NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Starting the Blackhawk Segment

On Wednesday I headed back to the parking lot at Bald Bluff one last time to take the spur to the right that led to the Blackhawk segment of the Ice Age trail.  This Bald Bluff/Oak opening area is the only part of the Ice Age trail that travels through Jefferson County.

Bald Bluff is where General Atkinson was on the lookout for Blackhawk, remember?  The spur wanders through some low lying shrub that is relentlessly trying to overtake the dry prairie they are preserving and then starts gradually climbing a ridge that runs paralell to Hwy County H.  After a short walk it crosses Young Road and the Blackhawk segment begins.

I climbed along the ridge for awhile, trying not to get distracted and take too many pictures even though the scenery here was quite different from what I saw on my last two outings.  All the fallen leaves have led to great views of the skies.

naked oaks and me in my blaze orange - hunting season is here!

farm land in the distance

 I don't know if the ridge may be big enough to be considered an esker and but either way it is really a pile of debris left behind from the glaciers, which is why I imagine it is filled with so many of those pesky rocks!  There are a couple of different ways they are thought to have been formed, one of which being that it was where sediment piled up in a crevasse.  Pretty cool!

 typical rocky trail of the IAT in Kettle Moraine State Forest

Just one lichen shot, I couldn't walk past the pretty gold on a late fall afternoon.

And one shot of what is left of the year's wildflowers.

I wasn't up there long before the trail took a turn and wound down the hill to cross Hwy H.  Watch out for speeding traffic!

On the other side of the road I entered a pine forest and the trail was flat and easy, no more rocks!

Due to the leaves falling I was able to spot a small lake alongside the trail, maybe it was a kettle, yet another sign of Wisconsin's glacial past.

Even though the light was falling I kept pushing fast along the trail to try to make it to Oleson Cabin.

The two story cabin was built by Ole Oleson in 1846 out of Tamarack logs.  He was a Norwegian immigrant and lived there with his wife and 9 children.  This was the first time I've been out to this cabin which isn't far from the Pioneer Lime Kiln on the John Muir trails I visited 2 years ago.  

The logging sled was found next to an old foundation in the woods of the area and is estimated to have been in use around 1900.  This type of sled was what would have been used in the area to haul Tamarack trees they felled for buildings.  Tamaracks are coniferous trees that grow in swampy areas and there aren't many left because they were cleared and drained for agriculture.

This pretty shrub/tree wasn't far from the cabin and was my last photo op before making my way back to the trail.  I plan on having Katrina drop me off at the cabin and I'll hike my way back to Whitewater to complete this segment sometime before Christmas.

I wasn't worried about the approaching dark because I finally got a headlamp!  I put it on and had it ready to go but I made my return trip a little shorter and faster by cutting out onto the roadside so I made it back to the car right at dark.  It was nice to have a backup plan though.

I just packed up the car and am taking my first drive up to Kettle Moraine's North Unit.  I got a new sleeping bag that I'm hoping is warm enough for 30 degree nights that I want to test out and most of the Wisconsin state parks are now closed for the season, but not Mauthe Lake.  If I wake up freezing it's less than a 2 hour drive home.,. and I get to try a new section of the Ice Age trail today.


  1. Beautiful fall hike:) Glad you were sporting your bright orange!

    What a nice two story cabin!

  2. Looks like a well-used trail, in interesting country.