We started the hike and early on, there were hills all around us. We were walking on a ridge and I was so excited, hoping this hilly landscape would stay with us for the duration. The sun was shining and there were signs of snow melting all over. Initially, there were just a few trees where a ring had melted around the trunk. Then came a couple areas where I actually got to walk right on the trail for a few feet. Next, a couple ridges had bare hillsides, but still a snow packed trail.
We did get some views of the snow covered Milwaukee River, which I look forward to seeing when it melts. Even though we were in the woods the whole time, the trees were bare enough that we had plenty of sunshine. Most of the hike we had views of hills all around us and it felt intimate yet open all at the same time. If you do this hike, be sure to keep following the yellow blazes. We crossed a snowmobile / horse trail, clearly exemplified by the large mounds that lay on the trail! We had to keep a short leash on Maxie because well, she loves poop. We found a log off to the side of the trail and stopped for lunch. We had hiked just over 3 miles, which went by quicker than we thought.
On the way back, we took in all the views and noticed the snow had clearly melted even more from when we had started. At one point, the trail had turned into a tiny stream and water ran down the path. I noticed a quaint white church off the trail and I took a photo to try and look it up. The next day, talking to our priest after church, he had brought it up within 2 minutes talking to him! St. Matthias Church is apparently open in the summer and I definitely want to check it out.
I seriously can’t wait for some of the brewery patios and beer gardens to open up! But, in the meantime, we had our own craft beer and chicken wings later that night. We grilled them with just a seasoning mix my dad came up with years ago. My daughter likes them “plain” and my son dips them in hot sauce and ranch…everyone wins! Yum!
And that my friends is today’s Tail from the Trail.
Out and back hike
As you enter through the gate, a parking lot is on the right. The start of the Milwaukee River segment is across the road. As you start, you will see a sign that lists New Fane Shelter 1.0 mile. (If you go the trail closest to the lot and the bathrooms, that is the Parnell Segment, which I also highly recommend). 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!
Reading about this segment in my IAT guidebook, they talk about seeing the kames as you look out west from the bench. A kame is a hill of sand and gravel deposited from a glacier. Now you can be a smarty pants and let your fellow hikers know they are looking at kames when you get to the bench!