Monday, September 21, 2015

Ice Age Trail ~ Old Railroad Segment

September is my FAVORITE month of the year and we've been enjoying the cool seasonal days and crisp blue skies by hiking as much as possible on short day-trips around our area. This past weekend, we finally headed up to a recommended part of the Ice Age Trail in Langlade County.

Our adventure began at Veteran's Memorial Park in Deerbrook, WI. It's a beautiful campground nestled along the shore of Jack Lake. A sign informed us that Langlade County is known as the "County of Trails" which we found to be quite true! This campground had several nature trails, including the Old Railroad Segment of the Ice Age Trail, which was easy to find after a short hike on one of the park's connecting trails.

We took some time driving through the park and campground to learn about the facility for future camping trips. There are 48 campsites which are $20 per night, which seemed kind of steep to me at first, but when you see the facilities you know you are getting what you paid for. The bathrooms all have flushing toilets and running water as well as showers. There are a number of locations to get drinking water and the campsites are very well-spaced with nice vegetation separating them. A few of the campsites (42-48) are on a separate loop and are very secluded from each other - tons of privacy! 

In addition to the campsites, there are 3 cabins available to rent although, sadly, they don't allow pets. There is a disc golf course and beautiful beach and picnic area but again, no pets are allowed. Although pets are prohibited from some parts of the park, there is a tiny arboretum and many trails that offer access to the water and pets are welcome in these areas. We observed many campers walking their dogs in the park and utilizing the trails.

Charlie and I spent some time exploring the bog-walk structure on Game Lake and taking in the beautiful sky reflecting in the clear water. Take your time crossing the boardwalk as it is twisted and uneven in a delightful way that only nature could construct.

There are several signs of ice age activity along this segment including dry kettles and kettle lakes. Weaving through the twists and turns and ups and downs of the trail and taking in the sights of glacial activity eventually quieted my mind and brought a serene peacefulness to my spirit. 

The strong breeze blowing through the variety of trees was soothing, alternating from the loud rustling of oak leaves to the quiet whisper of pine boughs. 

I'm always somewhat amazed that we rarely pass other people on the Ice Age Trail. While I enjoy the solitude of being there alone and appreciate that the trail stays "rustic" and relatively un-littered, I'm a little sad that more people are not out enjoying this free and unique opportunity.