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 :-).