First snow of the season provides beauty, some challenges
WALWORTH COUNTY Ed Rynko and I hiked around Lake LaGrange on Tuesday evening, Christmas Day. A gun deer season was on and part way around we had a friendly chat with two hunters who were walking back to the parking lot after the close of season for the day.
The walk was pleasant and I tried out my new headlamp, which has a red light setting. Red light does not ruin one’s night vision so it is preferable to white light, which makes the surroundings harder to see. The red light was bright and lit up the trail for several feet in from of us so we could easily see where to step, and it did light up the blazes and orange and red reflectors well down the trail. But it was not great for lighting the trail near as far in front of us as the white light. We really did not need the light because the white snow in the trail made it easy to follow, but I was pleased with my test of the new headlamp.
The next day 16 of us split into two groups. Ellen Davis and Jake Gerlack led half of the hikers around Lake LaGrange where Rynko and I had hiked the evening before.
Ellen’s report: The short hike around Lake LaGrange began auspiciously enough. The temperature was in the low 30s. But once we left the shelter of the parking area behind the hill, the sudden wind chill made it feel more like the teens. This section of the trail, packed down by snowmobiles, was easy hiking so, as we lost feeling in our fingers, we hurried toward the protection of the woods.
The next section was narrower and sans snowmobile. Canine and human tracks were plentiful and the snow on the trees and bushes was still undisturbed, creating a peaceful and picturesque winter vista.
The snow was deeper and drifted as we started up the slope into the prairie section. The trail was a single track now, but still easy to navigate. Though we were once more exposed to the wind, we were now warm enough to ignore it.
The lake had at least a skin of ice and several ice fishermen were on the thicker ice of the bay. In the open prairie past the bay, we ran into the first of several areas of knee-high snowdrifts crossing the trail. Luckily, previous hikers already had broken through them and we simply walked in their footprints.