Saturday, May 17, 2014

Early Morning at Loew Lake

With National Trails Day just around the corner, I was motivated to get to know the entire section that would be traversed that day: just over four miles of Lowe Lake and three-and-a-half of Monches.  Since Monches is one of my favorite and most traveled-segments, I woke up early on this frigid morning to complete a segment I hadn't yet done completely: Loew Lake. I have done a portion of it in the past and am especially enamored with the first mile or so which guides you through a pine forest where the needles are like cushions on you feet as long as you can avoid the protruding roots and eventually takes you alongside the Oconomowoc River.

After meandering through the woods, working my way through an open prairie, and taking the road connection, I was ready to embark on new portions of the Ice Age Trail.  This initial open meadow are included distant, but picturesque views of Holy Hill and the basilica as well as many, many birds.  I'm still learning about the different species, but I am pretty sure I recognized some gold finches, juncos, and at least one pair of sandhill cranes.  I also saw a soaring bird too high to describe besides a call that reminded me of a rusty gate swinging open.

Eventually, after some hilly terrain, the trail meandered through woodlands.  For some reason, many of the downed trees I saw today sparked the children's book author side of me and gave me potential ideas for a new book. I also saw many "bent" trees and others uprooted.  I am a huge fan of trees and love seeing the different types and unique characteristics of them throughout the trail.

After another short road connect and some more meandering woodland trails, a massive opening with some beautiful outlooks appeared.  I could se that this was the end of this segment and the beginning of another as it seemed to be intersecting with other trials from the Kettle Moraine State Forest. This expansive opening allowed me to observe a few different families of deer, including a pretty close encounter with one of the smallest fawns I have ever seen. The weather had warmed so much and the deer motivated me to continue my trek for an additional mile or so into the Holy Hill segment, which kicked off with a quick ascent into the forest and more grassland-type features with many more birds and a plethora of bunnies.
I am very much looking forward to National Trails Day on Saturday, June 7th and am hoping to see many fellow hikers, nature enthusiasts, and animal lovers enjoy a tremendous day on the trails.  While Monches is still my favorite segment so far, I thoroughly enjoyed this segment and look forwards to continuing exploring more of the Ice Age Trail and all of the beauty and adventure it has to offer.


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