Ice Age Trail Monches 4.17.21

Ice Age Trail: Monches

Spring in Wisconsin! Blue skies ahead and hoping to see lots of spring blooms on our hike at the Monches segment of the Ice Age Trail!!


Tiny Umbrellas, Sure I’ll Take a Cocktail!

The Monches segment starts off with a steep climb in the woods, then evens out to just some slight hills and a wide-open forest, making it a pretty easy trail. This early part still seemed brown, not much life. Then we ran into these little guys which reminded me of a little drink umbrella! They are called Mayapple, so I guess they are a bit early this year! Be careful not to let your dog eat them, they are highly poisonous. They were off the trail so it wasn’t a concern.

“Spring reminds us that resilience is only a season away.” – Angie Weiland-Crosby

Green Carpet

We passed through a small prairie and BAM, the forest floor seemed to come alive. The forest floor was covered in green! It was such a fast transition. Hiking this several times before. I knew the Oconomowoc River was to the left, but we couldn’t even see it yet! Finally, I felt like the forest toughed out the winter and was beginning its new growth.

To Preen or Pose

Maxie pulled us over to the river and reminded us that we always pause here, take in the sounds, the calming stream of water.  A geese couple entertained us as they swam up and one stood on a rock. Then the other took its position on a rock close by. They didn’t know I was trying to get a photo of the two of them and they weren’t posing. They kept poking themselves with their beaks. I was curious what in the world they were doing and it’s called preening. OK, I had to look it up too. Preening is a way birds clean their feathers. They remove dirt and parasites as well as distribute oil to their feathers. Check out this article in The Spruce for more details. 

The Finale?

While the trees themselves were still pretty stark, they let in more blue sky and sunshine. The bare shrubs allowed me a view of the river, which gets harder to see in late spring with more growth. I know the finale is typically at the end, but for this trail, the boardwalk is right about in the middle of this segment. The river curves and the boardwalk crosses at the widest section, giving a serene view in either direction. The benches invite you to come and have a rest. I always need to push myself to get up and keep moving. After the boardwalk, the river is now on the right and is so calm at this point. I took advantage of the minimal spring growth and enjoyed the view along the way. Houses are on my left and I ponder how awesome it would be to have the trail and river right in my backyard. 

Watch Out

We meandered away from the river and through a forest. As I was looking at the sunlight coming through trees, all of sudden I was down flat on my side. Yep, those darn rocks. I tripped on one then skidded forward and fell. I laid there for a sec and then realized, whew, I’m OK. I don’t know how those trail runners do it. I would be falling on my face running over the rocks!

Blooms Abound

We planned to have lunch at another point where the trail meets up with a stream. As we approached there were flowers everywhere. Little tiny yellow ones were growing in the water. Patches of a cabbage-like plant were sprouting up bright green. Even a few daffodils popped up. It was such an awesome spot for lunch with the sound of the stream and blooms for a view. 

The Way Back

You’ve heard me say this before, but I love to see how different everything looks on the way back. Remember that carpet of green? Well, they ALL bloomed. Hundreds of tiny, delicate blooms came out since we passed them just a couple of hours before. I couldn’t believe it. The plant is called White Fawnlily and only bloom for a few days. I feel so lucky we got to see them. 

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



Hike Details

Trail: Mix of dirt and rock

Trail type: Out and Back (3 miles each way to the picnic area) 

Parking: WI Parks sticker required


Bathroom facilities: Nope, just nature’s wide open spaces

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!

5 Comments on “Ice Age Trail Monches 4.17.21

  1. Monches is no doubt, a super cool stretch of Trail that I’ve grown very fond of. Like all sections of the IAT, it’s always a blast to see the Trail during different times of year. This one is always a fun hike – cheers!

  2. Hi,
    I love reading your blogs. About the Minches segment, do you happen to know the location to park on the other end? The dog and I just can’t do a six mile round trip. We parked at the Hwy K lot and went about half the trail. We’d love to see the other half.
    Ann and Rocky the dog.

    • All Trails app says …Parking area on south side of Funk Rd. A short spur trail on the east side of the lot leads to a short spur trail where Monches and Merton meet.
      I have made it about a 1/2 mile short of that end. There a beautiful little creek.

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