|Mauthe Lake campground entrance|
It was a little warmer this weekend so on Friday night I hiked a couple of short pieces of the Ice Age trail that I haven't been on and then set up my tent at Ottawa Lake campground. My new sleeping bag performed much better, but I'll tell you all about it later.
|Mauthe Lake at sunrise|
The Ice Age trail cuts right through the entrance area at Mauthe Lake and you can decide whether you want to go toward New Fane on the Milwaukee River segment or head north on the Parnell segment. I chose heading towards New Fane because it looked a little more open and therefore possibly warmer, but the three deer at the trailhead took off in the opposite direction.
When I first started out it was below freezing, but the lack of wind and the warm sun helped a lot. Wearing Smartwool from head to toe didn't hurt either.
One thing that the guidebook doesn't tell you is what kind of plants or trees are in any of the sections. Another thing it doesn't do is give a detailed account of what a segment-within-a-segment's length is. Every once in a while it will say 0.2 miles to shelter from trailhead, or something like that, but doesn't give any other distances just the total overall length of each segment. Some segments are quite long though the Milwaukee River segment is only 4.3 miles so I'll be able to finish it next time I'm in the area.
I thought the location of an overnight shelter about a mile from the campground was an odd choice. When I made my way down the hill to check it out I discovered it was occupied.
The group turned out to be a handful of teenage Boy Scouts from Zion, my own high school "hometown"! The darlings asked me if I was a member of the class of 2000. I said, did you say 1000? I told them I looked so young due to all the clean outdoor living.
|Looks like a winding esker to me, how about you?|
I only stayed a few minutes, talking to a dad about their experience thru hiking on the IAT and using the shelters and then left them to their morning rituals which included a smoky campfire. In case anyone is wondering (Peggy keeps asking me so I might as well toss out a reminder) I'm a member of the class of '86 and turned 46 this year. Go Zee-Bees!
|East Branch of the Milwaukee River as it heads into Kewaskum|
I walked about 2.5 miles before turning back, cutting my way through the trees and brush behind a church when I saw I was close to the road. Getting out to the road for my return trip is working out well for me since it's more even and the shoulder is usually a compressed gravel that is nicer to walk on than the pavement. The distance was the same but the walk was easier and quicker, though a lot less scenic.
The section of the IAT that I hiked parallels the East Branch of the Milwaukee River so it's only appropriate I include a couple of pictures I took of the river in downtown Kewaskum. I'm sure you all noticed the kame in the background, right? Though it parallels the river the trail does not come close enough to it any point to see the river while hiking. The river starts not far from this area and makes its 104 mile journey to Milwaukee and empties into Lake Michigan.
There, now you've gotten your geography and your earth science lessons for the day! I spent Friday and Saturday away from the house hiking, camping and then meeting Katrina for shopping in order to avoid a lesson in building construction.
Wayne and his buddies are in the back yard building a new 20x20 shed to store all our "toys". Kind of hard to fit cars in the garage when it's full of kayaks, bikes, a snowblower and don't forget the quad and its new trailer. Also currently at home in the yard is the fifth wheel, the pontoon boat and Wayne's ice shack. One of the neighbors asks him when he's getting a helicopter. Well, now there's no room for a landing pad!