Wednesday, June 4, 2014

04June2014 - 36 scenic miles to the Devil's Staircase

Heading out this morning from the Clover Valley State Wildlife Area I came right through Lima Center which must have been an old train stop.  Made it through the night without getting wet but most of this morning was in misting rain and my shoes were quickly soaked by the tall grass on the trail to Lima.

The road walk section from here was actually very nice because it followed some water that had lots of large snapping turtles; several looked to be laying eggs alongside the road.  Passing through the Lima Marsh State Wildlife Area I soon turned off the roads and onto forested trails in the Storrs Lake State Wildlife Area.

Next the trail goes through the town of Milton and past the Milton House Museum, a historical site on the underground railroad.  Waited for the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad train to pass before continuing on past the Northleaf Winery and Bistro.  Sorry to say it wasn't open for the day yet.  From here the trail passed through several parks including straight through the middle of a neat Splash pad water park on it's way toward the Janesville segment.

Next a nice long wooded multi-use path where I encountered this neat carving of the Mammoth Ice Age Trail mascot right in the middle of the trail.  Lots of flowers along this section too.

At Woodcrest Park the IAT follows a spectacular paved multi-use bike trail for many miles.  It's a bikers dream trail from Briar Crest Park, along the Blackhawk Creek, then along the Rock River via Kiwanhis Pond and the Rotary Gardens.  From here it continues all along the waterfront on the Ice Age Way bike trail to Riverside Park and the Devil's Staricase.

Along the way I passed more turtles, many many wildflowers, and the winter site of the Burr Robbins Circus from 1874-1888.  Claims to be the third largest circus in America in it's day.

The paved Ice Age Way Bike Trail ends at Riverside Park and the trail heads into the Devil's Staircase up steep rock steps.  A wonderful rugged footpath follows along the Niagra Escarpment on rocky ledges and stone steps with views of the river below and ledges alongside.  Sections are narrow and steep; some with railings and cables to keep you from falling.  Very nice section.

Ending the day with about 36 miles of hiking by finding a campsite alongside the March Creek near Arbor Ridge and the Robert Cook Memorial Arboretum.

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