Weekly Walk: Trail choices lead to stops along the way
Twelve of us carpooled to the Nordic Trailhead last week Tuesday where we had a short one and seven tenths mile walk on the purple trail. This is a relatively level trail with a nice variety of scenery.
We made this a very short walk because we were getting hungry thinking about the food we had brought with us to the trailhead for a potluck picnic afterwards. We ate well!
Norwin Watson reported that fourteen adventurers carpooled to the Ice Age Trail intersection with Clover Valley Road to hike back to the U.S. Highway 12 meeting place last week Wednesday. The walk would be a little less than five miles.
The hikers were expecting to see some fall colors but found very little. They enjoyed the scenic view over Rice and Whitewater Lakes. Between County Highway P and Esterly Road there is a place where the trail goes through pine trees where the trail was covered with pine needles that were fun to walk on.
It was a very nice walk but when leaving the woods near U.S. Highway 12 they were hit by a strong wind that the trees had been shielding them from.
A regrouping at the LaGrange General Store for lunch united them with the other hikers who conducted their shorter walks elsewhere.
Ellen Davis writes:
The sun was shining, the sky blue, and the temperature in the upper 50s with gusty wind last week Wednesday. Jake proposed a hike on the Muir bicycle trails where the hills and trees would provide some wind protection. Two of our group had never hiked the Muir trails and it had been several months for the rest of us, so of course we agreed.
Jake's plan involved a combination of trails that would total about three-and-a-half miles with an option available for a shorter hike as well. We set off on the orange and white trails, traveling counter-clockwise so any cyclists would be approaching us from the front rather than from the rear.
Almost immediately the old wide trail was blocked off and a smooth well-groomed new trail meandered off through the woods. We took it. Several minutes later our new trail crossed the old one – still blocked off. The two trails finally merged before the next intersection; two of our group opted for the shorter hike and the rest of us took the twisty rocky orange trail down the endless steep hill.
A cluster of three Indian pipes (“A waxy white leafless saprophytic herb” according to the dictionary) was visible beside the trail, with more growing beside a rotting log further back in the undergrowth. We saw a few bittersweet berries on the ground, but no vine. One of our newer hikers found a small red-bellied snake which was photographed and released unharmed.
At the second kettle lake we joined the somewhat re-routed Rainy Dew trail. The temperature had risen, and we removed jackets and gloves. We were now meeting the occasional cyclist as we climbed endlessly upward to rejoin the white and brown trails leading back to the starting point.
According the GPS, we hiked 3.06 miles of hills. It felt good. And it was time for lunch.
The two of us who chose to take the shorter walk on the white trail missed some of the interesting finds along the path that the other short walkers discovered. We had fewer hills, but some nice vistas.
We stepped off the trail as we met several groups of bicyclists who were also enjoying this wonderful fall weather. We had a nice conversation with one while we all enjoyed the view over a huge kettle bog. He said that he also hiked these trails so that he could enjoy the beautiful scenery as we were doing. I could identify with that because I used to bike these trails too and found out that I also did not enjoy the scenery as much then as when walking. On a bike you always have your eyes on the trail which is narrow, curvy, and often full of rocks or roots.
This trail is nearly three miles long; almost as long as the one the other short hikers took. This was also evidenced by us arriving at the LaGrange Country Store just as the other group had finished ordering their lunch. They had not stopped to talk to a biker.