by Eric Hansen, revised by Kevin Revolinski (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Eric Hansen, revised by Kevin Revolinski/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We were bummed about the rain as we drove to the trailhead, but then the rain turned to snow! The slippery conditions made the "difficult" trail even more so, and then our spirits sank when we got to the gorgeous campsite to find it filled with tents. We pushed on for a mile or so more and settled on a hilly, bumpy site as the sun was setting. The trail was nice- it's good that it's well marked, because at times it's completely overgrown. We took a short cut heading NW on a 4wd trail toward the end of the loop. If you do this, keep a sharp eye for the yellow IAT markers as the trail is a little hidden. With all the marshes about, it seems like this would be a very buggy endeavor in the summer months.
This quiet loop section off of the Ice Age trail is great for a quick weekend getaway. At only 3.5 hrs. north of Madison the trail has a surprising true northwoods feel. The forest is relatively new growth, dominated by birch and aspen, with stands of spruce, maple and hemlock filling in the gaps. The campsite is a gem, and makes up for the short periods of the trail spent on overgrown logging cuts. As far as wildlife goes, we saw several deer, flushed grouse and doves, and were awakened by the loud chattering of squirrels at 6:30. The trail crosses several impressive beaver dams, and for a patient person they provide an almost certain opportunity for beaver sitings. The only downside to the trail is that in some areas it is quite overgrown, indicating the level of use the trail sees. We did not see another person all weekend, and honestly the trail looked like it had been walked maybe 50 times all summer. The upside to this is that you are almost sure to have the campsite to yourself. Happy Trails.
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