Mist, rain do not deter this group of dedicated hikers
Light rain was coming down during the last Tuesday walk in October, when we met at the Nordic trails in La Grange Township.
We hiked the 3 7/10-mile, green-blazed trail. If I had to pick just one of the Nordic trails to hike, I would choose this one for scenery. There is a variety of terrain, including some ponds and a lake, to be enjoyed by summer hikers and winter skiers.
The perimeter blue trail doubles up with much of the green trail and the red and orange trails also share some of the green. The blue trail is popular with many skiers, but casual hikers avoid much of it because it is more than nine miles in length, and the best scenery is where it doubles up with the green. The orange shares the view from the other side of the small lake. I also like the white trail, but it is relatively level and has no ponds or lake.
With fog and mist in the air on the following day, 16 hikers returned to the Nordic trails to walk counterclockwise on a combination of trails for a distance of 5 3/10 miles according to my trusty pedometer.
Much of the trail we hiked duplicated the previous evening, but the trail always looks different from the opposite direction. One skier hiking with me was pleased that we hiked in the counterclockwise direction because skiers always go clockwise on these trails.
Ellen Davis reported on the shorter walk:
Only seven brave individuals -- including one newcomer -- turned out for the short hike on this cold and damp Wednesday. With Jake in the lead, we started up the slope behind the Ice Age Trail kiosk on U.S. Highway 12 to begin our trek around Lake LaGrange.
The mist in the air was so heavy that we could not see as far as Whitewater from the top of the hill. The trail down the back side is steep and rocky and somewhat slippery, but we picked our way carefully and reached the bottom with no mishaps.
Three of our group had not experienced the Kangaroo Bridge above water, so we walked out to survey what remained of the shallow end of the lake: puddles to the right, some open water to the left and a lot of silt. The resident egret and great blue heron were absent.
As we continued on, Dave Nowak heard a kingfisher, but the call was not repeated. Farther on, some of us did see the heron, however, flying low across the lake. The egret has presumably departed for a more hospitable winter locale.
Volunteer work crews had spent much time here this year clearing brush to improve views and remove invasive species, opening up more space for native flora and fauna. Their efforts were particularly noticeable near the prairie section and here and there along the shoreline -- and were admired and appreciated.
The mist had cleared by the time we reached the far end of the lake, and we were warm and dry as we entered the woods to return to our starting point.
Afterwards the groups joined up at the La Grange General Store for lunch.
Happy trekking, Russ
-- Monthly meeting of the Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, Tuesday, Nov. 20: Meet at 7 p.m. at the U.S. Bank downstairs community room, 101 E. Walworth St., Elkhorn. Contact: Carol Prchal, (262) 495-8502.
-- 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.