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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ice Age National Scenic Trail

March 8, 2012

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Cross Plains, WI

Table Bluff Segment

Once more, M and I took advantage of the warm winter weather and geared up for a hike on a portion of the Ice Age Trail in Cross Plains, WI. The weather that day was cold but the warmer weather we had earlier that week melted most of the snow from the trails. Table Bluff Segment had us climb up a hill that was about a 70 ft tall (my own judgment, not a real measurement). The trail going up the hillside was riddled with rocks and stones but it was relatively easy to trek. On top of the hill was a shelter with tables and grills and beyond that was tall prairie grass that led us into the woods. 

The trail was covered in moldy leaves and wet with melting snow. There were rocks beneath the mud which made it slippery so we tried to hike on the edges of the trail where it was drier. We headed downhill on this part of the hike and crossed a wooden bridge. After drinking some hot tea on the bridge, the path went up a steep hill and curved downwards onto the side of a wooded bluff. To the right of the trail was a steep drop which paralleled the road. The trail led us to the bottom of the bluff/hill where we were met with a water-logged farm field.

We crossed the soggy valley with the farm to our left and a field to our right. M and I then climbed up another hill on the other side of the valley and came upon another tall grass area. We hiked passed that and into some woods with beautiful birch trees. The last part of the trail had us hike in prairie speckled with small trees and ended at Table Bluff Rd. We then looped through another section of the farm field and climbed a ridge of woods back to the first valley we had crossed earlier. M and I proceeded to hike back to our car since we were back on the same trail from earlier. 

Overall, the hike was gorgeous, encompassing many scenic and diverse areas. The elevation gains were at times challenging due to the ice and mud but our trekking poles were very handy, saving us from slipping off the bluff. The weather was around 40 deg F so having some hot tea to warm us up was splendid. We each wore a polyester undershirt and shirt with a fleece and windbreaker. We also had on long underwear under our pants, just to make sure we wouldn't get too cold. It was a great 5 mile hike on a cold March day that also allowed us to break in our trekking poles. 

Rough estimate of the hike that we did

Table Bluff Segment

Marsh area next to where M and I parked

M hiking up the hill


Here I am with my trekking poles, trying to get used to them

On top of the hill

Prairie then woods

Guardian of the woods

Looks dry but was muddy and wet underneath the leaves

Follow the snow trail to get on the icy path that climbed up the bluff, had very steep drop off

Wet valley field

Farm on the left of the valley

Through the woods and back onto the prairie

Prairie and woods, downhill then to the end of trail

M at the bottom of the hill

Near the end of the trail

Looping back to other side of the field

Field between the two ridges

Going to go up the hill

Nice rest on hill top, ate snacks and drank tea

Back to beginning of trail

View of the hills/mounds in the area

M on a rock

Back to the car and last view of the hill

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