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!

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Esker Workout

After working about 35 hours in four days I couldn't wait to hit the road this morning and head north to Mauthe Lake Recreation Area to camp and do some hiking on the Ice Age Trail.  I was here late fall last year, and it was nice to experience it on a warm spring day instead of a frosty fall one!

Mauthe Lake is one place you'll have no trouble finding the IAT, the trailhead can be accessed from the parking area by the little ranger check-in station.  When I arrived around 1:00 a handful of folks were arriving and filling out their self-register forms like I was.  After picking out a site and setting my tent up quickly I drove back over to the lot and got on the trail.

Last time I was here I headed towards New Fane on the Milwaukee River segment, so this time I went the other way and started the 13.9 mile Parnell segment.  Immediately the trail climbs up a huge esker, but as I made my way down the other side I finally spotted Spring Beauty.  I was afraid I was going to miss the tiny striped bloom since it's an early bloomer and May has arrived.

The Hepatica is going strong too.  Hope you're not sick of pictures of it because it's purple color was too fun for me to resist shooting again!

It wasn't long before I was crossing County Hwy GG, waiting my turn as the tractor went slowly by.

The hills were more gentle on the other side, and pine trees made their appearance in clusters as I hiked past Crooked Lake.

A horse trail intersected with the IAT for a short while, hoof prints sunk deep in the marshy ground.  I scared up a couple of ducks when I crossed a stream, and couldn't resist the Marsh Marigold even though it meant kneeling in the brush.  I checked often for ticks and am happy to report that somehow I escaped unscathed today!

My 40mm lens for the camera arrived yesterday so a lot of the shots I took today were with that lens to give it a test run.  I liked it a lot and will probably keep it, it worked well for trail shots/landscapes, and functioned as a macro lens well too when I added an extension tube.  All the close up flower shots were done that way and all were hand held, no tripod needed.

tripod needed for this uphill shot, the squirrels didn't want to help me out they just chattered and ran

Every now and then a cluster of Bloodroot would show up, and even though I've seen lots of it over the past few weeks I still enjoy not only the flower but the shape and texture of its leaf as well.

group shot, everybody say cheese!
time for your close-up

I'm so tired from the hills and the pollen that I'm having trouble coming up with anything to say for this post.  Don't you hate that?  We all want to be interesting, but sometimes it's just too much work, right?

When I reached my end point at County Hwy SS and turned around I almost tripped over a patch of emerging Trillium.  I suppose there's no way they'll be blooming before I leave on Sunday.  Only one was sending up a flower.

As has become my custom I timed my return trip and tried to set an even pace so I could gauge how many miles I hiked and I guess the portion of the Parnell segment I did at a little less than four miles one way which means I only have 10 more to go so maybe I'll do the whole thing this weekend.  All these extra work hours has meant more calories and less exercise so I'm eager to put some hard miles in and shed another couple of winter pounds.  I'm sure Wayne and his buddies aren't thinking about pounds and calories at Talladega today, beer and burgers are most likely on their menu!

eskers burn calories

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