After a relaxing day at nearby Brunet Island State Park, we spent the following day taking a scenic road trip along County Highway M to visit the Chippewa Moraine Interpretive Center and hike part of the Chippewa Moraine Segment of the Ice Age Trail.
This is one of the *nicest* Interpretive Centers I've visited so far and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit! The building, perched on top of an ice-walled lake plain, offers spectacular views of the valleys below. Grounds are filled with butterfly and hummingbird gardens and the entrance is lined with hummingbird feeders alive with activity - birds were buzzing all around us!
Remnants of last night's weather were still present, sprinkling us with sporadic refreshing showers occasionally. The cool raindrops dampened the landscape and ignited scents of prairie grasses and wild flowers blooming all over the hillside.
Inside the building, everything is a "hands-on" experience. You are invited to touch all kinds of objects including animal furs, skulls, snake skins, and actual live reptiles! There are informational videos and interactive maps of the glacial topography and tons of opportunities to learn about the natural wonders in Wisconsin.
I could have spent HOURS in this building! Alas, the hiking trails were waiting to be explored and I didn't want to leave Charlie in the car for too long (even though temps were in the mid-60's and all the windows were open).
I did take a moment to purchase an Ice Age Trail cap though. It was just too cute. If you look closely at the picture below, you'll see tiny embossed hiking boot prints in the suede along the brim. How awesome is that!?
And so, with my new hat on, Charlie and I set out to hike a portion of the Chippewa Moraine Segment. I was immediately taken with the lush scenery as we trekked up and down a rolling topography with small lakes on either side of the ridge.
Every turn in the trail revealed another beautiful lake scene.
Unfortunately, the deer flies were REALLY intense and we couldn't stop for very long to admire the view; we had to keep moving. Actually, we practically ran the whole way.
I love that the "trail selfie" (below) of me in my new hat includes a photobomb of a deer fly sitting on the brim. That's how bad they were. They buzzed my ears, my eyes, sat under my hat brim, on top of my hat brim and pretty much did circles around my head the whole time. And they could care less that I was covered in a thick layer of bug spray; it had no effect on them.
And poor Charlie. She was completely covered in them. They bit her nose, her feet and her ears. They hitched a ride on her tail or her head until we stopped long enough for them to bite.
It was miserable.
And because the deer flies were so intense, we turned back and gave up hiking for the day. No matter how awesome the scenery is or how badly I wanted to explore this trail, it was just not worth it.
I don't know if there are certain times of the year that are better or worse for insects, but I think I'll come back here in the fall when leaf color is at peak, temps are cool and the bugs are gone.
TRAIL PHOTO-VIDEO MONTAGE: