A little rain never hurts; this time it was enjoyable
Last week was not the week for wildflower walks, although we did see a few flowers.
On our first walk, six of us drove from our meeting place to the Nordic Trails to start out walking counterclockwise on the outer 9.2-mile blue trail. Our group consisted of all regular long-distance weekly walkers.
I had forgotten to change into my hiking boots and was wearing some very old soft-soled sneakers, but these trails are mostly sod, so my feet got a massage as I walked and had no problems. The change in footwear actually felt good.
Some people use tennis shoes or similar footwear on their walks and have no problem. On some trails, stepping on or stubbing into roots and rocks can be uncomfortable. On the other hand, low trail running shoes have a stiff toe and sole and work well. Trail runners use them all the time and run 50 or 100 miles at a time on these trails. Some hikers prefer higher hiking boots to protect their ankles, and these boots are better at keeping weed seeds out, especially if the trails haven’t been mowed for some time.
Part way through the walk we split into equal groups, three continuing for the entire 9.2 miles while the others went back a ways on the green to the red trail, which we continued on, going counterclockwise on for a five-mile walk.
The next day it was raining when we met. I had checked the weather radar online before leaving home. I figured the rain would become more intense and quit around noon. Everyone wanted to get started and had proper rain gear. Ellen Davis took the short-distance hikers around Lake LaGrange from the parking lot, while our long-distance walkers carpooled to the Nordic Trails.
This was one of those walks where walking in the rain was fun. We had no thunder or lightning and the rain was steady, but not hard.
The blue and green Nordic trails overlap except for four places where the blue loop goes off the trail, adding distance. On the last loop off the green, the blue intersects the white to continue back to the trailhead. We chose to take the green loop clockwise and added the first two blue side loops for a brisk walk of more than 5 1/2 miles with a brief stop for some chocolate and trail mix along the way.
About halfway through our hike, at noon, the rain stopped and the sun actually came out for a brief time.
The shooting stars were beginning to bloom and the pine tree needles had raindrops hanging on their ends.
Afterwards we met up with the short-distance walkers at the LaGrange Country Store. As we left for home the rain started again.
Happy trekking, Russ
-- Wildflower hike, May 12, 9 a.m.: Meet at Prince’s Point parking lot on County Highway D north of Whitewater by the Bark River. Carpool from there to small parking lots where we will take a couple short wildflower walks. Wear old shoes or boots because some of the area may be muddy. Be sure that the footwear is clean before coming so that you do not transport invasive seeds to the area. Contact: Russ Helwig, (262) 473-2187.
-- Weekly walks: We meet 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 to park a car at the U.S. Highway 12 lot and may be purchased at the trailhead.