Day 1 – IAT Mile 0 to 8.9

Rain that was supposed to come early this morning didn’t arrive until much later.  Athena sleeps in her bed between Brianna & I in the tent and has been sleeping well when fireworks or are loud noises aren’t booming around.  Unfortunately for me, Athena’s internal clock has not adjusted to central time zone just yet, she woke me up with face kisses at 0500 and continued relentlessly until I submitted to taking her for a walk.  Athena will be heading back to the Farm in Michigan with Penny and Curt Saturday morning.  Being away from our pup for two months is not my favorite thing.

Day 1 of our 1,100+ mile hike started with a drive to the Ice Age Trail Western terminus in St. Croix Falls.  All six of us made the trip to the official plaque for pictures, only Rick, Curt, Brianna and I went onto the 8.9 miles of hiking.  Don’t get me wrong, the Ice Age Trail is what I thought it was… mostly, it’s just not exactly as I knew it would be.  What I mean is that I expected the trail to be a solid mix of trail walking and road walking, I just define road walking differently than the map makers.

Map makers think that if you’re on a sidewalk next to a road, that’s trail.  Only when you’re walking on a road itself do the map makers count that as road walking.  I’m not complaining, I enjoyed our tour through St. Croix, especially the part where I found a torn up $20 bill on the side of the road. It’s just humbling to have spent so much time pouring over maps and not catching something that is now so obvious.

Today’s trail was immaculate.  The trail maintenance for this first part of the IAT was on point, well marked with clear paths.  Rain was light all day, cooling us more than slowing us down.  We started at mile 0 around 0900 and were in the back seat of Shauna’s vehicle for our ride back to camp just a little after 1pm, an average mph of 2.2.  My calculations for how many miles we can do in a single day take into account multiple short chill breaks and a long as we want lunch break.  2.2 mph is pretty great, right where we need to be on day 1.

My favorite part of today’s hike was the many meadows we walked through in the drizzling rain.  The smell of rain on pasture land and meadows makes me happy.  There were many beautiful river views, sweeping landscapes, a few difficult climbs… but meadows and horses win today.  

After the trail, we are weathering a slightly harder rain at base camp.  Our replacement rustic campground does not have electricity readily available.  Curt, Rick & I have been spending some time at the campground bar with Old Milwaukee beers, charging our phones while we drink.  This should be the last day of rain, but the electricity problem remains.  I really do not want to use my charging battery until our support family leaves.  Charging batteries would take a lot of campground beers to fully charge back up :-/.