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Trail Angels

I walked 53389 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 26 miles today.
A funny thing happened on the way to Polar today...
Papa Bear read in the Ice Age Trail guidebook that a bar-n-grill in Polar, WI is hiker-friendly and may let you camp behind their place. With that in mind, we set our goal for today to be that grill. It would be a casual 23 miles with a long break in Antigo during the hottest part of the day, and we'd reach Polar around dark.
The roadwalk from Antigo took awhile to get going - checking for stove fuel (never did find any), grocery stop, WalMart stop, bathroom stop after too much pop at McD's. Finally, we were walking.
Heading due east, the sun setting behind us, it was a nice walk to Polar. When we got there, we thought the grill was farther ahead so we walked past the recommended route turn in the dark. After going farther than we figured was appropriate, we called the place. We could continue on and turn north or backtrack and turn north to reach them - same distance. So, we went forward.
A few minutes later, a car pulled up by us and asked if we were hiking the IAT. They invited us to their place along the route just up the way. They had seen us on the road earlier when they drove to Antigo and hoped they would find us again. TRAIL MAGIC!!!
So, after a shower, food, and conversation, I'm sending this just before bed in the home of yet more amazing trail angels.
You have opportunities to be a trail angel all the time - no trail is really needed to offer hospitality to others. It's up to you to notice and take those opportunities.

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Posted: 22:04 09-11-2013 1037
Changing Forests

I walked 37688 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 17.5 miles today.
A few separate trail segments were completed today with a wide range of terrain and plantlife. We ended the day with a roadwalk. Check out my current location on the map.
The forest over the past couple days is migrating from prairie and oak to more pine. Many acres of land have been planted in pine to be harvested just like any other crop. Pine forests make great camping spots as we've experiened the past two nights. They also hold many deer at night that get startled and snort when they discover our tents. It makes for fitful sleep but still fun.
Many turkey and deer crossed our path today as well as a few snakes. I don't mind the first two but could do without the last.
Total miles is short today because trail angels Jon and Nancy shuttle our vehicle and hosted us tonight. They are wonderful, outgoing folks and I hope to post more about them tomorrow. Right now, I've got to get some rest on this REAL bed. I feel great after 5 days of camp grime was removed in the lake and then a quick shower.

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Posted: 22:37 09-06-2013 1027

We met this little guy on the trail this morning. Anyone have a guess as to what kind of snake he is?
The temperature is steadily risng today and our forested trail walks are done - only road walking for the next hour or so until our friends find us and we call it a day.
We met a great local guy named Randy on the trail yesterday and again today. He likes to hike the trail for exercise, nature, and solitude. Taking a few minutes to visit with him was a fun break.

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Posted: 12:29 09-06-2013 1026
Half Way

I walked 54800 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 26 miles today.
Our campsite is almost exactly at the halfway point of the trail. Check out my current location on the map.
I know the actual trail miles change as new sections are created and reroutes occur, but with the best data we have this is the spot. I expect the second half to go quite a bit faster since our legs are stronger, the weather has cooled, and there will be fewer restaurants and such to visit. :-)
So, here's a picture of what my home away from home looks like now.

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Posted: 19:29 09-05-2013 1025
John Muir

John Muir had a huge impact on the wild places of our country. He founded the Sierra Club. This memorial park to him has a spring-fed kettle lake and a trail around which is part of the Ice Age Trail. Yes, we walked the loop :-). This was after our morning grass walk to get our shoes nice and moist :-(
With the good sun, our shoes are drying quickly.

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Posted: 12:53 09-04-2013 1019
Aldo Leopold Center

We're up before daylight and on the trail through fog and sunrise. It's cold this morning - about 44 degrees - so we walk to warm up.
All roadwalks today heading to Portage and we've reached the Aldo Leopold center. Very nice building (with bathroom) so we're taking a break to check out the displays. He had a big impact on outdoor ethics and promotion of wild places. Hopefully, we'll find some water here also.

