Spring hiking in Wisconsin means layering. The forecast of a nearby town looked like shorts weather but when we parked at the trailhead we had gale force winds!
Back and Forth
Since there was a connector trail, I snapped photos of the map and segment description in the Ice Age Trail Guidebook. (Shop Ice Age Trail Guidebook) From the parking lot, the Guidebook said there was a short connector trail, then a lot of switchbacks. The back and forth started almost right away, so we knew we were going the right way. Up, up, up we went until we hit Bald Bluff. It was early in the hike to have such a fantastic view of the farmland and prairie below and I knew this would be a welcome rest stop at the end of the hike as well.
Where’s the Water?
We continued north, walking through the lush forest, green was starting to pop everywhere. Then, we hit a section of trail where the sand was so deep Kurt picked up handfuls and let it seep through his hands. I daydreamed about waves and a cocktail waitress, but no one came by to take our drink order, so on we went.
We made it to Stone Elephant, a glacial erratic. When glaciers pick up chunks of rock and carry it far, then deposit it, it’s called an erratic, source Ice Age Trail Glossary. This rock was HUGE so it’s hard to believe it could ever be moved. The Prairie Potawatomi Native Americans visited this rock frequently and considered the area sacred (Source: Ice Age Trail Guidebook).
We started to see a theme of a small hill up, then down, over and over. Since the leaves weren’t fully in yet, we had spectacular views all around of the hilly topography. The wind had died down and the temperatures were rising, pretty quickly the layers started to come off.
Pine trees make me feel small, yet protected. We sauntered our way through a vast pine forest. The trail leveled out here and had a sense of calmness. It was serene to smell the pines and walk on a bed of needles.
“He who has no dreams, let him go to a forest to have many.” Mehmet Murat Ildan
We turned a corner and once again the ground was lush and American plum trees were flowering. The temps were cranking up now and more layers came off. We stopped at a bench with a view and could hear the horses below. With a view of the prairie, horses neighing, and a gentle breeze my senses were taking it all in for a peaceful break.
The Way Back
The ups and down were taking their toll. What’s that song…”99 Bottles of Beer?” Well, we climbed 99 floors that day. Wowza, we could have been singing the count down each hill! Forgetting one last, huge hill to get back up to Bald Bluff, I huffed and puffed back up. It was worth it to take in the view again and have the wind cool me down.
Speaking of Beer
A cold one was in order and well deserved after the hike. We stopped at The Bavarian Bierhaus for a beer and rehashed the day. I finally tried their Haus Hefeweizen, which is my new favorite beer there, perfect for a hot day. Kurt gave 2 thumbs up to their Serenity Now IPA.
And that, my friends, is today’s Tail from the Trail.
Trail: Mix of dirt, rock and sand
Trail type: Out and Back
Parking: WI Parks sticker required
BALD BLUFF SCENIC OVERLOOK GOOGLE MAP
Use the spur trail to connect to the Ice Age Trail.
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!
Dogs are allowed outside in the Biergarten.
THE BAVARIAN BIERHAUS GOOGLE MAP
The day we visited, the Biergarten was not serving beer outside. We went in and ordered and brought them out. Check the website for times they serve the beer and food outside.
Spot on in your write-up. Really enjoyed this hike on the Blue Spring Lake segment. I agree – the Trail challenged my legs that day as I was pooped. Beer after hikes always hits the spot:)
Beer is always a great reward after a hike, but this day it felt especially deserved!