Day 10 – IAT Mile 143.7 to 164.3

You may be wondering how it is possible for a trail to stretch across all of Wisconsin.  The short answer is that it doesn’t really work that way.  The IAT and pretty much all other long trails are a patchwork of many small segments.  We walk through all kinds of land, State, County, privately owned. When a Trail organization, like the Ice Age Alliance, is unable to find a way to connect two pieces of land, they use roads as connector routes, a.k.a CRs.

Road walking is not my favorite, neither do I hate it.  We started our day today with a 13.4 mile CR.  I was never day dreaming about the road walking parts of this adventure before it all started, but the advantages are clear.  Our feet are dry, not having to trek through muck after yesterday’s downpour.  Significantly fewer bugs.  Much less likely to get lost.  Most of the roads are old country roads with few cars, which means I can take my phone out and write as we walk.  I’d like to download the Game of Thrones audiobooks and listen to some, lots of possibilities.

You might be asking yourself, “where do you go the bathroom on a 20+ mile road walk?” and I would simply say, “anywhere you can find cover.”  I had this concern and more, but you do what you gotta do, when you gotta do it and hope for the best.  That’s part of the adventure?

Another fact I have to remind myself about road walking is what happened to us on our NCT Manistee Trail hike back in June of 2020.   Brianna and I were road walking when a nice woman invited us in, bought us beer, washed our clothes, cooked us dinner and let us stay the night in their camper during a storm.  The trail community is small and strong, she took us in during prime COVID time without thinking twice. 

Road walking puts you next to people, and for better or worse, those are the people that will help you if things aren’t going well.  As a rough looking man with an ever growing beard, I appreciate that people will be more willing to help me when a cute Brianna is around.

This morning was a long CR AND probably our best morning yet.  We headed down the road with a water bottle each and some snacks, everything else stayed in the car.  Shauna had scouted ahead and reported back about an amazing beach access park with pit toilets just 10 miles into our hike.  Without packs on, Brianna and I made it to the park in under 3 hours.

The park was as Shauna had advertised, amazing.  We wasted no time in taking off our shoes off and dipping them into the cold sandy water.  Brianna has been making jokes as we hike by swamps, wondering out loud when one will have a sandy beach.  Here is her sandy beach!

After lunch, it was time to shoulder our packs, finish the last few miles of our road walk and head onto the Chippewa Moraine trail.  This trail is worth the road walking price of admission, easily the most beautiful area we have hiked on the IAT to this point.  Our path weaved through and around untouched kettle lakes for 6 or 7 miles.  Native American trail marker trees dotted the path, directing us where to go as a cool breeze hugged our bodies throughout the hilly terrain.  We took breaks on the perfectly placed benches whenever we wanted.  For the first time on the trail, I stopped thinking about how many miles we had left to hike on the day.

Tonight is our last night with Shauna.  The race is on to restock our supplies for the next stretch of interesting hiking days: food, toiletries, hand sanitizer, Advil, medical supplies.  Anything we don’t have now will have to be picked up in the city of Cornell where the trail passes a local market.  Tomorrow is a short day and Sunday is a very long day.  Not the way we want it, just what we have to do for camping purposes.

2 Replies to “Day 10 – IAT Mile 143.7 to 164.3”

  1. It’s fun to see the pictures on Instagram and then remember that I can come here to get a better description. It’s so fun to follow along with you!

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