Monday, December 25, 2017

Hiking the Southern Kewaskum Segment, Connecting Route, and Kewaskum Segment of the Ice Age Trail

There is nothing like a hike in the snow to make it feel like Christmas. With a holiday bounce in my step, I hiked the Southern Kewaskum and Kewaskum Segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) along with the connecting route between them. As I hiked, light snow began to fall. Snow was not in the forecast, an unexpected joy.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Hiking the Connecting Route from the Portage Canal to the John Muir Park Segment of the Ice Age Trail

 Since Thanksgiving weekend occurs at the height of gun hunting season, and with the new law that children as young as 5 years old can hunt, I decided to knock out a few road-walk miles over the holiday weekend. I hiked the connecting route from the Portage Canal Segment to the John Muir Park Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hiking the West Bend Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

I put on my favorite hiking shoes and a pair of gaiters, grinning like a hiker will for the first snowy hike of the year. Each year, my appreciation for the beauty and solitude of the snow season keeps me hiking the trail through winter despite the cold. I woke up to 2017's first appreciable snowfall and instantly changed my plans from heading to the gym to heading to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). The driving conditions were poor due to the weather and it took double the normal drive time to reach the trailhead. But I didn't care. I was going hiking in the seasons first appreciable snow!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hiking the Ice Age Trail through Dane County

Have you ever returned to the same hiking trail again and again and experienced vastly different hikes? I am forever amazed by the uniqueness of each moment. I've returned to the same bit of trail again and again and found myself immersed into vastly different experiences. I've hiked the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) through Dane county in all seasons. Early one autumn day I hiked the IAT at Indian Lake and watched the mist dissipate from the lake, while I had previously hiked Indian Lake in early spring with my family and witnessed a devastating fish kill. I love the way each season offers unique sights and sounds, each precious in it's own way.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Connecting Route from the Cedar Lakes Segment to the West Bend Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Crisp, sunny autumn days provide the best hiking conditions. Not too hot, not too cold, not too humid, not too buggy. At dawn on a fine autumn morning, I set out to hike the connecting route (CR) from the Cedar Lakes Segment to the West Bend Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT).  This connecting route stretches 5.5 miles (8.9 km) along the back roads and county highways of Washington County, Wisconsin. While I don't much care for the road-walking experience that makes up nearly half of the IAT, the scenic beauty along this route by far made up for the off-trail hike.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Hiking the Ice Age Trail through Green County

Hiking along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) through Green County in autumn and winter, the hiker will find icy old railroad beds that have been converted into the multi-use Badger State Trail and Sugar River Trail. Through Green County, the IAT also takes that hiker  through wildlife areas, and down country roads along connecting routes. Views of the Sugar River and plentiful wildlife sightings greet the hiker, with the stretch through the Albany wildlife area providing an opportunity for a particularly large variety of bird sightings.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hiking the Ice Age Trail Through Waukesha County

Along the IAT through Waukesha County, I crunched through prairies and forests over ice and snow. I found the promise of warmer days in the scent of soil thawing. I thrilled at spring's first Dutchman's Breeches. Rustic wooden bridges carried me over the scenic Bark and Oconomowoc Rivers as the leaves turned to gold. The IAT through Waukesha county presented its magesty in all seasons. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Halloween Walk 2017 Camping Weekend at High Cliff State Park

Unseasonably warm weather brought thousands of Leaf Peepers and Trick-or-Treaters to High Cliff State Park for the 2017 Halloween Walk. Our family arrived on a Friday evening. We set up camp on a Friday night while the sky glowed with a vibrant pink sunset, a wonderful background for the brightly colored maples. We enjoyed a nice campfire and a quiet night in camp. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Cedar Lakes Segment of the Ice Age Trail

What is funniest thing about hiking the Cedar Lakes Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT)? I saw no lakes and no cedars. I saw the Polk Kames, kettles, plentiful gold maple leaves, cornfields, US Highway 41, and the Slinger Speedway. The Cedar Lakes Segment of the IAT is a short and sweet segment from the Slinger Segment of the IAT to Arthur Road (Highway NN).

