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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Not For Horses

So the Ice Age Trail is many things, but it is for hikers only.  No snowmobiles, no bikes, no horses please.   You can bring your dog, providing they are leashed.  There are signs at every crossing.  Big ones.

On Saturday I came around a corner and was so startled by running into someone with a horse that I momentarily forgot they weren't even supposed to be on the trail.  By the time I remembered I was already past them.  And they had a dog off leash as well.

I got really irritated because in the 2.2 miles of trail from Little Prairie Road (right at the horse campground, by the way) to the Stone Elephant there are THREE horse trail crossings.  There is nothing on the Ice Age trail that isn't on their trails.  Except privacy...and hikers who don't want to step in horse poop.

Shield lichen

And tell me how she was going to leash her dog from the back of a horse?  I mean, come on.

unknown crustose lichen

Anyway, I did see some neat lichens and fungi, including the one below that looked like a massive mutant baked potato.  Check it out compared to my foot!

Also on the section from Tamarack Road to the Stone Elephant was this opening between the pine forest and the oaks.

prairie remnant in the middle of the woods

Looks like lots of flowers bloom here in the summer, and the ground was so littered with spongy wood chips it was like walking a fresh bed of mulch.

I got there as the sun was getting low in the sky so I had to hurry.  I kept expecting a deer to walk out of the trees.

I didn't see any deer, but I did see a handful of dragonflies on top of the ridge.

another prairie remnant - woods will take over eventually

The sun was too bright for pictures of the Stone Elephant when I got there, but I made sure to take the time to have a snack on that bench before turning around.  On Saturday it was so warm that I was hiking in a t-shirt.  There were a lot of folks out in the State Forest enjoying what was probably our last truly warm day of the year.

Since it wasn't wet and slippery like the other time I visited I checked out the slope going downhill behind the Stone Elephant.  There was a path cut into the steep slope, some logs dug into the side to help folks down.

I climbed down there, then climbed back up.  My legs were pretty shaky after I climbed back up.  Any rockier and I would have had to rapel!

That was the end of my day's adventure and I made my way back toward Little Prairie Road at a brisk pace so I could get back to my car before dark.  I got there right around sunset, and the light through the trees was really pretty.

Today I was on the IAT again, I've got nowhere else to go and I've suddenly got the urge to knock out a complete section before the end of the year like I said I would.  Even though it was only in the 40's it was pretty comfortable hiking weather since the sun was out and the wind was low.  I parked at the Bald Bluff parking lot and headed in the other direction all the way out to Oleson Cabin and back.

What else did I do today?  I stopped in at the office for a couple of hours, shopped for dish towels on Amazon, made homemade chicken noodle soup and after my 5 mile hike I ended my day cleaning toilets.  Happily living the life of the semi-retired! (except for the part about the toilets)  More trail shots tomorrow, including  that cabin and a pond too.


  1. Good for you, doing what you said you would do. At this rate, you're going to hike the IAT forward and backwards. When we were there with you, we could have left a car and gone one way. Didn't think of it.

  2. Sure wish I had some of that chicken noodle soup. Just back from the doctor...verdict? Acute bronchitis and a stern lecture for not coming sooner. Oh well, more time to research trails in the Red River Gorge! We've had our share of discussions about horses and dogs on trails where they aren't allowed. You know how I feel about it!