Saturday, September 24, 2016

Parrish Hills Segment ~ Ice Age Trail

A couple of weeks ago, on September 11th, Charlie and I were going through our normal lazy Sunday morning routine... coffee and breakfast while watching CBS Sunday Morning and snuggling on the couch. It was turning into a beautifully sunny, blue-sky day and I definitely wanted to get outside to enjoy the sunshine!

Everything on t.v. was filled with images from September 11th fifteen years ago... a lot of sadness and disbelief; still after all this time. And with that, memories of my dad started surfacing. As anyone who has ever lost a beloved friend or family member knows, you miss them every day, but some days are harder than others.

I believe it's important to remember these tragic events and take a moment to honor lives lost, but I also didn't want to get mired down in sadness for the day, so I figured we'd head out to a brand new segment of the Ice Age Trail that we had never been to before and ignite a sense of adventure in honor of all those who are no longer with us. This was the kind of day my dad loved and I'm sure there's no place he would have rather been than hiking on a trail just like this.

We took a leisurely hour-long drive up to Langlade County to take on the Parrish Hills Segment, parking at a small wayside next to Townline Lake where the trail began along the steep banks of the lake amidst towering pine trees.

Recent rains had left large puddles and lots of mosquito-breeding grounds along the trail, but with a quick and constant pace we were able to avoid too many bugs. Charlie had one small tick on her after this hike, but that was to be expected with all the tall grass she was running through.

The variety of trail types available on this segment ranged from single-track dirt trail, 2-track dirt trail and wider gravel trail that was most likely a well-used logging road or ATV trail. Butterflies flitted about occasional meadows of wildflowers and the distinct sound of cicadas filled the air.

Towards the end of the hike, where the trail turned into a large puddle making it impossible to proceed, we took a short side trail that revealed a beautiful hidden lake filled with migrating cranes and geese. It was so rustic and wild, it took my breath away.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mondeaux Esker Segment, Part 2

Charlie and I hiked the Western side of the Mondeaux Esker Segment almost a year ago. I had meant to come back to hike the other side and do some camping earlier this summer, but life sometimes gets away from you. And here I find myself at the beginning of September and I still haven't done any camping this year!

I typically shy away from camping during Labor Day Weekend since the campgrounds are predictably packed with families trying to get in one last camping trip before school starts and fall sets in.

Rather than taking a chance not finding a campsite, I decided to just do a day trip of hiking at Mondeaux Esker. Amazingly, though, there were still several campsites available as we drove through the campgrounds! Good thing to note for next year, so if we decide to actually camp on this busy weekend, we will most likely be rewarded with an available spot. Even better - this is National Forest land which means fireworks are strictly forbidden, which is a huge relief when you have a noise-reactive dog like Charlie.

The East side of the segment was very different than the side we did last year. Much more challenging with several downed trees and swampy areas to navigate through.

Honestly, though, I don't enjoy an Ice Age Trail hike as much as when I have to crawl through obstacles or get a little dirty. That's the whole point of being out here - feeling like you're in a different environment! I absolutely loved coming upon a downed tree blocking the trail and figuring out the best way to get around it... which included going around, going under, going over and going through! (Going through is the most fun!)

Went "around."

Went "under."

Went "over."

Went "through." This was so cool walking along the trunk and using
the branches as handles as I made my way through this!