The trailhead wasn't lined with Bindweed and Fleabane, but with going to seed Asters and Goldenrod. It was like a bouquet of dried flowers!
The trail meanders up to the top of Bald Bluff and on the way up connects with the Ice Age Trail. To follow the IAT you can either continue up the bluff and then keep going down the other side, or take the spur to the right and head towards a camping shelter I mean to check out next spring. I was all for conquering a new section of the IAT, so planned on hiking further than the bluff itself this time.
The trail leads through Kettle Moraine Oak Opening, a mixture of oak opening and oak woodland that is dominated by Bur Oak and Black Oak. I thought an oak was an oak until I got a good look at all the different oak leaves on the trail. I found a page with a good identification guide here.
|View of trail from under a Black Oak|
Like the trees I saw in Lake Geneva the ones along this trail were sporting colorful lichen as well as colorful leaves.
Even the rocks were getting in on the party! If you hike this trail come prepared with decent hiking boots instead of sandals or sneakers. The trail to the top of the bluff is quite rocky and uneven.
The Sumac had lost all their leaves, but left their berries behind. Research indicates they are edible and you can even make lemonade from them! Of course summer would be the time to do that, in fall just enjoy their splash of red color.
You might recognize this spot in the trail, I got a picture of Ron ascending it this summer. Didn't notice at the time that we were moving through an oak forest because we were busy admiring the wildflowers.
As I neared the top I got this great view from a break in the trees. The view at the top wasn't as nice, it looked over an area that had less color. As you can see, our color season is winding down, at least half the trees down there are bare already.
At the top of the bluff I started my way down through the oaks to make my way toward the Stone Eleophant. More on that tomorrow!