Day 15 – IAT Mile 242.8 to 258.9

The forest was dead silent last night.  A deep breath before the plunge (Lord of the Rings Quote).  Without a doubt the quietest night we have ever spent in the backwoods.  You’d think that would help us sleep, but it didn’t.  We both stirred all night, and every one of the many times we woke back up, the forest was still silent.  Thoughts of the movie Evil Dead played through my head, not helpful.

Morning came and so did the sounds, of birds and mosquitoes, of wind and trees, of life!  Last night’s campsite was beautiful with easy access to water, only downside was the uptick on mosquito swarmage. The Thermocell was on as soon as we arrived and stayed on until we flopped sideways into the tent for bed; it even got turned back on in the morning, which is a very rare event.

In case you’re wondering, Thermocell is not paying us to advertise for them.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d take the money in a heartbeat, it is a product we love as it allows us to take breaks without getting eaten on the entire time.  I’ll write a blog about our bug solutions in the future.

Today’s trails certainly had a highlight, the Mondeaux Esker segment.  The esker semi-circles around a body of water called the Mondeaux Flowage.  Mondeaux Flowage has a weird shape that makes for ideal peninsula campgrounds on the west side.  Brianna & I took a break at one of them, Picnic Point Campground, and the wind off the lake was delightful.

Me: Is this why we put ourselves through this?  All the beautiful sights?

Brianna: Heck if I know.

Pro Tip: Flowage is the Wisconsin term for a lake that is upstream of a dam, other places in the US call them reservoirs.

Walking on an esker is very similar to walking the spine of a mountain.  These eskers were formed by glacial melts of old, with many radically vertical ups and downs.  Ending our trail day on the Mondeaux Esker made for quite a challenging series of climbs.  Beautiful views of the flowage lake, but ouch, my toes and knees were screaming by the end of that beast.

Hiking allows us to tour the country and see beautiful hidden gems like Mondeaux Esker & Flowage that we would not otherwise know exist.  The flip side is that we don’t have enough time to spend in each place, our list of “places we need to see again” is growing.  It’s a reminder that while traveling the world is fun and worthwhile, the US has more than a lifetime worth of cultural and geographic diversity all on its own.

End of the day began another chapter of the hike, Mel picked us up!  We had not anticipated the esker climbs to slow us down as much as they did, he was quite frantic by the time we arrived late to the rendezvous parking lot.  Being his first time on the trail with us, I can understand the worry.  It also didn’t help that neither of us had any signal or method to communicate AND he had been up and on the road driving since very early that morning, if he even went to sleep the night before.