Day 7 – IAT Mile 86.6 to 108.7

Ladies and gentlemen, friends.  Someone must be held accountable for incorrect waypoints on the Apple Maps application.  When we arrived at the Dairy Queen address on Main St in Haugen, WI, it was a residential home.  Undeterred and hungry for what we had been craving all day, we knocked on the door and asked that the home owner give us ice cream in exchange for American currency; they refused.  After about an hour of arguing we recommended they either start serving ice cream as Apple Maps says they do or change their address.  I’ll monitor the situation and report back next year.

Today’s hike started at the Bear Lake Segment and on into Tuscobia.  Bear Lake was back to the single track hiking Brianna and I do so enjoy, at least for a bit.  Eventually, the trail melded into a Cub Scout camp where you could see cabins, practice shelter buildings, even an amphitheater.  The camp was deserted of cubs, but there were a group of kids swimming in the nearby lake, we exchanged a “hello” as we hiked by.

Over 5 miles of road walking separate Bear Lake and Tuscobia.  As you may have guessed, we did not get DQ as we had hoped.  We did stop in the Hausen Village Store where a kind old lady talked me into buying some Wisconsin cheese curds my Mountain Dew & Brianna’s Ruby Red Squirt.  The curds were pretty delicious.  She also asked me sign her guest book, so I put a little note in about the trail and signed Brianna & I’s name on it.

Tuscobia is another abandoned railroad turned recreational trail, like the Gandy Dance except better.  Unlike the Gandy, Tuscobia has softer dirt paths, easier on the knees.  Wide and well maintained trails led to less bugs, for the most part, until we got halfway through and hit a patch of wetlands on both sides of the trail.

It was a long day, but no day is truly long when Shauna is still here hanging with us.  Shauna got us another campground, this time in Birchwood, with a $.50 x7 minute shower.  We showered up and hit the local Bluegill Bar & Grill, which didn’t have Bluegill anywhere on the menu, but was still delicious.

There is something worth sharing about the city of Birchwood.  The city has country music playing throughout the entire downtown.  Downtown isn’t big, it was just a bit odd to drive down the street and hear Dolly Parton the entire time.

Hit 100 miles today.

🎶 My feet hurt, my knees hurt, and I don’t love Jesus 🎶 

-Brianna was singing this as we were laying in the tent getting ready for bed.

Day 8 – IAT Mile 108.7 to 128.6

Hiking sometimes feels like an endless game of ‘would you rather’.

Would you rather walk on hard pavement or on a slightly less hard gravel but slanted side road?

Would you rather walk with your face free and fight off flies and mosquitoes or put a bug net on and be hot?

The correct answer is, Jack Nicholson 1974.

Today was hot.  The high wasn’t too bad but it was in the 80s by 10-10:30am.  We started the day with a 2+ mile road walk before reaching the Hemlock Creek Segment, which was a mix of shade and open areas.  Our pace slowed considerably due to the heat, it was 30 mins of walking followed by 20 min breaks.  It was slow and brutal but a necessary approach.  We will need to start getting up earlier and taking advantage of prime temperatures as the summer days get even more hot.

Halfway through our day and right around lunch time, we came across an oasis of a park.   Murphy’s park has everything: toilets, water, a trash can, picnic tables in a roofed shelter.  We stayed in the park for at least an hour, eating lunch, resupplying water, laying on the ground and counting our lucky stars.  

The Blue Hills was our second and most challenging segment of the day.  Much of the IAT is multi purpose trail and the Bill Hills shares much of its length with two track ATV roads.  It lives up to its name, very hilly.  I bet ATV riders love all the ups and downs, all the random nearly impassable by foot boggy areas.  I’m really happy for them.

My favorite part of the Blue Hills Segment, oddly enough, was the swamps.  There were parts where the trail was below the water line, held up only by old beaver dams.  I’ll include a picture here so you can see one.  If Wisconsin doesn’t have the highest beaver population in the USA, I bet they are the happiest in the USA.  Those critters have HUGE homes in every swamp and the swamps are plentiful.  We had to walk over more than a couple beaver dams.  Again, the bugs are bad, but I’m grateful not to be hiking the trail during a wet season.  I imagine these beaver dams overflow and make a right mess of things.

Blister report:  5 blisters in total.  x1 on each of my pinky toes, x1 in between my big toes on each foot, x1 on the right side heel of my right foot.  I get this heel blister on every hike, I suspect it has to do with the fact that my right foot naturally angles in just a bit to the left when I walk.  Not sure why that is, but it’s been that way for a while.

Tonight has us at Rose’s Bay Resort.  That’s right, we are thru hiking and staying at a resort!  It’s actually an 80s style cabin with two bedrooms, a small kitchen and a pooper.  The bar is next door, so we grabbed a couple of pizzas and some Wisconsin beers for cultural indulgence purposes.  We are making campground and other reservations at the last minute so our options are what they are and we take them as they are available.  On one hand, it’s hard to imagine what life will be like once we are alone here.  On the other hand… let the times roll :-).