6/24 – As we packed our gear to leave Plymouth, Jim realized that the bag that held our ultralight stove, lighter and pen knife was nowhere to be found. After a frantic search, followed by a methodical search that included sifting through the trash and moving all the furniture, we added two miles to our day by hoofing it down to the Walmart on the edge of town to see if we could resupply. How lucky we were to have this happen in the first town we’ve been in big enough to have a Walmart! In an hour, we were back on track. Our new stove isn’t as light, but will get the job done.
We had a 7 mile road walk to get back on the IAT, the day was warm and sunny, and the roads all seemed to go uphill. Despite our best thumbs-out effort, there was very little traffic and no one seemed inclined to give us a lift. Just as we sweated our way to the top of a big hill, we spotted a nice old gentleman waiting at his mailbox with two bottles of cold water! He apologized that he hadn’t stopped when he passed us on the road because his back seat was full of parcels and dog, but now that the groceries were put away, could he give us a lift? He took us the last two miles to the trailhead, and showed us where to fill our canteens. Wisconsin People Are The Nicest!
Now we were back in the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest, with 30 miles to the next town, so we planned to camp out for two nights and average 10 miles a day. The challenges: this section has lots of hill climbing, there are few places level enough to pitch a tent, and our packs are heavier with three days worth of food, and as much water as we can carry. The mosquitoes were evident, but not as voracious as those we encountered further north. The payoff: some of the prettiest meadow and forest trails we’ve seen.
The first afternoon poured down rain, which not only soaked us and our stuff, but also turned the trail into a stream in many places. So much for my hope of keeping my feet dry! We slept cozy in our little tent, but had to get up in the morning and put wet clothes, wet socks and wet boots back on. Yuck!
The second day was clear, but we were either walking in deep forest shade, or crashing through waist-high meadow grasses, that got us wet all over again, so we didn’t really get a chance to dry out. That night, the temperature got so low that I had to get up in the middle of the night and put on my long johns (thank goodness there is no picture of that!)
The third day dawned sunny and clear. I was so cold that I refused Jim’s recommendation to put my wet socks back on, figuring that the trails must surely be drier today… My boots were soaked in ten minutes, and now both pairs of socks needed washing. Always listen to Jim! Because we did about 13 miles yesterday, we had an easy walk into the town of Kewaskum, and got in by lunchtime to the town’s only lodging, the Bonne Belle Motel. Time for a shower! The first Kewaskum residents to greet us. The Kewaskum yard kitsch award!