Ice Age Trail

(This page is under construction as of 3/28/18, part of a fits-and-starts revamp of my blog. I’ll be adding more posts about the trail here as I continue archiving material. As of Jan. 2021, I had walked a little over 550 miles. Many of my columns aren’t published online and none on the newspaper site are accessible for free;  I’m slowly posting them to my blog. Some of these columns contain additional material that is unrelated to the IAT.)

The Ice Age Trail, one of 11 National Scenic Trails, winds through Wisconsin from Sturgeon Bay and Peninsula State Park on the east to St. Croix Falls and Interstate Park on the west. It’s almost 1,200 miles long with a bifurcation in the middle that makes it look a little like the snake that swallowed an elephant in The Little Prince.  It’s a wonderful way to see Wisconsin, and I decided to do just that in February of 2017 after interviewing Mike Summers, the first person to do a winter thru-hike of the trail.

I’m doing a section hike (in bits and pieces) instead of a thru-hike (one continuous shot). Most of my hikes before April 2018 were chronicled in my column in The Portage County Gazette (“Outdoors Central” — discontinued at that time by the new ownership as a cost-cutting move).  Eventually I’ll include a few more links that I’ve found helpful for learning more about the trail.

Next to each link below is the month and year each original column appeared in the Gazette (exact dates are noted at the bottom of each post). Eventually I’ll finish archiving my nearly two-year backlog of columns (see “On The Road” link above). Among those will be many about the IAT.

My hikes

Harrison Hills quietly deliver a scary-good time (April 2018)

Ice Age Trail at Devil’s Lake offers heavenly wandering (April 2018)

Time to honor larger-than-life Wisconsin wonders and their champions (March 2018; Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame and Iola Ski Hill segment)

Hiking Lodi in winter?  Yes, peas (Feb. 2018; Lodi and Eastern Lodi Marsh Segments)

Murry Creek Segment helps the good times last (Feb. 2018)

Merrill School Forest a great first, second or third choice (Jan. 2018)

Unlike Bigfoot and broken promises, Baraboo is the real thing (Baraboo segment, Dec. 2017)

Baraboo, No. 2: Parfrey’s Glen awes year-round visitors (Sauk Ridge Segment, Dec. 2017)

Grandfather Falls brings history with the hike (Nov. 2017)

Dedication of landowners brings life to trails (Nov. 2017; Bob Ellingson and the New Hope-Iola Segment)

Setting the record straight on “Waupaca” (August 2017; not about the trail proper as much as the river it runs along for a stretch)

Muir exhibit leaving soon, but Muir Park easy to visit (Oct. 2017; John Muir Memorial Park and Muir Park Segment in Marquette County)

If you can put up with the Dells, you’ll love Mirror Lake (July 2017; no mention of IAT in this piece, but the park is adjacent to a connecting route for the trail and a good place to camp if doing a longer hike)

Leopold Center, Portage good bookends for Ice Age Trail connector (July 2017)

Moving forward tough while remembering the past (June 2017; Bohn Lake & Deerfield segments, plus connecting roads from between Bohn Lake and Deerfield and from Deerfield to Heffron)

Small steps in Marathon County good enough for now (May 2017; Plover River segment in Marathon County, plus Mission Lake, burial mounds, bladderwort and beer-battered bratwurst)

Skunk Lake a sweet winter hike (March 2017; Skunk and Foster Lakes segment)

National Trails: Too much to know, too little time to know them (Feb. 2017; south end of Kettlebowl Segment and Mike Summers’ winter thru-hike)

A few pictures of a Wisconsin jewel (Oct. 2016; gallery of photos from Hartman Creek Segment that didn’t make the paper.  Column to be posted soon.)

1,631 words of thankfulness and counting (Dells of the Eau Claire Segment; my 2015 Thanksgiving column)

Went camping. Wrote about it. (This was my first Gazette column, about a Dells of the Eau Claire camping trip and my first discovery of the IAT in our area, Oct. 2015)

Other links

Ice Age Trail Alliance home page