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Creatures stirring along the Ice Age Trail

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Russ Helwig | April 16, 2014

Marv Herman writes:

The weather last Tuesday was just perfect for a short hike as eight hikers gathered at the U.S. Highway 12 meeting place at 4 p.m. Two, Jake Gerlach and his wife, are from the short hiking group and the others from the long group. We decided to commence the walk in a clockwise fashion around Lake LaGrange. When we got to the 1.8 mile mark, the Gerlachs took the horse trail back to the parking lot. The others continued on the Ice Age Trail another mile to the pine trees where we cut through to the horse trail where we were serenaded by chorus frogs and peepers in an almost deafening volume. Then to the set of two berms and back to the lot, a distance of five miles. All enjoyed the walk and were glad of the break in the long hard winter.
 
Seventeen long hikers assembled last Wednesday at the U.S. Highway 12 meeting place. It was there decided to reassemble at the Emma Carlin trails to walk the green signed bike trail.The frog chorale was evident there as well but not quite so loud as the night before at Lake LaGrange. The hikers were pleased to see along the trail small clumps of hapatica, known to be a harbinger of spring. The consensus was that the hike covered a distance of just under eight miles. Some hikers who had not been active on the trails over the winter got a chance to stretch their distances and most felt good about what they had accomplished so early in the spring.
 
After the hike most of the group reconvened at Edge of Town Restaurant in Palmyra for food and conversation.

I did not hike this week but Ellen Davis reported some of the more memorable things about the Wednesday short walk which I will attempt convey to you.

This walk took place at the Nature Conservancy property by Lulu Lake. The walkers found the whole area teaming with wildlife. First were the sandhill cranes which were heard throughout the hike and a pair spotted nearby as they arrived and again later on during the hike. Then it was a variety of ducks on the edge of the ice in the middle of the lake. They were too far away to positively identify. The ice was melted closer to shore and on the ponds. Spring peepers and other frogs were serenading the troops as they ambled by the kettle ponds. Later in the walk a foot long red-bellied snake was found sunning itself. Unfortunately Don disturbed the snake so it slithered away before Ellen was able to pick it up to see its red belly. Maybe it was just as well as the snake was probably traumatized enough. There was a pair of bluebirds and other bird species to enjoy.

A new bridge across the river had been built since they last hiked there.

In all it was a nearly three mile high quality hike. It shouldn't be too long before spring wildflowers will be able to be enjoyed as signs of the plants growing are beginning to show. Of course this was a warm day with temperatures in the sixties and it is to cool down by the end of the week.

Afterwards ten short distance hikers in three cars arrived at the LaGrange General store for lunch.

Happy Trekking,

Russ



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