The contrast of red barns and green pines with the snow provided a feeling of walking through a Christmas card. The weather felt Christmas-like as well. It's amazing how quickly we forget the things we know to do in the cold. I did remember to wear gaiters with my waterproof hiking sneakers to beat the snow, but totally forgot about wearing my CamelBak inside of my jacket. My water froze in a matter of minutes. To have water, I had to take my jacket off to put the CamelBak inside my jacket to give my water a chance to melt back to drinkable. Then, of course, I brought a jacket too tight to zip with the CamelBak on the inside. Brrrrr, thank goodness for hilly glacial terrain to warm us as we walk uphill.
|Frost condensed from my breath coats my hair on a cold day.|
The expansive homes along this portion of the connecting route were beautiful to see laced with snow and ice. Passing through these neighborhoods I encountered dogs more trotting than walking with booties on their feet. I noticed Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas providing me a wide berth, much wider than necessary. But I did jump off the shoulder to accommodate a Lincoln Navigator whose operator appeared to take the speed limit and the boundaries suggested by the paved portion of the road as suggestions that apply to others only.
|Lovely street name, Ice Age Lane.|
|A 4 car garage, every husband's dream.|
When I got to Valley View, I saw the trail blazes leading off into the trees, marking the Ice Age Trail covered by pristine, untrodden snow, and I longed to keep going. But the cold turned me around to walk back to my car. I keep saying I need to find a shuttle so I can cover more distance on each walk, but I really do enjoy the peace and freedom of walking on my own schedule with my own thoughts working themselves out along the way.
Trail Conditions - A few icy patches and blind spots on narrow, windy, hilly stretches of road, mostly good. Sunny and 15°F (-9.4°C).
Distance Covered Today - 8.0 miles (12.9 km).
Difficulty - Easy with a few moderate hills.
Location - Parked at the state park signs at the Cross Plains Interpretive Site on Old Sauk Pass Road.
Concerns - I did see a couple of people hunting from inside their vehicles just off the road. I understand it's cold outside, but this really isn't safe with so many cars (and the occasional walker) passing by.
Highlights - Views of large homes, the surrounding hills, and farmsteads frosted with snow. Deer running through the snow - out of the line of sight of hunters.
Total Official Ice Age Trail Miles Completed to Date - Total official Ice Age Trail distance completed 103 miles (165 km). Trail 48 miles (77 km), connecting route 55 miles (88 km).
Total Additional Backtracking Miles Completed - 89 miles (142 km).