Monday, October 30, 2017

Fall 2017 Family Backpacking Trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

On our 3 day family backpacking trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, we backpacked 18.2 miles (29.3 km) through rain and sun. We marveled at red and gold maples, and majestic views of Lake Superior. We camped at the busy Beaver Creek and quieter Seven Mile Creek backcountry campsites. Squirrels and chipmunks greeted us at every turn, begging for handouts. Even birds came by looking for a few crumbs. We played on the beach by day, and by night slept soundly in the cool autumn air. Time passed much too quickly.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Family Fun in Camp at the Long Lake Recreation Area in the Northern Unit of Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine State Forest

Our family had a glorious fall weekend camping at the Long Lake Recreation Area (LLRA) in the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. We arrived to a warm, sunny afternoon which cooled quickly when night fell. Owls sung us to sleep and serenaded us again in the morning. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Holy Hill Segment of the Ice Age Trail and Connecting Route to the Loew Lake Segment

Love fall colors, kettles, kames, and hilly glacial terrain in general? The Holy Hill Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) in Washington County, Wisconsin might just be the October walk your looking for. From the Loew Lake Segment the connecting route heads east along Emerald Drive and then north along Donegal Road with some peek-a-boo views of hte Holy Hill basilica between the trees. Along the connecting route I also saw turkeys, an eagle, and plenty of playful squirrels.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Loew Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

My favorite tree, the maple, appears in abundant supply on the Loew Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). Located in Washington County, the 4.8 mile (7.7 km) Loew Lake Segment of the IAT meanders through a moderately hilly area with a two brief forays (0.2 miles / 0.3 km and 0.4 miles / 0.6 km) onto Emerald Drive. Highlights of the segment include a cool, breezy corridor of pine trees, views from hilltops, plenty of glacial geology, and wonderful views of Holy Hill.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monches Segment of the Ice Age Trail

On a hot, muggy morning I set off the hike the Monches Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). I found it strange that although it is officially autumn now, temperatures are warmer than most of this year's  summer temperatures. I set off from Highway Q at the Carl Shurz Memorial.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Boundary Waters 2017: Meeds Lake Entry Point 48 to Campsites on Meeds Lake, Omega Lake, Gaskin Lake and Vista Lake

On our 2017 trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) our family entered the BWCA at Entry Point #48, Meeds Lake. We spent 8 nights camped on Meeds, Omega, Gaskin and Vista Lakes before exiting at Entry Point #47, Lizz Lake. We stuck our feet into mud holes and slipped and fell on slick rocks and roots. We paddled against 30 mph gusts, sunned ourselves on slabs of bedrock, swam in pristine waters, and marveled at the wonders of nature. We grew closer to one another as we worked as a team to travel, set camp, and overcome the challenges of life away from modern conveniences.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Merton Segment of the Ice Age Trail

On a cool foggy morning, I set off on the Merton Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). From Centennial Park in Hartland, I hiked east on County Road K, then headed north on Dorn Road. The approximately 2.2 miles (3.5 km) of road walk along the 5.3 mile (8.5 km) Merton Segment contains areas with tight shoulders and traffic that moves at a pretty good clip, making the road walking portion of this hike less than pleasant. If you do decide to hike this, wear bright colors and take extra care.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Hartland Segment of the Ice Age Trail

With the canoe tripping and summer camping trips behind us, I dusted off my hiking poles and headed to the Hartland Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). I parked mid-segment at Nixon Park in Hartland, Wisconsin and headed south. I followed the IAT's yellow blazes south along Maple Avenue (Highway E), and then followed the IAT into the Hartland Ice Age Marsh. The chill in the air felt good. Golds and reds painted a leaf here, another there. Berries replaced flowers. A flock of geese passed overhead.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Nine Day Backcountry Menu Plan for our Family of Three

I love everything about canoe tripping, even the preparations. Finding lightweight foods safe to carry without refrigeration that fit the blue barrel and satisfy the divergent palates of the entire family poses a fun challenge. This year I've planned 8 cooked dinners, 4 cooked breakfasts, and additional breakfast and lunch items for eating on the go.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Camping with Family at Copper Falls State Park

Camping with extended family provides a chance to get closer to nature and closer to one another. Copper Falls State Park in Northern Wisconsin offers a great place for families to enjoy gorgeous scenery, mountain bike trails,  a swim in Loon Lake, or a short paddle. At the concession stand families can enjoy delicious, cool icecream or a hamburger after hiking, and on Sundays and Wednesdays the concession stand offers giant, fluffy pancakes with sausage for breakfast. Copper Falls State Park is located near Mellen in Ashland County, Wisconsin just off State Highway 169.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sylvania Wilderness 2017 Part 2

Loons swam with their chicks calling loud warnings as eagles swooped down from warm, sunny skies. They called mournful calls as night fell wrapping the lake in a blanket of cool darkness. Bullfrogs croaked. Thousands of tadpoles in various stages of development filled the shallow waters along the lake shore. Turtles sunbathed on logs. Wildflowers waved in the breeze. Fungi and moss thrived on fallen trees. Cool green ferns lined serene footpaths. Reflections of clouds on the lake mirrored the tranquil sky. The Sylvania Wilderness gave our family all of this plus so much more.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sylvania Wilderness 2017 Part I: Loons, Lakes, and Love of the Wilderness

