Jumping ahead to the end of the southern Kettle Moraine State Forest for a solo 3-day hike of the Rock County Segment of the IAT. I'm planning on continuing two threads this summer; one with Dale from the eastern terminus and the second, from here west. This way I can still hike with Dale and continue longer sections at the same time..
To make the logistics work I made arrangements with the campground host at the Kettle Moraine East Campground to store my bike. Leaving the smurf mobile at start of the Albany Wisconsin section I road my bike the 42 miles back to Whitewater Lake Recreation Area in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. After leaving my bike with the campground host I was on trail by 6pm.
Great beginnings! On my first step onto the Ice Age trail I encountered a sign for a Scenic View. The Whitewater Lake Segment was a nice section of trail with wildflowers, green forest, and wonderful bog bridges. Very nice trail out of the Kettle.
From here I followed a series of back roads with more flowers, woods, fields and farms. Very pretty area making the road walk pleasant. Soon I came to the "Flowing Well". Dug by hand in 1895 it was been flowing steadily since and made for a nice stop and water resupply.
Following dirt roads past another farm I noticed a cow in severe distress laying on the ground. Groaning in pain the other cows started herding around her and I was worried she was dying. I jumped the barbed wire fence and was planning on hiking across the field to a farm house to warn the rancher but the cow looked to be in such distress that I decided I didn't have time and went closer to see if I could help. To my surprise the cow got up and immediately gave birth to a baby calf right in front of me. Wow, that was unexpected. I watched as the mother licked the baby clean and then noticed I was making the other cows uncomfortable and got my butt out of the field. Some excitement for the start of my hike!
I ended the day entering the Clover Valley Segment where the Ice Age Trail followed an overgrown pathway through mushroom laden forest and bog bridges. Finding a quiet spot to camp tonight. Not a bad little 8-mile hike considering all the logistics to get onto the trail today. Did not pass any brew pubs this day so I took my queue from the famous "Whiskey Gang" and had a little after dinner sip.