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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Holiday Doings and Planning Ahead

It's no secret that I love cupcakes, right?  It's probably a good thing that there isn't a fabulous shop nearby or I wouldn't be able to keep fit no matter how much hiking I did.  Our family (all 6 of us) decided years ago that we would keep it simple at Christmas and all we do is get one gift for each member with a $25 limit.  Katrina played on my love of cupcakes and got me an iPhone cover cute enough to eat!

The most entertaining gift of the exchange was the speakers Wayne got for Cory that shoot light and water in time to the sound.

Cory's gift wasn't the only entertainment.  When Cory's gift to me turned out to be a pair of Big Bang Theory pajama pants I provided amusement for my loved ones by stripping off the leggings I was wearing under my skirt and pulling the pjs on right there in the living room.  Apparently my skirt didn't behave itself as well as I thought it would and my loved ones were all appalled.  What's a little panty-flash amongst family on Christmas?  At least I liked my gift, right?

Soft Kitty pj pants and bribing for chocolates

I liked Wayne's gift of Screech chocolates from Newfoundland that my mother gave him that I paid him $50 for one.  Which behavior of mine was more shocking?

The weather on Friday was gorgeous around here with temps near 50F, little wind and even some sun so of course I had to work and could only experience it through the store window.  The forecast shows a continual drop throughout the week so I layered up yesterday and picked a new section of the Ice Age trail to explore not far from home.  Already it's been 3 weeks since I got back from Kentucky and I haven't gone hiking once.

IAT and snowmobile trail parking lot on Esterly Road

I chatted for a moment with a couple of hunters about the weather (37F cloudy and windy) and then ducked into the shelter of the trees on the Whitewater Segment.  Within minutes I got my first surprise and was reminded that there is always something to see when out hiking, even when winter gets its grip on the Midwest.

Tophat might be a bit dressy for hiking but I like the mustache

Since I picked a section of the IAT that was sheltered from the wind and not out in the open prairie I knew that meant there would probably be a few climbs up and down the eskers, not to mention that pesky glacial till to look out for and not trip on.

Time went pretty quickly and before I knew it I was climbing up and knew I was probably nearing the viewing point for Whitewater Lake.

 It wasn't the prettiest of days, so maybe I'll camp at the campground at some point when everything gets green to see what it looks like when the sky is blue and the birds are chirping.

Whitewater Lake and Rice Lake just behind it

Whitewater Lake has a non electric campground that runs right alongside the trail with a few campsites having direct access to it.

Sites 611, 612 and 614 have direct access just steps from the trail.  Online reservations are available, but there is no electric and no shower or flush toilet facilities.  Nearest shower building is 20 miles away at Ottawa Lake and Pinewoods where I normally camp.

site 611 and the IAT on the left under a layer of oak leaves

 A little further along I looked up in time to catch a large owl take flight though I didn't get a chance to identify it.  So, of course I followed its path off the trail a short distance to see if I could catch up to it.  This led to the discovery that sites 775 and 777 in the west loop also have access to the IAT though the path is faint and might not be worth the trouble once the ticks come out to play.

The Whitewater segment that I was on ends at a road and then you have to travel about 5 miles to pick up the Clover Valley segment.   At the terminus is Whitewater Creek and a nice bridge and bench where I stopped to have my trail mix before heading back.

Like most sections of the IAT in this part of Wisconsin the trail runs through sections of pine forest that were planted and oak forest that are indigenous.  I figure I did about 5 miles roundtrip since I started in the middle and had to backtrack.

The other half of the Whitewater segment goes through a section that is supposed to be pretty after a wet snowfall so I'm waiting for that to happen before tackling it.  The Clover Valley segment contains a lot of wildflowers so I'm saving that for May or June.  Yesterday I was pondering our travel plans for the year but until we get our days scheduled with the company it's kind of up in the air except for the fact that I'll be sticking around Wisconsin in March, April and at least part of May most likely.  I had wanted to combine the state parks of Minnesota lining Lake Superior with a trip over to Isle Royale at some point, but I'm thinking maybe this summer we'll just dart up to Two Harbors and see that area for a week and push through to Isle Royale and the parks further along another time to make it into two shorter trips instead of one long one.  Anyone spend any time in that area and have any suggestions?


  1. I love the picture with the cell phone cover and am LOL at the panty flashing that caused gasps. So you paid twice as much for the chocolate as the giver did to buy them all? That's funny too. Sounds like a great holiday! Wish I could help with your travel plans. We were in Minnesota just this summer but didn't go back to Isle Royale. It's definitely a great place especially if the wolves are howling.

  2. I admire your "fortitude" to hike in cold, damp, windy weather. We're getting plenty of snow here in Lovely Ouray, but the sun has been hiding out lately, which makes a huge difference in comfort level…as I'm sure you know.