Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Whew Marathon!

What an eventful county. No other county has thrown more at me than Marathon. From heat and bugs to icy cold rain, the weather has been completely bipolar. Marathon also has two of my favorite segments of trail: Dells of the Eau Claire and Plover River. Both are so beautiful and I hit them during peak leaf season. I am lucky.

yesterday evening I was frigid after too much icy rain (and too much time spent trying to wait out the rain at a pavilion, bad move Jo) and I managed to make it near the Plover River trailhead. I curled up in my sleeping bag and shivered uncontrolably for hours. With no reception I was stuck, until I managed to get a message through to my friend Charles. He and I and Fritz hiked a section of IAT in 2011 and without that trip I would not be here today. And then he swooped in at 10PM like a knight in shining armor and I got a hot shower and a futon and company on my hike today. Wow! What a difference 24 hours can make. Thank you Charles for being my trail angel!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

In which Jo almost puts on a brave face

Oh, and while I am lamenting the return of the bloodsuckers I almost forgot to mention my attached deer tick. Insult to injury. That little sucker got the duct tape treatment. Also, the wound on my stomach is slowly oozing blood and my left ankle is throbbing from all the ditch-jumping and I ripped a giant hole in my shoe and a couple little holes in my tent. GREAT. So not having cell reception in Marathon County quite possibly has saved this trip.

Now that I have all my complaining out of the way, here is the positive (Um, kinda): the fall colors are lovely. I can't enjoy them while being outside but today when I was in a convenience store paying too much for Little Debbies, I could look outside and see how nice the colors are. They are quite nice.

Sunday night thoughts

I have been blessed with no cell service for a couple of days. I say "blessed" because without service, I cannot call a taxi to get me the out of here.

Saturday was merely unpleasant - 20 miles on HOT roads dodging giant trucks. The truckers almost became my friends - one of them slowed down and offered me a raw potato. I declined, but the offer was..kind?  I think he was serious.

Sunday, however, was rough. I had 10 miles left on roads and by 9AM I was dripping with sweat and blood from dead mosquitoes. I hung out in Hatley, expecting to put in another 10 miles but I hit the railtrail and it was a WALL of mosquitoes. I made it into the woods but not without significant loss of blood and sanity. When I set up my tent, no fewer than 85 mosquitoes got in. I counted!  I can't leave the tent or I will be attacked.

I am writing this Sunday night in the hopes that I survive the night and find service tomorrow.  I will look back and laugh.

Saturday night thoughts

Every 20 miler should end at an ice-cold lake. I really enjoyed the extended evening at Mission Lake. I desperately needed it after frying all day on pavement. I cannot keep sunblock on when I am dripping wet with sweat. Ugh. Gross. So yeah, I really needed this lake.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sitting in a ditch

This is my patch of shade I finally found. I can't believe it is this hot and buggy today. I am moving sloooooow.

Alban General Store

This place was a wonderful surprise for me. So glad they exist! Fully resupplied and rested, good conversation with Megan, and a bathroom. Life is good. 5 miles down today, 15 to go!

Friday, September 26, 2014


High quality spots to flop down and chill out on the Iola-New Hope Segment. This is one of the more hummocky sections so far. Good training for up north!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Okay I was joking about the number of mosquitoes b...

Okay I was joking about the number of mosquitoes but I just counted 100 on my tent. 100 creatures who want to eat me. 100!


Called an early day due to lack of camping options. Now I am sitting in my tent watching 12 billion mosquitoes try to find a way in. I got many bites today even in my bug suit. My consolation prize is that I saved my mom's homemade cookies for today. Life is good! Thanks Ma!


The forest is all aglow on my way to Skunk & Foster Lakes Segment. This segment features Grenlie Lake too. Poor Grenlie, always left out of things.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Today, alas, I said goodbye to Mom and the aunt brigade who came to party it up in Plover. We visited cranberry marshes, ate Chinese food, and spent a lot of time in the hot tub. My feet aren't even gross anymore. I really needed that zero day!

Tonight I am camping amid yowlings of coyotes and owls' songs.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sanity break

After 550 miles total and 330 since my last day (ahem, week) off, I am taking a MUCH NEEDED zero day. Peace out, Ice Age Trail.


Awesome mushroomy section!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Halfway there!

What are the chances that 2 IAT thruhikers traveling in opposite directions would meet at the halfway point?
today: 100%.

Super excited to have spent the evening at Johann's with Kathy. We reminisced about the Appalachian Trail and talked about all the people and places we've encountered. She has a fabulous adventure ahead of her. And so do I. The evening was SO. MUCH. FUN.

Is Johann's the halfway point? Ehhh. It's fuzzy math all around, but I am totally calling this halfway. BIG thanks to Johann for letting me camp in the woods.

An Amish (?) carriage just rolled by. Sweet.

Czech it out.

For my friend and trail advocate, King of the Kek, Martin. I actually did get to practice language arts today!


What is better than trail after a mind-numbingly long roadwalk?
Getting to see my mama tomorrow! Woohoooo!

Shout out to Matt who made this morning's walk much nicer. I appreciate it!
I was so preoccupied I forgot to get their names, but huge thanks to the couple on the road who directed me in the right direction. Thank you!

And onto Waushara County...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Johnny T's is the place to be. Thanks Amanda!


I survived a pretty wicked storm last night. So did the skeeters. Hooray for my bug suit...

