Wednesday, October 15, 2014

15Oct2014 - Prairie River Crossing and Lookout Mountain Fire Tower

Lots of ups and downs today as I passed through the rest of the Highland Lakes segment and into the Parrish Hills Segment.  The trail traverses the Parrish End Moraine winding through hilly terrain and in and out of wetlands taking advantage of beaver dams and narrow ridges between wetlands.  Lots of wet crossings and flooded sections so I had wet feet all day.

Lots of wildlife including sightings of deer, grouse, turkey, squirrels and lots of signs of porcupines and beavers.   Lunch and a chance to dry my feet at a small wooden Adirondack-style shelter in a grassy field.

After lunch I came to the Prairie River crossing.  The bank was flooding over onto the trail as I came to the rivers edge.  Entering the water it quickly rose above my knees than almost to my hip belt.  Fortuitously the bottom was flat and it didn't get deeper as I crossed but I was worried until I made the other side.

 Next up the Harrison Hills Segment which really shows the topology of the Harrison Moraine.  Deep kettles and high relief hummocks of glacial till and sediments from mudflows and slides as the glacier came to a stop, and lots of lakes.  There were two nice fishing campsites around Chain Lake.  

Lookout Mountain, the highest point on the Ice Age Trail at 1,920 feet, was the highlight of this section.
On the climb up to the fire tower I met my first thru/section hiker.  The views from the fire tower were excellent.  No sign of the thriving wolf pack that lives in this area.

From here I passed many beautiful undeveloped lakes that are all uniquely shaped by the irregular ice chunks that broke from the glacier that formed them.  Lots of signs of beaver.  I found a nice campsite for the night beside a lake. 

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