7/8 – We were happy to bid farewell to the little town of Eagle and the Suhmer Saloon – did I mention that our room was about ten feet from the train tracks, and long freight trains went by morning and evening? See Jim’s video. That train whistle blast will wake you up in a hurry!
We had a clear, cool morning, after a night of rain. Remember what this means? Yup, wet boots and socks, and a stream where the trail should be. Oh well, that’s Wisconsin! We hiked through wildflower meadows, oak savannah, and dark woods, completing the Eagle, Blue Spring Lake and Blackhawk segments of the Ice Age Trail.
The highlight of the afternoon was climbing down to see the Elephant Stone, a much-touted highlight of the Ice Age Trail. Their logo is a wooly mammoth, so this may be why they are fond of this stone. I leave it to you to decide which part of this rock looks like an elephant..
By mid-afternoon, the mosquitoes went from annoying to voracious, and we both donned our full bug-net suits. The little buggers managed to fly down Jim’s collar to bite his back, and I kept getting them caught between my hat and the net – infuriating! We made camp, jumped inside the tent to get some peace, and ate our dinner inside the little tent too. When we got undressed for bed, dozens of dead bugs fell out of our clothes. Yuck!
7/9 – In the morning, we had about 3 miles of woods before the trail ended and we were back out on the road. We took a break to enjoy Lake La Grange, still as glass in the early morning.
Today we took a break from hiking to visit a tourist attraction called Old World Wisconsin, where German, Norwegian, and other immigrant farms have been reconstructed, and 19th century-dressed docents demonstrate farm craft (sort of like Colonial Williamsburg).
We had a great time playing tourist for the day, and talking with the blacksmith, hausfrau, schoolteacher, as well as taking pix of all the farm animals. The weirdest craft was watching a young girl skin and eviscerate a squirrel, and boil it up for dinner!
Back at the Suhmer Saloon, we befriended the guy in the next room, an ex-con who rents his room by the week. He struck up a conversation after noting that we wore Crocs on our day off… as Crocs are evidently the preferred footwear of the penitentiary set, he assumed we had also done time in the Big House. Oh my!
Tomorrow we are back on the trail for more adventure!
7/5 – Today we tackle Lapham Peak, the highest point in Waukesha County. (BTW, don’t try saying WauKEEsha, like I did. It’s WAUKesha.). Luckily for us, the trip up the slope was filled with wildflowers, butterflies and sandhill cranes, on a beautiful day with a high of 78 degrees.
There is a tower to climb at the peak, that gave us a great 360 view of the surrounding countryside.
The trail continued for several miles along a bike path, where we had fun jumping out of the way of cyclists going in both directions, who really didn’t want to share their road. One man stopped to ask what we were doing on the bike path, and we showed him that it was also the path of the Ice Age Trail. He became a Curious Townfolk at this point, and rode alongside us asking tons of questions about our experience until our trail turned back into the woods.
With the woods came the Return of the Mosquitoes, which had been blessedly absent for the past few days. We walked a total of 15 miles, which is a personal best for me, with no blisters or injuries, and made camp in an oak wood full of poison ivy, but we didn’t get any on us. Best news of all, it didn’t rain! Cue the Rocky theme song!
7/6 – Walked through the mosquito filled woods until we ran out of Deet, then walked out onto the road for our trek into Eagle. We don’t have high hopes for this place, but need provisions. The web says you can get a motel room at the local saloon. Can’t wait!
So who should offer us a ride on a Sunday morning? An Episcopal priest, on his way to celebrate Eucharist at a nearby parish! Father Noah took us right to the door of the Suhmer Saloon and wished us a blessed day. I wonder if we’ll be part of his sermon?