Wildflowers, grasses, and a nearly shoeless hiker

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Russ Helwig | September 18, 2013

Norwin Watson took over the walk on Tuesday. Several regular hikers including all of those hiking on Tuesday had hiked the nine and two-tenths mile, blue-blazed Nordic Ski trail previous day. As a result they did not wish a long hike so hiked around Lake LaGrange which is less than three miles. The hikers reported that it was a good but uneventful hike. They were looking for a plum tree that they recalled seeing before with the hope that they would find some ripe plums but they did not find the tree.
Ellen Davis reported the following on the short hike on Wednesday:

Cooler temperatures and a nice breeze made this a good day for a trip to the Lulu Lake State Natural Area.  Eleven of us car-pooled to the trailhead off County Highway J, and set off past the only remaining evidence of an old homestead:  an area of garden phlox gone wild in the woods.

The trail led us through a restored prairie dominated by the rich brown of Indian grass seed heads and the bright yellow of goldenrod and sunflowers, accented by the subtler greens of shorter grasses and the occasional frothy white of early asters. 

We lost the breeze as we entered the woods.  The trail led us downhill through an oak savannah, with a deep kettle on the left and a rocky moraine on the right. By the time we reached the bottom of the slope the terrain had changed again, with dogwood, young willows, and other water-loving plant life predominating. We could see the tamaracks growing at the far edge of the bog though the bog itself was largely screened from view.

Ellen also reported that they saw lots of wildflowers including grass of Parnassus and some ladies tresses orchids. Unfortunately nobody on her walk had a camera.

In the meantime the rest of us, twenty in all plus a canine friend carpooled to the intersection of the Ice Age Trail with Clover Valley Road to hike back to our meeting place for a hike of about four and three-quarters miles.

About a mile into the hike one of our hikers noticed that the sole of one of her hiking boots was coming off as was the heel of the other. Lynn Larson had a couple Velcro strips which held them together for another half mile when booth soles and heels started coming off. Then I took out my first aid kit and found a roll of tape. Other hikers then taped the sole and heel back on. By the time we got to Esterly Road the patches were beginning to fail. This was just under three miles into the hike with two more miles to go. The now shoeless hiker decided to stay there and Janet Bryant stayed with her while the rest of us went on. After the walk Norwin returned to pick up the stranded hikers to return them to their cars.

This is the first time we have had this happen to anyone on a hike. Normally hiking shoes don't do this, or if they it happens more gradually so one can finish the hike. Guess this is another reason to take some duct tape along other than for just covering blisters.

Happy Trekking,


Thursday, Sept. 19, 6 p.m., potluck/moonlight hike. Bring a dish to share to Lynn and Robert Larson's home, W2275 Swoboda Road, East Troy. Eat, hike, and share great camaraderie under a full moon. Contact Lynn Larson, (262) 642-3980.

Saturday, Sept. 21, trail work. Meet at U.S. Highway 12 trail crossing, five miles east of Whitewater, dressed for trail maintenance work. Contact Jerome Converse, (262) 473-7304.

October 2-6, MSC trail building at St Croix Falls. Contact: Gary Klatt, 262-473-4973.

Saturday, Oct. 5, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Xtreme Hike for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Volunteer to hike a 5-, 10-, 15- or more mile section of the trail to help guide participants on a portion of the 30- mile hike from Scuppernong Trailhead to Rice Lake, or provide shuttle service for participants and volunteer guides for a portion of the hike, contact Danelle O'Neill at the CF Foundation, (262) 402-6660, doneill@cff.org.

Saturday, Oct. 12, Uline Hike. Hikers and shuttle crew needed for hike from Oleson Cabin to Rice Lake, a distance of 9.2 miles. Start time 9 a.m. at Oleson. Contact: Russ Helwig, (262) 473-2187.

Weekly Walks: Meet each Tuesday at 4 p.m. and Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the U.S. Highway 12 Ice Age National Scenic Trail crossing, located about four miles east of Whitewater, about a quarter mile east of the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 with Sweno Road. The parking lot is at the west end of Sherwood Forest Road, which is a short road that intersects U.S. Highway 12 at each end. All ages are welcome. A current state park pass is required to park a car at the U.S. Highway 12 meeting place. A daily or yearly pass may be purchased at the meeting place provided correct change is available. Passes are available at the forest headquarters between Palmyra and Eagle on Wisconsin Highway 59. A park pass is not required to park at the forest headquarters.

Russ Helwig is a volunteer with the Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance. (262) 473-2187, www.iceagetrail.org

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