Monday, August 31, 2015

The Trail Follows Me Wherever I go

As I prepared for the final weekend before the kindergarten takes over, I looked forward to a weekend full of outdoor adventures in the Wisconsin Dells area. I knew trips to some state parks were in order and I figured I'd make it to some segment of the Ice Age Trail but it seemed like wherever I went, there it was. The trail was following me!

It all started in Baraboo. As we walked into the main entrance, my daughter noticed one of her favorite things: the yellow blaze. She tends to want to bop them every time she sees them. While this made me want to explore the trail further and mark a new segment off the list, we had a circus to see, so my exploration on the trail would have to wait.
With the blaze wetting my palate for a good day of hiking, I couldn't wait to wake up the next day and explore one of my favorite state parks: Devil's Lake. I our family's annual pilgrimage to this holy grail of glaciation, we have explored many of the different trails this amazing place has to offer. However, the adventure on the docket today was a first: the West Bluffs Trail, which happened to coincide with the Ice Age Trail. 

While my hiking experiences on the Appalachian Trail are limited to a half-mile stretch along the Tennessee-North Carolina border in the Smoky Mountains, this segment reminded me of that short trek. Boulders. Rock step after rock step. Escalation to increased elevations. This time it was definitely more of an undertaking as I had the toddler strapped to my back rather than alongside me It was a great workout, and Embry still enjoyed bopping the blazes, sneaking peeks at the lake, and watching many other hikers along the way, including some courageous young men using a vine Tarzan-style through the woods.

After recovering from that hike and the rest of our outdoor adventures as we began the journey home. Once again, the trail followed me. As we took the scenic route home, we drove through Portage. Every time I drive through this quaint little town I am reminded of my 4th grade teaching days and my love of the Fur Trade Era. I think back on portaging, voyageurs, the rendezvous, and all sorts of historical trading tidbits. Today, however, my trip through memory lane was interrupted by a familiar face, or blaze. I was moved to pull over and snap a picture of the Ice Age Trail segment sign the blaze was attached to. Though this segment, or at least part of it, seemed to snake right through the town, I didn't have time to explore. At least not that day.

Now, it is true the trail does weave it's way through Wisconsin so it shouldn't be too surprising I ran into it so many times. without really trying. Though now that I have "fallen" for the trail, it does follow me around. I'm eager to share it with others, experience more of it myself, and get even more engrossed in all that it is and all that it represents. 

The trail does follow me around. . .literally and figuratively.

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