Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Hike on the Indian Lake Segment of the Ice Age Trail

Two weeks changes everything. Soft mud now replaces the hard-packed ice and snow trail cover. Caught up in the whirlwind of the first two weeks on a new job and business travel, I've missed the trail. With spring in the air and the weather a bit warmer, my family happily joined me in hiking the Indian Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Easily accessible from the Madison Wisconsin area, this segment of the Ice Age Trail is located in Indian Lake County Park in northwest Dane County on State Highway 19. It can be converted to a 4 mile (6.4 km) loop around the lake using a spur trail. This hike is relatively short with easy hills, and can be made shorter using spur trails if needed, making it perfect for hiking with children.

Indian Lake provides a paradise for bird lovers. Herons flew overhead as we arrived. A fish kill blanketing the lake explained the smell of the lake, which echoed with the cries of hundreds of hungry gulls. Sandhill cranes scolded us when the trail carried us closer than comfortable for them. The park overflowed with hikers and birdwatchers. What a beautiful day for a family walk on the Ice Age Trail and around Indian Lake.

Rock marker.
Family hike at Indian Lake.

Fish kill at Indian Lake.

Little trekker.

View of nearby historic property.

Sandhill cranes scolded us from the marsh as we hiked the nearby trail.

Today's route.

Trail Conditions - Well groomed trail with muddy patches. Sunny and 47°F (8.3°C).

Distance Covered Today - 4 miles (6.4 km).

Difficulty - Easy with easy hills.

Location - Northwestern Dane County at Indian Lake County Park on State Highway 19.

Highlights - Views of the lake and surrounding hills, abundant waterfowl, and being scolded by sandhill cranes.

Total Official Ice Age Trail Miles Completed to Date - Total official Ice Age Trail distance completed 65.2 miles (105 km). Trail 37.4 miles (60.2 km), connecting route 27.8 miles (44.5 km).

Total Additional Backtracking Miles Completed - 58.3  miles (93.8 km). 

Concerns - Hundreds of dead fish floated in the lake. Not all the walkers pick up their dog doo so keep your eyes on the trail.

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