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Posted: 9:32 09-03-2013 1016
Gibraltar Rock

I walked 24378 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 11 miles today.
Picking up right where we left off at the Lodi Marsh, we started hiking at 5pm today. The hike into Lodi was great! The trail was well maintained, the temperature was comfortable and the humidity was much lower. It felt wonderful to be back on the trail again, strolling over the miles.
In Lodi, we met a family having ice cream and talked about the IAT with them a bit. Then, we met the owners of a beautiful house that we were admiring right on the trail through town. They've made it into a B&B and they were very friendly folks asking us if we needed anything. We also met a past mayor of town who offered directions though we were fine with our maps.
You probably figured out all this chatting took up some time. :-). Leaving Lodi, the breeze, setting sun, and fresh air were perfect for walking more miles. We completed a nondescript section and then roadwalked around Gibraltar Rock which is shown in this photo. We hiked on until about 9pm - well after dark - to our camping spot under some nice pine and walnut trees.
The crickets and fireflys are out and it's time to rest for another day. Tomorrow, we ride the ferry!

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Posted: 21:02 09-01-2013 1012
Back On Trail
hiking food
Leaving for the trailhead in an hour. Anxious to get moving again and looking forward to the 20 degree drop in temperature and new terrain to cover.

We picked up more supplies for the next month and that's one of the best parts of long hikes - I get to eat pretty much anything I want and as much of it as I can hold. :-)
You might notice that some of this is not healthy food you'd want your family eating every day, but on the trail we're trying to get lots of calories in a light load. I do have fish, cheese, crackers, raisins, and noodles besides all these snacks.

Camera and cellphone are charged. Maps are ready. Clothes are washed. Ready to go.

I sure hope we run into some scouts or hikers out on the trail during the next week or so. That would be a fun surprise!

Scout On
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Posted: 10:15 09-01-2013 1011
Monthly Contest
boy scout contest
I get back on the trail tomorrow, picking up where we left off around Lodi, WI. The high humidity and heat stayed around longer than hoped and rides to the trailhead worked out that made Sunday the best day to start. 450 miles completed and 650 left to do.

Before I leave, I'll be picking the monthly contest winners of Scout Shop gift cards and coupon. So, be sure to enter the contest tonight or you'll miss out until next month.

Remember, if your troop or pack is in Wisconsin, I'd love to have you hike with us on the Ice Age Trail. You can see where we are at the Hiking Dude site.

Scout On
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Posted: 15:39 08-31-2013 1010
Lost Phone
We made it to Whitewater Recreational Area yesterday and finally met up with Peter and his wonderful family in Janesville (they are in Scouting). The whole story is much longer, but I misplaced my cellphone in Paul's Porsche and I'm hoping he finds it and calls my hiking buddy's phone.
We met Paul on the trail and hiked with him about an hour into Whitewater rec area and he then offered to drive me to pick up our vehicle so I could move it forward on the trail. When he dropped me off and left, I realized I did not have my phone. The phone is how I take pics and make blog entries from the trail. I expect it's on the floor of his car. By the way, it was a most excellent ride!

Right now, I'm in the Milton, WI library which is right on the trail but will not be making any blog entries for the next few days until Paul notices the phone or checks in here and sees this post. :-)

Other than that big mistake, the hike is going well. My right leg still hurts but an Ace bandage I bought at 5:30am this morning has helped a lot today.

If anyone is planning to thru-hike the Ice Age Trail, DO NOT do the Storrs Lake segment. The trail is under at least a foot of water for a few hundred yards - and they've not had much rain here. It was a fun adventure, but I'd skip it next time. Fortunately, we found a manufacturing plant just after the segment in Milton that had an outdoor faucet in the shade.

I'll write when I can. You can still follow our progress via my Spot at this page.

Hike On
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Posted: 14:40 08-16-2013 1002
Lapham Peak

We're on top of the tower at Lapham Peak - don't know who decides when a hill becomes a peak, but it's an amazing view for 50 miles in all directions! You'll need to tilt your screen to see the tower :-)
We can see Holy Hill far in the distance to the north which was our starting point yesterday. Now, we had southwest through the Kettle Moraine.
Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 7:47 08-14-2013 998
Eagle Projects

Along the trail, there have been quite a few Eagle Projects done to improve this great resource for people exploring the natural world of Wisconsin.
Here is an example of a bench. We noticed 3 benchs in this project but there were probably more. These benchs provide welcome rest for hikers and they appear to get lots of use - not by us of course, as we walk on by all day. :-)

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Posted: 11:50 08-13-2013 995
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