Monday, June 20, 2011

Ice Age Trail

This past weekend I had a great time with my dad and bro who came to visit me for father's day weekend so I could show them a good time in Janesvegas (Janesville) and Mad Town (Madison). We visited the capitol, I showed them where I work, and we went to the world's largest Culvers (woo!), among other fun things, but I want to focus a bit on the Ice Age Trail. It's a biking/hiking trail I have discovered literally a mile from where I live and have enjoyed (and also been very frustrated by) these past two weekends.

The Ice Age Trail traces the approximate outline of where the glaciers stopped over 10,000 years ago, therefore it goes across the entire state of Wisconsin.

I'm in Rock County on the bottom. Here's the sign near my place and my bike next to it. Looks rarin' to go.

I know it says "hike or ski" but most people, at least over half that I saw, were bikers. The trail reminds me somewhat of the Gateway trail in St. Paul, with beautiful forests mixed with not-so-beautiful industrial/residential scenes. There are many areas I see that they are restoring to native prairie, aspen parkland, woodland, etc., and are in varying states of health, but as usual they are overrun with invasive weeds like dame's rocket, reed canary grass and others, but even so there's wildlife living there and especially in the case of the woodland areas the air is much cooler. nice. There's also the Rock River, which the trail runs along for quite a ways, and crosses at least once. I saw people fishing over it recently:

They should be visible but if not those black spots are some kind of bird of prey. I like to go fast, stand on my pedals and pretend I'm flying too. One of my favorite quotes in a book was in Jarid Manos' book "Ghetto Plainsman": "Being on a bike is the closest a human can get to flying." So true.

There was only one major hill, which actually turned out not to be part of the trail.

I did bike it, but the combination of steepness and the demoralizing appearance of a golf course at the top took a lot out of me. I ended up turning back earlier than I wanted to. It was not clear where the trail continued, which is a frustrating part of this trail. Both ways I've gone so far are difficult to figure out after 5-9 miles. I need to print out or copy down the street names of where the bike-specific trail stops and where it continues. I knew it would be too good to be true to have a bike-specific trail unbroken across the entire state, like they make it sound on the website, and from this sign:

I love Interstate State Park. I probably won't bike to it though. Maybe someday....for now, biking out 10 or so miles and then biking back is good enough!

1 comment:

  1. "Ice Age Trail" may be the coolest name ever for a bike/hike trail. No pun intended.

    Love the 'flying' quote.