Fields turned into ponds, creeks into rivers and paths into streams, again.
Day 51 – Trail Mile 965.8
The first day of relief from the heat, finally a more suitable temperature made for a good start to the day on the Parnell Segment. Apart from a few downed trees I had to manoeuvre across and around this was a pretty nice start to the day.
Unfortunately weather turned against me again with thunderstorms rolling in, the day turned fairly wet pretty quickly with the downpour of rain so strong that it had turned the sandy path into a stream of water which made navigating the segment difficult. As this one runs through a State Park there are a number of side trails and unfortunately the marking was not as clear as it usually is with only a few wooden posts highlighting the correct route and the constant stream of water made looking up to keep an eye out for the few blazes difficult.
After getting completely drenched and with no stopping of the rain in sight I finished the day after completing the segment.
Day 52 – Trail Mile 982.4
I arrived back at the trail in sunshine but a threat of more rain. The day started out dry from above however the previous day’s rain left the tall grass of the Greenbush Segment wet and I saw myself getting drenched by walking through the chest high fields of the trail. It wasn’t long before rain set back in again turning this into another rather wet day on the trail.
To dry off I took an extended break after completing the segment to then return to the trail for a short connecting route along the roads to the next segment, now in sunshine and certainly happy about a slight increase in temperature.
I feared the worst for the La Budde Creek Segment due to the rain of the last 48 hours but luckily it wasn’t as bad as anticipated, the overgrown grass only went to the knees and the afternoon sun had done its job in drying things off a bit. Only a few puddles of standing water caused some damp feet, but it was the end of the day, so only a short time until I could change back into dry socks and shoes.
Day 53 – Trail Mile 1015.2
Setting out to a challenging days, some 30 miles of connecting route along tarmac roads in direct sunlight – where’s the sun when I’m in the woods?
I never thought that these road walks would be so exhausting, having done a fair bit of my preparation along walks I was used to doing 20 miles on pavements and roads, but going 30 miles on solid surface was much more impact on my knees and ankles than anticipated, I’ll be glad to see the end of connecting routes.
Day 54 – Trail Mile 1035.1
Starting out on another town segment in Manitowoc the day didn’t bring much relief from those 30 road miles of the previous day. Overcast and drizzling the weather wasn’t ideal to see the sights either, but the trail took me along the shores of Lake Michigan and the rising fog looked quite stunning.
I was fortunate enough to be joined by my former trail angel for a few hours so we walked the Dunes segment together.
(Un)fortunately the rain held back while we were in the woods, so while we could enjoy the walk without getting wet from above (that’s not to say we didn’t get wet from below – puddle alert), the mosquitoes got a nice lunch out of us as well. But at least the good company distracts from all the negative things the trail throws at me.
From the Dunes Segment I was headed back onto another urban segment through the City of Two Rivers. Continued drizzle meant I just rushed through most of it before reaching the sandy ground of Point Beach along Lake Michigan.
Point Beach was one of the segments I particularly looked forward as it looked pretty on paper. The start surely didn’t disappoint, walking across sandy dunes over some wooden boardwalks up to the water. This was all well and good until hitting a hip deep inlet to the lake. I assume the depth and current of this was due to the rain of the last few days and as I didn’t fancy my chances of swimming through that I turned around and walked along the trail on the road and another cycle path to rejoin the segment further north and away from the lake shore.
Day 56 – Trail Mile 1054.2
The rain has finally cleared out of the area so the day started dry, sunny and breezy making for a comfortable road walk to the Mishicot Segment. Unfortunately the rivers in the area have flooded, severely in places, making this day another wet challenge. Mishicot started off as another walk through town before heading back into the woods and then across flooded fields, yes, I did walk around these as it’s hard to judge how deep these puddles of standing water are, or what kind of pesticides and other things may be swimming in them!
Unfortunately it was the same game for the East Twin River Segment as the river levels were still high and the water standing on parts of the trail.
The day ended with another official connecting route to the Tisch Mills Segment.
Day 57 – Trail Mile 1082.0
Reunited with my hiking partner Sean for the final weekend the day started out overcast but dry, that’s until we reached Tisch Mills Creek – my last fording of a river, so I was certainly glad to have some company – just in case!
I feared that due to the heavy rains of the past few days that the creek has been turned into a slush of brown water, like all the other rivers, but luckily it wasn’t. It was still a clear stream making for a more pleasant experience than anticipated. Although it was certainly deeper than I expected with the level reaching above my knees when it usually is only about ankle deep.
Unfortunately the creek crossing wasn’t the only wet part of the segment as the theme continued on the other side, where the nearby river had clearly flooded the area quite a bit, we were quickly back in ankle deep river water for most of the segment.
The day ended with another seemingly endless road walk, but luckily time flies when you have good company along the way.
Day 58 – Trail Mile 1094.5
Due to a delayed start we didn’t get much done today, but the Kewaunee River Segment was another cycle path, running on another disused railroad track. While these types of paths don’t tend to offer much in the way of views, the are at least level and easy to walk. Due to the proximity of the river we did get some enjoyable sights, crossing a few bridges and running along some open farm land.
We also had additional company for part of the way, as a local lady joined us on her morning stroll with her dogs. It is always nice to meet those who live near the trail, although these spontaneous occurrences are, rare we found a real gem today – quite literally, as it turned out that Joy is a local artist crafting jewellery.
The day ended with the threat of more rain as a dark cloud pulled up ahead of us – but luckily we finished the segment on a dry note.
Day 59 – Trail Mile 1113.9
This is my penultimate day on the Ice Age Trail, nearly there, nearly there!
Unfortunately this doesn’t mean an end to rain or connecting road walks, so here we go again, from Kewaunee to the Forestville Segment.
Luckily the weather was good for my last road walk, sunny, dry and breezy and luckily I made it part way up the Forestville Segment before heavy rain showers came in.
I made a little detour on my way back to basecamp tonight to pick up a little gift from the lovely Joy, the local artist I had met along the trail yesterday. – Thank you for a great Wisconsin souvenir!
To see more of Joy’s crafts or to get your hands on a piece of handmade jewellery please visit her website http://www.wildprairiesilver.com.