Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Portage Canal Segment to Levee Road

The National Scenic Ice Age Trail meanders not only through prairies and forests, but through many small Wisconsin towns. The 2.9 mile (4.7 km) Portage Canal Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail follows the Portage Canal through the city of Portage. This canal runs between the Wisconsin River and the Fox River, but is no longer functional as the river locks have been decommissioned.

The Portage Canal Segment of the Ice Age Trail follows the canal, jumping onto city streets at breaks in the bike trail and foot path. There has been recent interest in renewing the Portage Canal as the canal is of aesthetic and historic significance.

Icy temperatures and 5 inches (12.7 cm) of fresh powder forced me into my parka and gaiters for this hike. I followed the Ice Age Trail along the Portage Canal from the trail head near the Indian Agency House to Pauquette Park. To complete a remaining bit of the connecting route beyond the Portage Canal Segment, I crossed the Wisconsin River on Hwy 33. From Hwy 33, I took Fairfield Road until it became Levee Road. This brought me to the Pine Island Wildlife Area to complete the Portage end of the connecting route I started on my last hike. Today's hike covered 9.1 miles (km) - 4.5 (7.2 km) miles out, then a back track to the trail head.

Trail Head at Indian Agency House.

Ice Age Trail passes under Hwy 33 near Agency House Road in Portage.

Be careful on boardwalk under the trail trestle, slippery with a steep slant.

Are those yellow blazes I see moving down the track overhead?

View from Hwy 33 crossing the Wisconsin River.

Along Mullett Street in Portage.

Art on Thompson Street in Portage.

Historic home on Edgewater Street along the in-town portion of the Ice Age Trail in Portage.

Along the bike trail on the Ice Age Trail in Portage.

Connecting route on Levee Road.
Connecting route under I-39.

Portage Segment of the Ice Age Trail and the remaining stretch of connecting route from previous hike.

Trail Conditions - Gravel trail and bike path with occasional road walking on the Portage Segment. Roadway on connecting route.  Overcast and cold at 6°F (-14.4°C) and mostly sunny. About 5 inches (12.7 cm) snow cove.

Distance Covered Today - 9.1 miles (14.6 km).

Difficulty - Easy trail; however, trudging through fresh snow on the trail added to the cardiovascular workout on the hike.

Location - Portage Segment and remaining portion of connecting route from Portage Segment to the Pine Island State Wildlife Area on Levee Rd. Parked at Indian Agency House 1490 Agency House Road, Portage.

Highlights - Views of old buildings, art, and graffiti.

Total Official Ice Age Trail Miles Completed to Date - Trail 21.2 miles (34.1 km), connecting route  10.8 miles (17.4 km), total official Ice Age Trail distance completed 32 miles (51.5 km).

Total Additional Backtracking Miles Completed - 32  miles (51.5 km).

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