Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nature's Classroom Institute

I am not hiking for a cause, but I really love the cause of Natalie and Briana who recently finished the Ice Age Trail.  If you can afford to donate to their cause, I would really appreciate it. Every little bit helps.

Just a few hours from their completion of the Ice Age Trail

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hike update, 225 miles down

Morning on the IAT
Hello from Minnesota!

No, I didn't finish the hike and no, I'm definitely not quitting -- just off-trail for a pre-existing commitment I had back in Minneapolis.  I will be heading back to the Ice Age Trail next week.

The past couple of days were incredible - absolutely perfect hiking days when everything falls into place and the world is glad to be alive.  I put in faster miles than I am used to, but it felt great.  Even on easy terrain it takes awhile to get trail legs, and mine have kicked in.  I feel pretty antsy here in civilization right now, actually.

The segments of IAT north of Hartland are some of my favorites.  The Loew Lake Segment felt like walking through Narnia.  It had been hard to pick a favorite segment, but once I hit Loew Lake Segment, it was no longer difficult: I just felt at home there.
I also really enjoyed Holy Hill. I couldn't believe how long the basilica was in my view; it felt like I could see it for an entire day even though I was moving fast and putting miles behind me.  This is such an interesting blend of nature and culture.  Much of the IAT is a unique balance of natural beauty vs. cultural interest.  (Sometimes, the "cultural interest" is a basilica, sometimes it is a bar.)

Just when I was at my happiest on the trail is when it came time to get off for a few days.  This trip back to Minnesota is a logistical challenge, but it's something that had to be done.  It's also important for the trip because it gives me time to reassess my gear (cough, re-waterproof my tent, cough), go over maps, plan some visits with friends, and heal from a couple of wounds that are . . . um . . . gross.  I will spare you the details.  You're welcome.

This was awesome.
I want to give radiant thanks to Trail Angel Tom, who not only provided company and food for thought but cooks a mean steak as well. He helped me get from Hartland into Milwaukee to catch my bus, and I am very grateful.  I hope our trails cross again someday.

I can't wait to get back out there.  After all, winter is coming.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014



Had a great night off the trail! Thank you Trail Angel Tom for not being a serial killer. A fantastic home-cooked feast followed by Leon's frozen custard... Basically a hiker's dream come true.

Rest break

I love putting in 5 or 6 miles before breakfast. :)


0% chance of rain, forecast said. 0%.

So for the first time all hike, I leave the rainfly off the tent to breathe in the night air. 0%.

2:00AM: Rain.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What a day!

I could not have asked for a nicer day. In fact, I almost felt like a balloon today, just bopping along above the trail, no pain, pleasantly zombified. I need more almost-days-off if it makes hiking this great.
I could smell and see autumn today... But just barely.
huge thanks to Tony who gave me water on a particularly dry stretch. That took away the only stress du jour and I deeply appreciate it!


Buzzzzz buzzzzzzzzz

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bad times across the street

Cheers to picking the right motel in West Bend! There is a fire across the street. Or there was. Thanks Tom for the Spotted Cow and high quality Wisconsin entertainment!

West Bend

Well I woke up and the humidity was so heavy I almost choked on it. I walked into West Bend and ate an awesome breakfast at Perkin's. They were so nice to me even though I reeked. I mean, really really reeked. Ten minutes after I sat down it began to pour and the lightning was dramatic. I have a long, squirrelly roadwalk coming up and I definitely don't want to do it in weather this bad. When I left Perkin's the sky was lit up with bolts of lightning - five, six at a time. Uhhh. No thanks. I checked into a motel at 9 AM. This effectively destroys my plan to be in Hartland on the 27th but I am a weenie when it comes to lightning like this. I just took a shower and the whole time I could hear the crash of thunder over the noise of the shower. Yeah...this was the right decision.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Really awesome boardwalks on the Milwaukee River Segment. Nice job, volunteers!



Awesome breakfast of pizza and ice cream at Parkview General Store. Nice long day planned and no rain yet!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Today was a very challenging 17 miles through Kettle Moraine. It is gorgeous and well-worth the work but the constant elevation change is exhausting. A lot of today reminded me of the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts. Maybe it was the bugs.

...really, frost, anytime. I realize it's August, but still. I need one good frost.

Delicious water

So grateful for pumps. I have not yet needed to get water from a stream or pond. Weird!


Another photo of the worst $20 I ever spent

Sheboygan Marsh

Camping at the Sheboygan Marsh Park... Let me just say that they need to seriously rethink their campground. They lived up to their name.
...everything I own is wet.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tower view

View from the tower at Sheboygan Marsh. Thanks to my new friend Dan for making this half-day an adventure!

Water break

It did not occur to me to worry until I saw this sign.


Whoa! I am on map 89 . . . I started on 105. Maps fly by when you're having fun!


