Honored: Russ Helwig's work recognized with bench
After a week off for a fishing trip it was good to get back on the trails for a day. Three of my relatives from New Mexico were visiting this week, so I took them on our Aug. 7 walk.
We had a very nice hike around Lake LaGrange and were joined by a couple from Illinois who were walking their dog on the same trail. We stopped a couple of times to feast on some ripe wild black cherries and chokecherries.
The chokecherries were growing on a bush and easy to pick. On the other hand, black cherries grow on larger trees and only a couple branches were low enough for us to snag for a snack. People often confuse these two cherries because the fruit looks the same, but not the taste. Both are tasty when ripe and have a large pit nearly as large as the smaller-than-pea-size fruit, but the chokecherry tends to pucker the lips a bit with its astringency while the black cherry lacks the tannic acidity.
In the meantime the rest of the walkers hiked across the road where they would get a longer walk in.
The next day my relatives decided that they would rather go to Watson’s Wild West Museum than hike. If anyone has not been there, it is worth seeing and you will be entertained with Doug Watson’s stories of the past.
Jake Gerlach reported that the shorter distance walkers hiked around Lake LaGrange as I had the evening before.
Theresa Stegemann led the longer walk. Her report follows:
We had 21 hikers join us today. Gerhard Stegemann joined the long distance hikers for the first time post his knee surgery. He easily kept up with the rest of us.
We decided to hike to the scenic lookout to inspect the new Russ Helwig bench that had been installed by Andy and other Ice Age Trail Association members the day prior. We thought about waiting until Russ was able to join us, but curiosity got the best of us.
We hiked directly from the parking lot to the scenic lookout. No shuttle was needed as we simply backtracked to the parking lot, giving us a total of seven miles.
On the way to the lookout, we spotted two deer just ahead of us on the trail. We quieted everyone down as one deer darted across the road, but the other fixed her eyes upon us, unsure of how to react. She sat there for a while evaluating us and then ran through the woods, stopping ever so briefly again to give us another look before heading off further into the brush.
At a previous Ice Age Trail chapter meeting I was presented with the bench that Theresa mentioned. I was speechless and flattered. I did not know that the bench already had been installed. The location could not please me more as it is at my favorite view on the trail in Walworth and Jefferson counties. To those responsible, thank you!
Happy trekking, Russ
-- Monthly meeting, Walworth/ Jefferson County Chapter, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Aug. 21: Meet at 7 p.m. at the U.S. Bank in Elkhorn. Contact Carol Prchal, (262) 495-8502.
-- MSC Project, Aug. 23-26: Revisit Yellow River, U.S. Forest Service area to complete May work on bridge/boardwalk construction and trail relocation. Contact Gary Klatt, (262) 473-4973.
-- Trail workday, Aug. 25: Meet at 9 a.m. at U.S. Highway 12 trail crossing five miles east of Whitewater for trail maintenance. Contact: Jerome Converse, (262) 473-7304.
-- Weekly walks: The Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance meets at 4 p.m. each Tuesday and at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the U.S. Highway 12 Ice Age National Scenic Trail crossing located about four miles east of Whitewater and about a quarter-mile east of the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Sweno Road. The parking lot is at the west end of Sherwood Forest Road, which is a short road that intersects U.S. Highway 12 at each end. All ages are welcome. A state park pass is required, which may be purchased at the site. Contact Russ Helwig, (262) 473-2187.