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Monday, November 10, 2014

Bits and Pieces- Finishing the Blackhawk Segment

I didn't know it when I started the Blackhawk segment of the Ice Age trail back by Bald Bluff, but I'd already hiked the other end of the segment quite a few times over the past few years.  It was my first introduction to the trail and I'd revisited it often, enjoying the way the trail meandered up and down through the woods.

So, since I'd hiked both ends I figured I better knock out the small piece from Duffin Road to the Olseson Cabin.  When I got there I was happy to see a little widened portion of gravel near the trailhead and another car parked on the side of the road.  Technically the IAT guidebook says you must park in designated lots, but at least in our area the rangers are usually okay with roadside parking as long as your vehicle isn't blocking the trailhead or on sensitive habitat.

As for roadside parking, there is a lot of that going on right now due to hunting season.  Every road I travel down there are trucks pulled off every mile or so in the rural areas.  Not to mention the sound of the occasional gunshot.

Want to know what I heard on this trail?  Every now and then the sound of a distant marching band carried to me on the wind.  It brought back memories of playing the french horn in band.  That's twice this past week I was reminded of high school.  Want to know what's even weirder?  A friend from school I haven't spoken to in 4 years sent me a message after I got all set up in my tent that night.  We spent a couple of hours texting back and forth catching up.  It was nice.  Score one for technology.

fading fern

While I've always been an only child, I wasn't always the loner I am now.  Sometimes I look back on those school years and wonder how I ever spent so much time with so many other people.  Just like anything, it's mostly a matter of what you get used to, right?  I can't even imagine spending my day in a building with 400 people right now.  Would I make it through the day without losing my mind?

steep trail up to the shelter

While I'm comfortable being alone often I do wish I had a few more people in my life.  One or two I could call up to go hiking now and then would be nice.  I keep meaning to go on a group hike with the local Ice Age trail chapter, but it seems like every time I remember to check their calendar it's when their year is winding down and I'm too late.  Come spring I have so much going on with travel that I forget to look into it.  Maybe next year?

Like the segment I hiked at Mauthe Lake this section has a shelter and a vault toilet.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather whip out a little shovel and dig my own hole than use a rustic vault toilet.  As long as I have to "hover" I'd rather pick my own hole on my own terms.

use at your own risk 

Okay, who's laughing?

The wildlife is pretty quiet on the trails now, even the squirrels seem to have gone into hiding.  The deer are feeling pretty nervous.  They should be, there's folks out to get them.

the long wait

Don't get me wrong now, I'm all for hunting.  I'd rather eat game any day than what they're offering in the stores, part of the reason I originally went vegetarian.  It's still weird to me that I eat meat again.  My digestive issues have improved a lot since I took corn out of my diet.  I've been adding more fruits and vegetables back with pretty good success, but since my iron was low at my last doctor's visit I'm keeping the chicken and turkey in for now.

Speaking of fruits and vegetable, I have a cherry banana smoothie waiting for me.  I've been blending 3 servings at once and then freezing the other two for later.  I don't notice any difference in quality and it's super convenient!

Since the segment I completed on Duffin Road was only 1.5 miles round trip I headed to the Eagle segment and created another "bookend" for that longer trail before setting up my tent in the dark. Unlike most of the trail sections I've done it was across the Scuppernong Prairie.  I think I'll leave the middle section until the wildflowers are blooming in early June since it goes right past the area the ranger took us to earlier this year, but I'll show you what the prairie looks like this time of year tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. 2 1/2 weeks and you've got a hiking partner for four days. Haven't had much time to do much research yet, but I bet we'll find stuff to do! I'm getting excited!