Friday, August 8, 2014

Holy Hill

It has been a while since I've gone hiking without my baby girl. Not shockingly, hiking sans toddler allows for a longer hike. I took full advantage and went just under 13 miles covering portions of the Loew Lake segment, the entire Holly Hill segment, and a sizable chunk of the segment that cuts through Pike Lake state forest.

Today's hike was extra adventurous. The animals were out in full force and I saw some things on the trail I had never seen before, or ever expected to see. With Holy Hill being about 1,350 feet up, I knew I would be heading up. I appreciated that many of the inclines were "like a long and winding road" rather than straight up.  That being said, the addition of the "staircases" added to the trails were extremely helpful.
I also had some amazing animal encounters. Besides the usual suspects of bunnies, squirrels, and birds, I saw more chipmunks than ever before.  they were everywhere!  There was also a number of American Toads, garter snakes,and a rainbow of butterflies, especially in the openings. Just as I had crossed the Holy Hill Basilica, I noticed the rumps of two-white tailed deer nearly 30-40 yards ahead and strangely enough, they were trotting down the trail.  I tried to snap a picture but thy ventured deep into the woods by the time I grabbed my camera. I also had an eerie encounter when smack dab in the middle of the trail and just on either side of it was a goat carcass. It seemed to be a recent kill as some meat appeared to be meat on the bones. The goat had a collar so I assume it was a pet from a nearby farm. Crazy stuff!

The journey was long and arduous at times, but portions of the trail with a red pine needle blanket were quite comfortable. I especially liked walking through the corn field, the scenery from the connecting routes, and views from the open meadows. The sights from Pleasant Hill road were beautiful, but the steady incline on this short but somewhat steep connector were anything but pleasant. ;)
I think another trip through this segment of the Ice Age Trail is a must for autumn.  I can't wait!

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