Friday, September 19, 2014


Sometimes I log on late at night to check the weather forecast ("late" = 9PM). Usually I regret it. Tonight, a big cheer and bigger hopes that it is right: storms should be over by 8AM. I think I will sleep in and avoid them. Here's hoping! So far it is just crazy windy.

hoping to get into Packwaukee tomorrow and onward several miles. No public land so... An adventure will be had.


I spent an hour here soaking my feet. Roadwalks force us to try to see the idyllic locations in the "real world" which is something I sure struggled with today. I'm pooped due to a too-friendly mouse who kept me up much of the night, so I am soon done for the day. An easy 16.5 feels so good after yesterday's easy but long 22.5.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A spectacular section!

I had the most phenomenal few days of hiking. What is better than hiking the most dramatic segments of the trail on perfect days? doing it without a full backpack, then hanging out with good company, then taking a shower and sleeping in a bed, that's what. I was so grateful to not have my full pack in the Devils Lake Segment - it was both beautiful and brutal. Can't wait to come back. Huge, radiant thanks to Joanna and Adonis who made this whole section of trail so much more memorable and enjoyable!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

West Bluff view

I don't know who has it better: me or the microscopic kayakers down there.

Happy Rock

Maybe Pennsylvania's Mid State Trail ought to consider a name change. Quick, before the IAT copyrights this!

mini-Bovee's birthday

It's a very Bovee birthday on the trail today. HBD KBB!

Devils Lake Segment

Here it goes!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Devils Lake

Hanging out with "Infamous Angel" Joanna and Adonis (pictured in the water). I have been at her house for a night and will stay through tomorrow. Thank you so much! Enjoying this area has been a highlight of the trip!

Afternoon break

A bench with a view and a footrest? too good to be true!



Gibraltar Rock



Library art

Columbia County

It is too bright to read, but woohoo! Columbia County! 625 miles to go!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014


This is my view tonight as I go to sleep
... Not many more nights warm enough to go without my rainfly, perhaps. Enjoying it now.

Wolf Ridge reunion

I had an awesome visit with Ben today in the Madison segment. So did the mini Katies. Thank you for the mini-Wolf Ridge ELC reunion! It was really fun to share the trail. It turned the golf course into an adventure!


Thanks Tess for everything! I really have loved this section so far!

Friday, September 12, 2014

A cold wet day

Before the rain really began, I put in about 7 miles. Some of that was without most of my stuff, as Tess magically showed up at the trailhead and offered to take it. She then drove north and hiked down to meet me on the Montrose segment. So fun to have company!

Then the 3 mile roadwalk was hellish despite pleasant enough roads. The rain, forecasted for 11:00, came 2 hours early along with wind that was relentless. After half an hour I could not feel my fingers. This is hypothermia weather - 40s, wet, windy. Usually hiking keeps me warm enough but today I could not warm up.

And then poof! Tess showed up in the parking lot at the same time I did. We roadtripped to Cross Plains where I got my package of maps (thanks ma) and got to meet some of the awesome IATA folks. So grateful for all they do!

We went back to Tess' where I took a hot shower, regained feeling in my toes, and fell asleep on the couch. Being inside right now is the biggest blessing. Thank you Tess!

Can't wait to outrun the rain!

Good morning!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The sun

the sun has been hiding all day and now it burst into my tent to say goodnight. :)

"I am not so old now as I was then. Every morning a bird brings me a fire-berry from the valleys in the Sun, and each fire-berry takes away a little of my age. And when I have become as young as the child that was born yesterday, then I shall take my rising again (for we are at earth's eastern rim) and once more tread the great dance."
"In our world," said Eustace, "a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.
"Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of."

-The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CSLewis

A harbinger

With the cooler weather I was not surprised to see this guy today.


This segment does not exist anymore, I guess. It is not in my guide or on my maps but here are old signs. I wonder what its story is...

Light at the end of the tunnel

Yeah... I never need to go through this tunnel again.

The creepy tunnel

Not totally excited about a 1200 foot tunnel with a curve in the middle. Total blackness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trail volunteer

Trail volunteers rule. Yesterday I met Larry on the Devils Staircase Segment. He was hard at work until I showed up to distract him! It was fun to chat and hear stories of his travels. He is a Thousand Miler and has volunteered 12 million hours to the Ice Age Trail. (okay, maybe not 12 million but I forget how many... A LOT!!!) Thank you for all you do!


The weather is good.
The mosquitoes are awful.
I gotta keep moving. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chocolate break

I am sitting in the ditch hanging out. I have been moving slow today. I could blame the heat, the long tedious roadwalk, or one lone blister, but it's totally because I went too far yesterday. Luckily I have Tess' chocolate that she brought me yesterday. Good stuff! thank you!

Another thruhiker!

I met thruhiker Dick today! congratulations! you are almost there!

Southbound no more!

I love this sign because it actually isn't on the Ice Age Trail.

I reached this spot yesterday. It is the southernmost area on the Ice Age Trail. From here on, I am getting closer to home as I hike north and then west. For the next really long time I will be going north. Even when the trail goes west or east or even south, I will be going north. Cool.

Yesterday I also hiked my first 25 mile day. Ever. The trail was really easy yesterday but that is still a long way to go. Whew. I think I still like 15-17 mile days best.


Nice morning in Janesville


This is for my favorite niece Sarah. She really loves circuses and aspires to be accepted into one soon.



Monday, September 8, 2014