Day 12 – IAT Mile 182.4 to 207.4

Our morning started just the same as the night had ended, trail magical.  Our fantabulous hosts, Paul and Ann, made us coffee with a side of bacon, eggs and toast.  We all sat in their three seasons room for a while and chatted about our lives, getting to know one another better in the light of a new day.  It turns out that a popular bicycling trail runs through Cornell and they take in cyclists quite often, we were their first hikers.  I think we did our hiker community proud in cleaning up after ourselves and saying thank you on repeat.

After breakfast, Paul took us for a drive to view the beautiful park we were planning to stay at last night.  It would have been a much longer walk up than we thought!  Very pretty island park though, I can see why it’s so popular, seclusion of an island with access to the town resources just a short drive away.

Paul insisted on taking us by the Main Scoop ice cream shop and grabbing us each our own triple scope waffle cones before parting ways.  It was DELICIOUS.  I got dark chocolate with brownie and caramel swirls.  Brianna got pecan praline.

Our last stop for the morning, and where we would say our final goodbyes to Paul, was the grocery store.  Brianna and I ran in while Paul watched our gear, we needed a couple more breakfasts, a couple more packs of skittles… all-in-all, could not have asked for a better way to start the day.

The flip side of having such a great morning was that we started our walking day a bit later than usual.  A walking day that was to be 100% road walking.  It was a long and hot one.

When I previously wrote about road walking, I focused on the positives.  In today’s thoughts, I’ll share the cons.

Road walking is terrible because:

1.) Wisconsin has lots of farm lands that offer no shade, no matter what time it is.

2.) Temperature on black top is 5-10 degrees higher.

3.) Walking on a hard surface is harder on the knees.

4.) Sometimes it gets so hot and you get so tired that the best rest option is a ditch on the side of the road. You get to lay in tall grass and hope for the best.

About halfway through our 25 mile road walk, we were due to pass by two campgrounds, Adam’s Acres & Jim’s Shady Nook.  Jim’s was on a lake so we called ahead and asked if we could stop and fill water, relax for a while in the heat of the day.  The waitress said, “yes, of course”, so we marched on and made it there a little after 1pm.  It was too early for camping, perfectly soon for a couple beers and some waffle fries.

Jim’s Shady Nook is just what you would expect from a back woods campground and bar.  The people were all friendly, asked us many questions as they took shots and ordered beer after beer.  They also filled us in that the bar was less crowded than usual on a Saturday because Rockfest was happening just five miles down the road.  Rockfest had been canceled because of COVID last year and sold out quickly at crazy high prices this year.

I learned how the dice game at the bar works – pay $1 and get three chances for a Yahtzee that matches the day’s number.  Get the Yahtzee and you win the bar pot.  Fail to get the Yahtzee and you lose the $1, which then goes into the pot.

After about two hours, we reluctantly left Jim’s Shady Nook and headed back onto the road.  Our breaks were frequent and not always pleasant, but it’s just not smart or safe to walk for long periods of time hauling this kind of weight on our backs.  Our goal for the night was to make it to Otter Lake campground, where we had called and confirmed there would be camping available.  They also told us the site caretakers, Liz and Mike are IAT hikers and would probably be happy to receive us.

Everything was going well until the last bit.  I turned down the Otter Park Day area thinking it would probably be connected to the camping area, I was wrong.  By the time we hiked the 3/4 of a mile back to the park’s day area, Brianna’s feet were done and it was clear that we would not be walking back.  So we waited.  We waited for the caretakers to close the park down and see two sad hikers in need of a ride to the actual camping area.  

Liz did eventually come shut the day park down and gave us a ride over to the camp.  She gave us site #1 and a quick rundown for where water and bathrooms were before disappearing into their camper.  Sunday is chicken and polka day, they needed to rest up for the festivities.  Brianna & I set camp up in the dark and are calling it a night just as quickly as we can fall asleep.

One Reply to “Day 12 – IAT Mile 182.4 to 207.4”

  1. What a beautiful couple Paul And Ann were. I’s like to write them A thank you note for being so kind to my two handsome and beautiful grand-
    children! Again, Always remember to give the world the best you have, and the best will come
    back to you. Xoxo

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