Another sunny day and I couldn’t wait to get out and hike. Forecast promised highs in the mid-40’s and after the early frigid February, I was ready! The trail starts off pretty hilly right away, then some pines, then birch trees, a really cool landscape. We were in a forest, but the bare trees let in tons of sunlight. Then, we hit a connector trail and on the road we passed a huge, untouched field. Maxie was pulling and pulling to go in. Kurt finally let her into it and she dove headfirst. It’s a blast watching her have so much fun.
The next section had deep snow…really deep snow. It was less than a mile to the next connector trail, so I don’t think many folks hit this small wooded area. It was fun to be in super deep snow, but glad it was only a short part. Most of the hike had an inch or 2 of snow and with all the hills it felt like we were taking a step…then slipping back a half of a step.
Another short connector trail led us to a bit more open area with woods to one side. Right about now is when we really started to feel that sun. I was waaaay too overdressed and I took off my fleece. We made our way over a huge boardwalk (thank you Ice Age Trail Alliance) and meandered through the curvy trail surrounded by hills. We got to the 3rd connector trail and started to look for a spot to eat. We kept walking… and nothing, not even a log. We made it to the end of the segment and decided to just turn around. This hike was harder than we expected with the snow and with multiple connector trails it seemed disjointed. We finally realized just how hungry we were! We finally found a tree where the sun had melted a small ring around it. We plopped our blanket down and had a picnic in the snow. It’s amazing how some food quickly revitalizes me! Afterwards I took off my extra snow pants and my sweater. Making our way back…yep, my coat came off, so I only had on a long sleeve top. Kurt was in just a T-shirt! Thankfully, I remembered to throw in some sunscreen! At the tail end, we plopped on a bench for a bit to soak in more sun and just enjoy the bright blue sky. I really loved this trail…except for the connector roads. It was quite scenic and had an interesting landscape so hopefully IATA will be able to fully connect the trail someday.
We were both so relaxed and just chatting that we missed the road to turn and head south! We finally noticed some cool farms we hadn’t seen before…because it wasn’t the way we came! BUT, we wanted to hit our new favorite cheese factory, Cedar Valley Cheese Store, on the way home, so we backtracked and headed back to 57. It was such a great day and these little mishaps are just stories to remember later.
So, there you go, I made it through February hiking every weekend in 2021. This is definitely new territory me…I had never hiked in winter, in snow, in temps below 50 degrees. BUT I did it…every weekend this year! I’m 9 for 9 weekends. This streak probably won’t last all year, kids soccer games will come up, etc. But right now, in a pandemic, hiking has been my escape, my calm, my happy place.
And that my friends is today’s Tail from the Trail.
Out and back hike
This was a little tough with the connector trails. At one of roads, we pulled up a IAT map from the Guidebook and were able to figure it out.
We started at Garten Rd., which had a spacious parking lot.
Cedar Valley Cheese Store
Get the string cheese! They also have those old time hard candy sticks. It’s worth the stop for delicious, high quality cheese, and lots of “Made in Wisconsin” items like maple syrup and honey.
Even in winter, don’t forget the sunscreen! The snow reflects and you can definitely get a burn!