Monday, March 24, 2014

IAT: Bohn Lake Segment

On our way home from a road trip weekend full of family visiting in Platteville, I was inspired to stop at the Bohn Lake Segment for a quick hike to stretch our legs. The last time I attempted to hike this segment was earlier in the winter and the parking areas were completely snowed in, leaving us nowhere to park. This time, based on the amount of snow melt I was seeing across the state, I knew we would have better access!

We parked at the County B designated parking area but ended up taking the wrong trail from the parking lot. Someone else was just leaving the path with his two very large Rottweiler dogs and I mistakenly took the path he was using as the Ice Age Trail rather than paying attention to the obvious signage. Oh well. We meandered along a scenic spur trail with a beautiful overlook of Bohn Lake and a rustic bench made of logs for admiring the view.

The trail came out at the other parking area on 9th Ave. which is a very large and well-maintained parking area. This spur trail was built to allow handicap access to the overlook area with a wide packed-gravel path.

The Ice Age Trail Companion Guide describes this segment as, "destined to become a gem of the Ice Age Trail." It features a wild lake as part of the 14-mile-long glacial tunnel channel that was created by a meltwater river flowing beneath glacial ice whose outlet was where the village of Hancock stands today. There is signage along the trail explaining how this process happened, so it's a great opportunity to learn something new about Wisconsin's ice age.

This area is also a popular spot for migrating geese and sandhill cranes to stop. We were lucky enough to hear a crane as it flew over the trail with its unique call echoing through the woods.

The lake is still frozen but the bare branches offer a great view of the landscape and I can't wait to come back once the weather warms up and the lake is teeming with birds and wildlife again!

The snow on the trail is mostly melted right now, but there are still quite a few icy spots. Upon arriving back at the car 30 minutes later, I was ready to continue hiking the actual Ice Age Trail portion, but the trail through the woods was so shaded and the trail was still too icy.

We managed to explore a little ways in but didn't make it all the way. Having a 40-lb. dog pulling me over the icy path was becoming too dangerous and not very fun, so we headed back to the car.

Because this segment is just a short 5-mile drive east through the village of Hancock off I-39, we'll be back often to stretch our legs after long road trips. This is the perfect spot for a scenic excursion if you're in the area or need a break while traveling through the middle of our state.