Heat, heat and more heat!
Day 41 – Trail Mile 780.4
The trail is turning back into a struggle, but this time it’s the heat that’s making it hard to keep going, even with little to no weight to carry, other than water supply the soaring temperatures make it unbearable. The day started out where I left off, another cycle path running along streams and ponds adding humidity to the heat, not much joy.
From the cycle path to Albany I continued on a connecting road walk to Arbor Ridge. With temperatures now reaching 30ºC, feeling like 35ºC along tarmac roads I quickly abandoned my mission and called it a day earlier than planned – it was just too much.
Day 42 – Trail Mile 807.5
The heat continues, so does the walk along the road, keeping hydrated on this day was a struggle, refilling my 1.5l reservoir every 5 miles or so, this is getting close to feeling like torture.
The Arbor Ridge Segment brought short relief as I was headed into shaded woods for a bit – at mile 800 that was a welcome change from the seemingly endless connecting road walks along here.
After emerging from the Arbor Ridge Segment I headed into the Devil’s Staircase Segment, another pretty one, following the shores of the Rock River, in the shade before getting back out onto cycle paths and pavements on the Janesville Segment.
Day 43 – Trail Mile 817.7
Continuing the Janesville Segment where I had left the previous day. I found this segment hard to follow, the signage doesn’t seem clear, I’m not sure whether that’s because half of this town-walk is under construction or because it’s hard to focus in this heat, I made it through in the end and finished the day with the Janesville to Milton Segment, which again, started off on cycle paths and roads before heading back into a shadier part.
Day 44 – Trail Mile 834.8
Continuing with another town segment – Milton. Getting an early start helps dodging at least some of the sweltering heat, for a while at least.
I wish the heat would have had more on an impact at the Storrs Lake Segment. I knew from other hikers that I can expect a puddle of standing water, although I was hoping that due to the lack of rain in recent days the situation may have improved. Unfortunately it hadn’t, so here I was, in the “easy” southern parts of the trail, back in knee deep water. In a way it at least brought my legs some relief from the heat for a while.
The day continued with another road walk and the Clover Valley Segment before continuing with more road to Whitewater Lake.
Day 45 – Trail Mile 858.2
The previous night brought through a thunderstorm, which I hoped would clear the air at least a little and bring temperatures down – unfortunately that didn’t happen and I was straight back into the heat battling my way through the Whitewater Lake, Blackhawk and Blue Spring Lake Segments.
Due to the heat and exhaustion I had at this point given up taking notes, making writing this rather difficult as I can’t seem to remember an awful lot.
Day 46 – Trail Mile 879.4
Another day in this continued heatwave, still no desire to write anything down at the end of the day – I completed the Stoney Ridge, Eagle, Scuppernong and Waterville Segments and started to work my way along the cycle path to the Lapham Peak Segment. Luckily I was joined by my hiking buddy in the afternoon, so at least I now had someone along with me, should I pass out in this heat. Good that he’s sticking around for the rest of the week as this heatwave continues!
Day 47 – Trail Mile 899.9
With an early start at Lapham Peak we managed to climb up to the tower for some stunning views over the local area before descending back down to another town segment through Delafield.
Delafield started off as a pretty nice segment, following along the river and through the town but it quickly turned into an oven as we roasted along a tarmac-cycle path offering no shade from the sun, again, unbearable.
The day continued with more connecting road walks to and from the Merton Segment and finished at the starting point to the Monches Segment.
Day 48 – Trail Mile 923.4
Hitting mile 900 first thing in the morning felt pretty good, and the Monches Segment was surprisingly beautiful, running across and along some rivers and streams it offered amazing views of the woods and a nice escape from all these road and pavement miles of the past few days.
We continued to Loew Lake and Holy Hill where the heat was only part of the problem, plagued by mosquitoes we rushed through as much of it as possible, trying to not be eaten alive. As far as I can recall, the same was true for the Pike Lake, Slinger and Cedar Lake Segments, which we completed that day.
Day 49 – Trail Mile 935.5
A short day on the trail at last, we completed the connecting route to the West Bend Segment, again a road walk in this heat is no fun, so this one wasn’t either. Unfortunately I am still lacking notes and can’t remember much, so I can’t say much about the West Bend Segment, seemingly we got out alive.
My day continued with a move of basecamp from the Madison area to Green Bay, getting closer to the finishing line, this is my last Ice Age Trail basecamp.
Day 50 – Trail Mile 952.00
Starting the day at the Southern Kewaskum Segment – one I was worried about. Like at Storrs Lake I was suspecting a knee deep unavoidable puddle of standing water, but luckily on this occasion the sun and heat have worked magic, it nearly dried out and we were able to manoeuvre around this one without getting our feet wet.
Continuing on another connecting route to the Kewaskum Segment we finally found some relief from the heat as it was a windy morning, making the road walk much more tolerable than the last few.
The Kewaskum Segment was a nice mix of open fields, wetlands (next to, not on the trail) and some shady wooded areas.
The Milwaukee River Segment took us through a similar landscape within a State Forest, although the heat was down slightly, the mosquitoes were still around and suddenly the struggles of dealing with standing water was replaced by climbing and crawling around more and more fallen trees. I do feel like being back at the starting point.
At the end of the Milwaukee River Segment it was time to wave goodbye to my hiking buddy, I’ll be back out on the trail on my own – luckily the temperatures are seemingly coming back down – so at least I won’t have to worry about being stranded in the woods on my own because I managed to dehydrate myself.