Tag Archives: Kettle Moraine

Plymouth to Kewaskum

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! image

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.imageimageimage

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.imageimage 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! imageThe first Kewaskum residents to greet us. imageThe Kewaskum yard kitsch award!

North Kettle Moraine State Forest to Plymouth

6/22 – although there is still plenty of forest ahead, we left the Ice Age Trail this morning to walk the Plymouth Trail into the town of Plymouth. The fine folks of this area laid a trail that runs parallel to, but not near, the highway, so we can walk in safety and comfort (unlike some other connectors we’ve been on), and provided benches, water, and even a port-a-potty. Thank you, people of Plymouth!

If you don’t share my love of signs, you can skip the rest of this post. Plymouth has some of the best hand-painted Walldog signs we’ve seen yet!imageimageimageimageimage

We also saw some interesting yard kitsch, and a super-sized Holstein cow:
When we got to our hotel and activated the wi-fi, I discovered that Betty the librarian (or Information Professional, as we prefer to be known these days) had sleuthed out this blog address, became a follower overnight, and reached out to offer assistance – librarians are the most resourceful folks ever! I may rename this blog The Nice Folks of Wisconsin.

One of the hot spots to visit in Plymouth is Chester’s, an old fashioned drive-in where the wait staff brings your food out to your car, and hangs a tray on your window. We were amazed at the number of customers that were lined up for the experience. Although we couldn’t share the full experience due to lack of car, we did walk up to order Chester’s signature root beer float and some of Wisconsin’s famous deep fried cheese curds. Our review: two thumbs up!image

Elkhart Lake to North Kettle Moraine State Forest

Our extra day in Elkhart Lake dawned rainy, driving the vacationers indoors or into town. The weather cleared by noon, so we walked into town for lunch, where I experienced the most delicious lean pastrami sandwich ever, with little sweet gherkins right on the sandwich! It turns out that some of the shops here don’t even open til Fourth of July, so this is still pre-season.image
Have I mentioned that we are now in Sheboygan County? Fun to say, and fun to spell!

6/21 – we bade farewell to resort life and walked out of foggy Elkhart Lake on Saturday morning. Five minutes past the edge of town, who should pull up but Jim, the nice man who picked us up on our way into town on Thursday! He and his wife were on their way back from the farmers market, and stopped to see if we needed a ride. What nice people! As our overall mileage today was pretty short, we thanked them for the kind offer, and walked on.

Before too long, we were at the trailhead for the northern Kettle Moraine segment of the Ice Age Trail. As we prepared to enter the forest, we came upon Betty and David, just emerging with their dogs, and swatting mosquitoes in a familiar fashion. They posed for a picture, as they are the first folks we’ve met actually using the trail.image
In the Small World department, Betty is a librarian!

The Kettle Moraine State forest is the hilliest section we’ve hiked so far, composed of rocks dumped by an ancient glacier. Due to all the rain, the rocks were slick and the going slow at times, but the hike was quiet and pretty. Here are some artsy shots, courtesy of Jim:imageimage
We completed our 10 miles for the day, and looked for a place to stealth camp for the night. Luckily, we got our tent and tarp up before the rain started again, and we were cozy and bug-free all night. This was the first time we were camping near trees that we could tie the tarp to, so we had a much bigger area to shelter our stuff. Have I mentioned that our bug tent has no tent poles? We hold it up with our two walking sticks and two lines. Ingenious little contraption!image