Take a hike
WALWORTH COUNTY Editor's note: Winter doesn't stop a weekly group of hikers along the Ice Age Trail in portions of Walworth County. As the weather changes, so do the sights.
The weather warmed up to above freezing for our walks last week. The snow was soft and easy to walk on, although a few hikers wore their Yak Trax just in case. We had been informed that the well-used trail part of the Ice Age Trail around Lake LaGrange did have some icy spots, so we avoided that section of trail.
On Tuesday we hiked on the Ice Age Trail south of U.S. Highway 12 to the second intersection with the horse/snowmobile trail near County Highway P and returned on the horse/snowmobile trail for a five-mile walk.
The sun was red in the western sky for the first part of our walk before it set. After twilight the trail was still visible as the snow remained white and we did not need our headlamps. It was a great walk.
Many animal tracks were visible in the snow, including deer, fox or coyote, rabbit, squirrel, raccoon and turkey.
The next day we split up into two groups, both hiking loops from our meeting place utilizing the Ice Age Trail and horse/snowmobile trails.
Ellen Davis reported the following on the shorter walk:
The short hike today took the horse/snowmobile trail from U.S. 12 to Esterly Road. We soon found ourselves spread out in fast, medium, slow and very slow-moving clusters, as some members of our group were returning to the trails after several weeks of inactivity.
One hiker mentioned that the trail around Lake LaGrange had been icy earlier in the morning. Our trail was comfortably snow-covered -- slightly sticky in the sun and crunchy in the shade, but no visible ice and not yet packed down by snowmobile traffic.
Those in the front waited for the rest of us at Esterly Road. Four energetic souls decided to continue on the Ice Age Trail to the intersection above County P, return via the horse trail to Esterly then take the Ice Age Trail back to U.S. 12 for a total of five miles. Those wanting a shorter but still challenging workout would return on the IAT for a 3.5-mile hike. The majority of the group, however, simply turned around and went back the way we came -- three miles was enough for some of us.
Meanwhile, my long-distance hikers went in the other direction starting on the horse/snowmobile trail on the southeast side of Lake LaGrange. This avoided the slippery part of the Ice Age Trail by the lake. We then continued to the Ice Age Trail to hike east to Duffin Road and returned on the horse/snowmobile trail, a distance of about six miles.