Should we, shouldn’t we? The forecast called for rain, but hey, we have gear, let’s do it!
Am I in the woods or at the beach?
We had hiked the Ice Age Trail Scuppernong segment a few times this past year and picked it because the forecast called for rain…pretty much all day. Scuppernong is a mix of forest and pine forest, so we were hoping the trees would protect us a bit if it started to rain. BONUS, I had forgotten, this trail is either a sand mix or pine needles pretty much the whole time! Not only did my feet feel cushioned in every step…there was NO MUD!
Hints of Green
Early on, I was noticing green growth on the forest floor. Buds were sprouting on honeysuckles. Moss was covering every tree stump. The forest was finally starting to come back to life!
When I start a hike, it takes me several minutes to “settle in” and to start noticing things. Kurt and I are typically chatting, finishing our conversation from the ride to the trailhead. After a couple of quiet minutes, I realized we were being serenaded by a chorus of birds. The different birds were all calling back and forth to each other. Then, when we turned a corner, Maxie all of a sudden jumped and a huge owl flew away saying “WOOT, WOOT, WOOT” for a grand finale.
“Leave no man behind.”
This saying dates back to the Latin phrase nemo resideo, or “leave no one behind,” It is also part of the U.S. Army Rangers creed. (Source CNN) Well, Maxie has also decided it would be her motto as well. I don’t know how many times on a given hike I fall back, taking pictures, etc. only to look ahead and Maxie is paused, staring back at me just waiting for me to get close enough so that she can then go on about her hike. It’s comforting to know that Maxie always has my back.
No App Needed
The rain finally started and I was a bit excited because I wanted to test out my new raincoat. It worked! I was staying completely dry. The pitter-patter of rain in a forest is literally one of the most relaxing sounds. I mean, people pay for sound machines and apps to calm them. Here we were, walking through a pine forest, hearing all the calming sounds. Then, it hit us, the smell…aaaaah. Kurt even reminisced that the smell took him back over 25 years to a hike he did in Virginia in the rain. Crazy how a scent can bring back such strong memories.
We made it to a picnic area about 3 miles in…and yes…the bathrooms were open! The rain had paused and Kurt searched around for a picnic table. The last time we were here, we noticed ticks on Maxie as she was laying in some pine needles. Finally, he noticed a table on the concrete that was DRY. I literally couldn’t believe it. The pine tree above kept it from getting wet.
During lunch, we were noticing more ticks on Maxie. She does regularly take tick medicine, but it’s best to still keep an eye out. Her light colors make them easy to spot. No joke we probably pulled about 30 off of her during the hike and even a couple once we got home.
The Way Back
It had started raining again, a gentle, soft rain. It was soothing to hear as we trodded back. I love to notice things we didn’t see the first time. The log with a huge hole in it as I wonder ”who lives in there?” The rain droplets clinging to pine needles and branches. The fungus growing around the iconic yellow blaze.
Three Cheers for a Beer
The rest of the day was a rainout so we stopped at home to regroup. Maxie needed a shower! Then we headed over to Good City Brewing, East Side location. I was excited to try their Fan Favorite (awesomely named) White Ale, a wheat beer, and Kurt got the Big Time IPA. Grabbing a beer is such a great way to end the day. We chat about the hike and it helps to extend our “daycation”.
And that, my friends, is today’s Tail from the Trail.
Trail: Mix of sand, dirt, and rock
Trail type: Out and Back (3 miles each way to the picnic area)
Parking: WI Parks sticker required
Bathroom facilities: ONLY at the DJ Mackie Picnic Area about 3 miles in (not available during winter months)
Dog Friendly: Yes, must be leashed at all times. BYOB Bring Your Own (Poop) Bag! I did not see any bag dispenser. Please carry out your dog’s poop!
Dogs are allowed outside on their patio.