Wednesday, May 3, 2017

April 24, 2017 - TISCH Mills to Mishicot

Back on the Ice Age Trail for a quick 24 mile section hike. Between consulting, renovating the church/cabin and skiing, biking, and travel it’s been some time since I’ve made progress on the IAT.

Today I staged a bike in Mishicot and started out from Sheila’s bar, hiking the road walk connector to the TISCH Mills Segment. Next another road walk to the new east Twin River Segment, and down into the Mishicot Segment.

Passed by two camp sites.  The one in Tisch Mills is the spot I camped on my first roadbike camping trip.  The second camp spot is on the new East Twin River segment.  Lots of ramp onions and wildlife today along with lots of historic buildings today.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nov 15, 2014 - Kewaunee River/Casco Jct to Shelia's II Bar

Cold and brisk for Saturdays day hike with Dale and Sybille.  The three of us started out from the hunters parking lot at Buzz Besadny State Fish and Wildlife Area where we did a short bushwhack over to the Anapee trail which we followed to the end of the Kewaunee River segment of the Ice Age Trail.

From here we started the days roadwalk connector hike.  The temperature was in the low 20's and pleasant as long as we weren't walking into the wind.   As we crossed the bridge over Scarboro Creek you could see ice sculptures starting to form on the banks.

The trail skirts the Buzz Wildlife area on a zigzag of roads but someday they hope to move the trail into the wildlife area.  Still for a road walk there is an interesting mix of farm fields, rolling hills, old barns, horses and cows and even some old apple trees.  Dale braved the late frost tasting a couple of the apples but from his expression I suspect they were well past edible and partly frozen.

The last part of our hike follows parts of the Stangelville Wine/Cheese/Meat Trail that includes the Parallel 44 winery.  We also passed the Reinke Mill still standing from the 1800's and a Rogation Shrine before finishing up at Sheila's II bar where the locals welcomed us with a few beers! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Nov 14, 2014 - Kewaunee River to Casco Junction

Friday I did a quick solo there-and-back hike of the Ice Age Trail Kewaunee River Segment from Route C to Casco Junction which is on the Ahnapee Trail.  A nice section that passes through the Buzz Besadny State Fish and Wildlife Area.  You could hear the sounds of pheasant hunters in the distance.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oct 26, 2014 - Silver Creek

In the morning we had a nice fireside breakfast of eggs with potatoes and left over brats.  Sybille left me off near shelter 1 so I continue south on the Milwaukee River segment while she drove to the end of the West Bend segment and road her bike to meet me at the north end of the Southern Kewaskum segment.

The trail traveled through the middle of corn fields, farms and on the ridgeline in a treed band between farmland, crossed marsh areas on wonderful boardwalks, and then dropped down to cross under route 45 through a tunnel.

At Sunburst Ski Hill I lost the way.  The last marker I could find pointed up the ski slopes and I could find nothing going off to the far west as I had expected.  Finally I made the assumption that I had to climb the ski run but never found a marker.  At the top I searched until I found a white blazed trail which I took back to the west and finally crossed the Ice Age Trail not far from where the whole search started.  Back on trail it turned into a nice section, followed by a short road walk to where Sybille met me on her bike.

From here the Kewaskum and West Bend segments travel through the Glacial Blue Hills Rec area, Albecker Natural area, and Ridge Run County park.  The trail follows along the Silver Creek with boardwalks and a major bridge crossing of the Silver Creek and around Lucas Lake and past an artesian water well.  The trail segments ends in a wonderful well used wooded pathway after Lucas Lake.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 - Mushroom hunting in the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest

Sybille and I head headed down to the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest this weekend to hike another 30 miles of the Ice Age Trail.   Couldn't secure a reservation for the Ice Age Trail shelters so we joined the Fox Cities Backpacker Meetup Group Friday night to camp at shelter 5.   Nice dinner of German bratwurst by the campfire.  

On Saturday morning we secured a campsite at Mauthe Lake where we stashed a bike and then drove to near Shelter 1 where we hiked north on the Milwaukee River segment of the trail through Washington and Fond du Lac county.  The trail follows along a mix of kettles, eskers, drumlins and glacier-formed kames.  A wonderland of glacier topology.  Lots of mushroom finds including some boletus, honey and hen of the woods.  We collected some boletus mushrooms to add to our dinner menu. 

At Mauthe Lake Sybille rode the bike back to the car as I continued on into the Parnell segment to Shelter 3 where we left off on our last backpack in the Kettle Moraine. 

We spent the night car camping on this great campsite on the top of a hill overlooking the campground and Mauthe Lake.  You could see all the lights from the Halloween decorations around the campground as we enjoyed a campfire and stir fry dinner with our mushroom find. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

16Oct2014 - Alta Junction and Underdown Segments on the way to Tug Lake

The next section is the Alta Junction segment named after the junction of two rail lines at the village of Dunfield (now a ghost town).  Following an old 1908 logging rail grade I found remains from the rail line.  

The final wooded section for the day was through the Underdown segment which is part of a popular recreation area with hiking, mountain bike, equestrian and cross-country ski, snowshoe, and snowmobile trails.  Had to really pay attention to the blazes and missed two or three turns that required backtracking.  The Underdown area is part of the Harrison Moraine with lots of glacial debris in the form of hummocks separating deep kettles.  Lots of up and downs on this roller-coaster route that really slowed your progress.  This section really gave you a feel for the way the glaciers edge changed the land.  An interesting foundation was found at the intersection with a trail sign that I assume means "Moonshine" horse trail, then into the Enchanted Forest and past Dog and Mist lakes.

The last part of the day was a 10 mile road walk.  It started out very nice hiking down the dirt Horn Lake Road past many lakes and ponds.  Then a road walk to Tug Lake Recreation Area.  Along the way I met a farmer on a tractor that stopped to talk with me.  Said he sees lots of thru-hikers but that I was very late in the year if I wanted to finish.  I told him I was only section hiking and would likely not finish this year but it was fun to talk with him.  Guess there are more thru-hikers of the IAT then I was aware of.

Tug Lake is a nice spot and the sun was shining.  This was my meeting point to have Sybille pick me up but I was a little early.  Hoping to get the rest of the road walk out of the way I was able to get a ride to the start of the Grandfather Falls Segment and hiked the road back to Tug Lake.  Arrived just in time to meet Sybille and complete my 100mile four day section hike.  The Grandfather Falls Segment looks interesting! 

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.