale and I started out on 20 mile day hike to kick off the start of our attempts to section hike the entire Ice Age Trail.   We started at the Eastern Terminus which is located in the Potawatomi State Park on Sturgeon Bay.  The trail starts at the foot of the parks 75-foot observation tower; situated atop a 150-foot dolomite bluff with views of Sturgeon Bay.  From the tower our hiking continues along the shoreline of Sturgeon Bay and among the bedrock outcrops of the Niagara Escarpment. 

Exiting Potawatomi State Park we followed a well-blazed street route through the historic shipbuilding town of Sturgeon Bay.  Wonderful views of the bay from Bayview Park and then along Sturgeon Bay Canal where we saw the remains of an old freighter poking out of the water.   
As we passed by an Irish Pub we had to stop for a beer.  Next we made our way to the Ahnapee State Trail, which as a multi-use rail-trail on the route of the old Ahnappee & Western Railroad.  From here the trail passes through farmland, meadows, grasslands and wooded lots.  Hiking passed Maplewood Swamp the water level comes within inches of the trail and the air is filled with the sounds of peepers. 

At mile 13 we transitioned from the Sturgeon Bay segment to the Forestville Segment where the Ice Age Trail/Ahnapee State Trail continues to Forestville Dam County Park.  Lots of wildlife including signs of fox dens, coyote prints,  a dead deer, a porcupine, lots of animal bones, and many many colorful birds.  We had staged a car at the Dam and this completes day one of our Ice Age Trail Adventure of about 20 miles. 

I am hoping to continue 1-3 day section hikes this spring through the fall with a goal to complete an end-to-end traverse of the Ice Age Trail this year.  Next up the trail follows along the Ahnapee River with several bridge crossings.