Hikers seek out parks where hunting is prohibited
The weather was great for hiking Thanksgiving week when the traditional gun deer season was on. Our long-distance hikers chose to go to Lapham Peak State Park where hunting is prohibited. We met up at the Evergreen Grove parking lot with some of our hikers who live nearby.
We split into two subgroups with the larger contingency taking the seven-mile, black-blazed ski trail. I took the second group on a combination of the black, purple and Ice Age Trail for a shorter hike of about 4 1/2 miles.
My group walked counterclockwise on the black trail and split up on our second Ice Age Trail crossing. Rita Fox, her two grandchildren, Dayne and Kohl Cruz, accompanied by Meg McCormick, continued on the black toward our meeting place on the ski trails. Ken Lempa, Marv Herman, Janet Bryant and I hiked on the Ice Age Trail northward to the tower.
We climbed to the top of the tower for a great view. There was quite a bit of haze in the distance, so we were not able to see Holy Hill this day. But the view was still spectacular.
We continued on the Ice Age Trail and met the others arriving at an intersection at the same time. They joined us for the rest of the walk.
Meanwhile, the shorter-distance hikers decided to stick close to home and went to Natureland County Park, where hunting also is prohibited.
This is a beautiful park with three or four miles of great trail. There are several short trail loops, making this a great place for beginning walkers. One can enjoy great views of Whitewater Lake from some of the trails. We also spotted some interesting huts, which kids have built from downed trees and branches along the white blazed trail loops. Another loop goes by a nice prairie and a nearby pond and across the road there is one level loop and loops with steep hills.
Amanda Prange, volunteer coordinator for Kettle Moraine South, has started a free hiking club. Check it out online at www.kmhikingclubs.webs.com and look at the calendar for upcoming hikes.
Also, sign up to lead hikes in the Kettle Moraine area. Anyone, including adventure club members, can list any hike they plan to lead and may get additional walkers. Our weekly walks already are on the calendar and other Ice Age Trail Alliance local chapter hikes should be listed in the future.
Although it is a big commitment Prange would love to have others hold a once-a-week walk.
Gun deer season ended Nov. 25, but it is followed by muzzleloader season until Wednesday, Dec. 5, followed by antlerless gun deer from Thursday, Dec. 6 through Sunday, Dec. 9. Therefore, through Dec. 9, our Wednesday weekly walk will meet at the regular meeting place and time and we will carpool to Lapham Peak to hike where hunting is not allowed. Those who live closer to Lapham Peak may meet us at the Evergreen Grove shelter around 11:15 a.m.
There is another gun deer season from Dec. 24 through Jan. 6. During that time we will either hike at a county park or carpool again to Lapham. Lapham has great trails for hiking. The ski trails will be open for hiking unless there is enough snow for skiing.
Prange said that the lights are on at Lapham Peak on Thursday nights for hikers, until the snow flies. In addition there are several miles of Ice Age Trail, bike and horse trails that we can hike.
Happy trekking, Russ
-- Annual Holiday Gala Potluck, Dec. 18: Meet at 7 p.m. at U.S. Bank, 101 E. Walworth St. in Elkhorn, with a dish to share. Potluck dinner and socializing followed by a short monthly meeting of the Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter, Ice Age Trail Alliance. Contact Carol Prchal, (262) 495-8502.
-- New Year’s Day hike/snowshoe and potluck, Jan. 1: Meet at Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy at 1:30 p.m. to hike and bring a potluck dish to share at Eileen’s, 213 N. Church St., Elkhorn. (262) 723-3716.
-- Annual bonfire and hike, Jan. 4, at Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy -- Stay tuned for details.
-- Weekly walks: Meet each Tuesday at 4 p.m. and Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the U.S. Highway 12 Ice Age National Scenic Trail crossing located about four miles east of Whitewater, about a quarter mile east of the intersection of Highway 12 with Sweno Road. The parking lot is at the west end of Sherwood Forest Road. Two or more walks of different distances are offered on Wednesdays (and Tuesdays when desired). All ages are welcome. A current state park pass is required to park a car at the lot. A daily or yearly pass may be purchased at the meeting place provided correct change is available.
-- Let Russ Helwig know if you want to hike on Tuesday, Dec. 25, or Wednesday, Dec. 26. The hikes are scheduled but low attendance is expected. If hikes are held, they will probably take place at nearby Natureland County Park, where deer hunting is prohibited.