7/17 – today we start a nice, flat 18 mike walk on a Rails to Trails multi-use path along the Sugar River, that the Ice Age Trail shares with the Sugar River Trail. We will break this walk into two days, camping out overnight, as the only town enroute (Monticello) does not have any lodgings. The young and strong would do this walk in one day, but I am the old and not-so-strong, and I want to test out the healing of my foot.
We encountered a retiree bicycling group from Madison, and the riders walked with us a while and took our picture. They hadn’t encountered hikers on their bike trail before!
We have food for the journey, but the map doesn’t indicate a place to refill our drinking water today. A challenge! Jim has been carrying his water filter, and today will be his first chance to use it. By mid afternoon, we were hot and thirsty, so at the next bridge, Jim scooped up some Sugar River and squeezed it through the filter to refill our canteens. The Sugar River is not sweet, but the water was very welcome. We each carry two quarts of water (adding 5 lbs. to our packs) plus Jim fills a collapsible water container with another two quarts for supper and breakfast during our last water stop of the day.
As you can see by Jim’s fashionable outfit, the mosquitoes were out in full force today. Not only did we need our net suits plus Deet, we had to zip the suits all the way up to our necks. Walking along like this makes me feel like an astronaut in a space suit, viewing the world from a distance. Eating reminds me of watching the females in Muslim countries eat wearing their veils. You can do it, but it’s no fun… Joggers and walkers stopped to ask where they could get suits like ours. Answer: Amazon!
7/18 – in the morning we broke camp and walked the last 5 miles to New Glarus.
This town was settled by a group of Swiss immigrants in 1845, and they turned their town into a little Switzerland. Chalet architecture and painted cows everywhere!
Even businesses not trying to attract tourists express the Swiss theme:
After checking into the Swiss Aire motel, we ate an authentic Swiss pub lunch of Brats and local beer at Puempel’s Olde Tavern. Tomorrow, we will check out the tourist attractions!
7/16 – last night we shared dinner at the home of our new friends Todd and Susan, who we met at church on Sunday. Todd drove across town to pick us up from the motel, and Susan prepared a delicious meal – the first home made meal we’ve had in over a month. We shared conversation about kids and grand kids (they have 14!), and a good time was had by all.
This morning, Susan graciously volunteered to drive us the 29 miles to Albany, so that my foot can continue to heal. This saved us a horrendous road walk. She brought along some fresh and dried comfrey, known to herbalists as ‘bone-knit’, and home-made salve to further help my recovery. What a wonderful and thoughtful person! Thank you, Susan and Todd – it was so nice to get to know you!
Here in Albany we are staying at the Albany House B and B, the only inn in town. At the beginning of our hike, I thought there’d be many B and Bs along the way, but it turns out that these posh stays are usually out in the countryside, making them impractical for travelers on foot who need access to groceries and restaurants close by. We were happy that Albany House was right in town, although the Main Street of the little town is torn up for the summer, which made finding supper a challenge.
Also staying at Albany House were a group of artists who meet here each month at the studio behind the house for art workshops. They were great conversationalists and lovely company.
So, what did we have for breakfast? Fruit parfait, homemade coffee cake, spinach pie and bacon baked with black pepper and brown sugar. We waddled back onto the trail not needing to eat for the rest of the day!