Ice Age Trail: Parnell Segment 1.16.21

IAT Parnell Segment 1.16.21

My second hike of 2021 in the books! More fresh snow and temps in the mid-30’s made it awesome winter hiking conditions. Really, I am a person who “runs cold”, but hiking with the right gear made it so enjoyable. The temperature was just warm enough that chunks of the fresh snow would just fall…sometimes right in front of us or sometimes on us! That’s when I would think to myself “The sky is falling!” ThIs trail is a mix of some hills and flatter areas. We passed Mauthe Lake, which was covered with snow, and saw many folks ice fishing. Then we came across the most picturesque bridge and stream. There is just something about the sound of a stream, isn’t there? We got another chance to cross a stream later too, this one even louder than the first. There were not many benches along this part of the trail, so we started looking for logs just before noon. Kurt found one a bit off trail with a gorgeous view of the woods, a perfect place for a lunch pitstop. Finally, we came upon an open area about mile 3, appears to be some prairie, but we will see in the spring!

“The Sky is Falling!” – Chicken Little

This was our first time on this segment, so it’s a little weird seeing it initially totally covered in snow! Even though it was winter, I could just imagine this hike in springtime. Sometimes I felt totally cozy and closed in by the tree cover and at other times I knew the sunshine would be peaking in where the trees were more spread apart. I can’t wait to see how the lake looks without snow!

As usual, Maxie had a blast trailing animal scents and diving her head into the snow only to come up just as quickly and galloping onto the next smell.

I had ALWAYS wanted to stop at the Cedar Valley Cheese Store in Belgium. The store is attached to a factory, so you figure it has to have some pretty fresh cheese! On the way home we finally made the stop and it was so cute and much more than cheese! Local honey, flavored aioli, cheese dips, beef jerky, wine, beer and tons of other locally made snacky stuff. Plus, they have  a little candy area with even those hard candy sticks you had when you were a kid. I settled on a couple hard candy sticks for the kids, Swiss cheese and their super fresh string cheese. The string cheese is HUGE and packed with flavor compared to the grocery store packaged kind…soooo good. This will be a new MUST STOP when we pass by!

And that my friends is today’s Tail from the Trail. 



Hike Details

Out and back hike 

Parking Pass: required

There is a parking lot just after you drive through the gate and was VERY crowded. Cars were double parked in, so hopefully they were part of a group! The start of the IAT is at this parking lot. We drove down a bit and parked in the next lot on the left. There is also a parking lot down by Mauthe Lake. 


Bathroom facilities: YES!


Cedar Valley Cheese Store



Bonus Track

Snowy or wet hike? Bring a blanket! We started bringing one when it first snowed figuring we have had to clear the bench or log of snow. It definitely helped keep my bottom warm when we stopped for lunch.

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