Bovee and Fritz enjoy an IAT bench with me this morning.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

So far:
140 miles
3 counties down (Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc)
12 million mosquitoes (only near Two Rivers)
1 day of rain
1 night of rain
1 blistering sunburn
10 liquid refreshments
1 night inside
1 night camped behind a bar
1 legit half-day


Ahhhh. Much nicer to lay down under trees on a trail than in a ditch. LaBudde Section is great so far.11 miles done by 11:00. Onward. :)

This sums up how I feel about walking today. :)
On the plus side: actual trail today! Just a few more miles. Can't wait to get off of roads. I usually enjoy roadwalks but man, this was a long one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ditch day

I briefly considered going 24 miles today but considering my extreme lack of motivation/how I keep ending up laying down in the ditch, I may just settle for School Hill tonight. 4.5 long hot miles to go for a total of 17ish. And I have such a lovely ditch here.

Pine River Dairy

Ice cream for 2nd breakfast? Suuuure. So glad Pine River Dairy opened at 8! 25 cent scoops of ice cream and 250 kinds of cheese. I bought olive cheddar to power me through some loooong miles today.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A full day!

This is my beautiful view from the yard of Sue and Bob, who were kind enough to let me camp out tonight. My phone's camera doesn't do it justice. I feel so lucky to be here, especially because in-town camping was all sold out due to the fair. I kept on walking, hoping there was some camping option not on my map (hey, you never know). I stopped in and asked Sue about it and here I am. I even got some homemade bread! What amazing trail angels! Thank you so much!
After doing the math, I realized I only ("only") went 17.5 today, but it was a busy 17.5 with lots to see in Two Rivers and Manitowoc, a mosquito run/berry fest in the Dunes Section, and getting lost in Schuette Park (after which I took a looong break). A very full day and I will sleep well tonight.
Very grateful for all the kindness shown towards me. It's always the people more than the trail itself that I remember most.

Thank you Dolly!

Dolly is a trail angel and trail volunteer who coordinates the IAT's Cold Cache program. I put a link to it on the Links page- check it out! It is like geocaching only cooler.
All last night it stormed and all last night I was snug in her spare bedroom, clean and dry and well-fed and probably snoring. It was a well-timed sanity break and I can't thank her enough for all she does! What a great introduction to Two Rivers!

Monday, August 18, 2014


That was the trail for a couple miles.

Today I am racing bad weather but more than that, ...

Today I am racing bad weather but more than that, I am racing mosquitoes. I am only winning thanks to my full-body bug suit.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Mishicot, thanks for letting me move in. Tomorrow: onward to Point Beach State Forest and then into Two Rivers for a much-needed shower and laundry. Trail angels are truly inspring and humbling. I can't offer up enougnh thanks.

Trail angels

My two Mishicot trail angels, Dolores and Michelle! Michelle is letting me crash on her lot in town tonight which is amazing because I can't make it 5 more miles to public land. Dolores was the first person I met in town. She is a hoot and set the whole thing up. Can't thank you both enough!

For KF

In the epic battle Fritz vs Raccoon, Fritzie emerged victorious.

Ancient tree

This probably beats Virginia's Keffer Oak. If they had a fight. Which is unlikely.

East River Segment

Wow, volunteers. This new segment is straight out of Narnia. Amazing work.

Trail magic

I ran out of duct tape today. Look what I found in the ditch!!

Tisch Mills

Huge thanks to whoever mows the Tisch Mills Section. It is much appreciated!


Remembering today a magical woman who changed the way I look at life.  I'm glad Liza was in my life, if only for a precious five months.  Do something today that pushes you outside your comfort zone.  
Happy birthday, Liza Jane.
The world was once an even more beautiful place.


Katie Bovee says good morning from the IAT.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


I lit a candle for Liza Lomando, something I did in every cathedral in Europe. It's been years. The candle will still be burning through the night and into tomorrow, her birthday.
The church is the most beautiful I have ever seen in the USA. I wish my phone's camera wasn't awful.

Ellisville & Stangelville

On my way into Ellisville this morning, hot and running out of water, I happened upon this church. It was unlocked and when I went inside, organ music was playing to an empty building. I saw the woman practicing for tomorrow, presumably, and I refilled a water bottle and sat and listened. In her own world surrounded by sound, the lady never saw me but I left her a note to thank her for the music. What an uplifting break that was.
Later of course I met Gator and hung out at Janda's for, uh, almost 3 hours. It was raining and there was good company. Once the rain blew over I continued to Stangelville where the friendly and helpful locals said I could sleep under the circus tents by the church - the church is having a huge shin-dig tomorrow and I can stay dry here. There are even portapotties. Life is good. After yesterday's 21.3miles I need a half-day. Dark clouds are coming but I am safe and dry.

Roughin' it on the Ice Age Trail. Huge thanks to Gator at Janda's for being so hiker friendly! This makes the drizzly day so much more worthwhile!

For Jesse

For my sister, who is part Luxemburgish. gosh. Wish I was that cool.

3 miles done before 8 and I even slept in this morning. Looks like storms ae coming so I am going to hustle 6 more miles over to Ellisville and take refuge at the bar. Good life plan.