Fall hikers dodge the raindrops, find plenty of color left
What a difference a few days can make. Two weeks ago, the colors in the Southern Kettle Moraine were near peak. A week later, I led a 10-mile hike from the Scuppernong trailhead to the state forest headquarters on Wisconsin Highway 59. The colors were at peak and better than I have seen for several years.
This past Tuesday we hiked at the Nordic Trails to find that a large amount of the leaves already had blown off the trees. There was some good color, and some oaks and a few maples had not yet turned, so there is still great fall color to view. But the strong winds during the recent days completely defoliated most ash and a few other species.
Rain was in the forecast so we ended our hike early with only two miles. We purposely chose a short hike so we could enjoy a small potluck picnic afterwards before the rain started. Hamburgers, bratwurst, chili and a nice mix of salads and desserts were enjoyed before departing, and then the rain began. Unfortunately, the duration of the rain was short and the ground is still dry.
The next day brought out 40 mid-week walkers for our adventures. Ellen Davis reported that her group of 25 hiked on the Ice Age Trail south of our meeting place. At Esterly Road, several returned on the horse trail for a 3 1/2-mile walk while the others continued to the horse trail near County Highway P before taking that trail back for a hike of five miles.
I took the remaining 15 hikers to the Muir bike/hike trails to walk against the bike traffic on the five-plus-mile Rainy Dew trail loop. We met several bikers a couple times on the route who also were enjoying these scenic trails, although one admitted that he will have to hike the trail sometime in order to see the scenery as one must pay too much attention to the uneven and rocky trail when on a bike.
The fall scenery, including colorful leaves, which now cover the trail and forest floor in addition to the ones still on trees, was very nice.
Happy trekking, Russ
-- Hike/Eat/Carve get-together, Friday, Oct. 26. Meet at Judy Wildermuth’s at 5 p.m., then hike a bit, enjoy a potluck and carve pumpkins. Bring your own pumpkin, carving tools and potluck dish. Contact: Judy Wildermuth, (262) 473-2415.
-- Weekly walks: The Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter of Ice Age Trail Alliance meets at 4 p.m. Tuesdays and at 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays 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, a short road that intersects U.S. Highway 12. All ages are welcome. State park pass is required, which may be purchased at the site. Contact: Russ Helwig, (262) 473-2187.