Time in the wilderness is good for our family. It brings us closer together, and closer to nature. For our first wilderness adventure of 2017, we headed north to the Sylvania Wilderness in the Ottawa National Forest in Upper Michigan near Watersmeet. What a luxury to get away from the distraction of work, school, homework, electronics, and evening conference calls. On this trip, I showered my family with attention. I don't care if the mosquitoes bit or how much it rained, I enjoyed every minute with my family in this wonderful place, the Sylvania Wilderness.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Delafield Segment of the IAT

I felt the warm April sun and delighted at the smell of  bacon frying as I walked through downtown Delafield, a charming historic trail-town along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). I found downtown Delafiled to be a wonderful spot to relax and click a few photographs. The new route along the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial River Walk (in place of walking along Main Street) proved equally delightful. The river walk provides a stretch through a marshy area as well as a walk through history with the war memorials along the Bark River.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lapham Peak Segment of the Ice Age Trail

The Lapham Peak Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) is not far off the beaten track, and along much of trail the rumbling of traffic is heard in the distance. Part multi-use trail and part footpath, this segment carries the hiker through forested areas as well as restored prairies, with the majority of this segment within sight or earshot of civilization.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hiking the IAT through Rock County

Smell honeysuckle's sweet orange scent along urban bicycle trails. Take in the colorful, ornate architecture in small town Wisconsin. Spot turkeys along quiet country roads. Hear warning honks as mama geese hustle goslings away from passersby along the shore of the Rock River. The Ice Age Trail through Rock County awaits. With each season the trail renews itself, with sections I've hiked in the past made new by the change in seasons.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hiking Walworth and Jefferson Counties on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

The hills, eskers, and kettes of the Southern Kettle Moraine area drew me in. I hiked over slippery ice, through rain and fog, and on days with frigid temperatures...I couldn't get enough. The quiet enveloped me. Winter in Southern Wisconsin is truly a magical time.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Clothing System for Winter Hikes in Southern Wisconsin

The information and video featured in this post show my layered clothing system for winter hikes in Southern Wisconsin. Footage was shot along various segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). Warmer clothing than shown here is required for camping or extended periods time in the outdoors, this clothing system is what I wear for active winter day hikes.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Waterville Segment of the Ice Age Trail

On a gray March morning, I parked at the UW Waukesha Field Station and stepped from my car to hear sandhill cranes for the first time this year.  As I stepped from the car to hike the Waterville Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT), I noticed the signs. Unauthorized parking from sunset to sunrise is not permitted at the field station. Shortly after I began to hike, the sun  slid over the horizon. Problem resolved. With the Glacial Drumlin trail and IAT meeting at the field station, the area at the field station tends to be very busy with dog walkers. I felt happy to head South to the IAT for a quieter walk.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Footwear for Icy Winter Hiking

So many choices, where to begin when selecting footwear for winter hiking? Consideration of the terrain and weather conditions take priority. Lately I've been section hiking the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) in Southern Wisconsin. Icy hills, temperatures between F(-18°C) and 32°F(0°C), and hard-packed ice with snow (typically of less than 6 inches / 15 cm deep) comprise the main considerations when day hiking the IAT in this area. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scuppernong Segment of the Ice Age Trail and Connecting Route to the Waterville Segment.

Since the temperatures hovered near freezing, I waited for the downpour to slow to a light rain, before heading up the Scuppernong Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). By the end the hike, a brand new day had appeared with blue skies and sunshine for miles. Geese flew north. Their cacophony disarmed me after the miles of silent winter hiking, a welcome clamor nonetheless bringing with it the promise of springtime.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Eagle Segment of the Ice Age Trail

After parking in the Ice Age Trail trailhead parking area on State Highway 67 just north of Eagle, Wisconsin, I headed up the Eagle Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). An owl hooted as I hurried down the trail trying to warm myself against the cold. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stony Ridge Segment of the Ice Age Trail

Snow fell softly as I hiked the Stony Ridge Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. A cold, quiet day, I had the trail and my thoughts to myself, but did see campers at the backpacking shelter.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Blue Spring Lake Segment of the Ice Age Trail

Greeted by cold stillness, I headed up the Blue Spring Lake Segment of Ice Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) early one cold January morning. Just when I felt enveloped by silence, the hoot of an owl startled me raising my heart rate to about double. No matter how many hikes and camping trips I take, I don't ever seem to lose my jumpiness at sounds in the darkness.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sylvania Wilderness 2016 - Part 2

Mama's Basecamp proudly presents the second and final part of our Sylvania Wilderness 2016 video series. With summer in the distant past, it feels great to relive the moments and dream of paddle trips to come. Part 1 of this series documents our time at Eagle 1 Campsite on Loon Lake, and Part 2 documents our paddle to Birch Campsite on Clark Lake.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blackhawk Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Bundled up in a down parka and fleece, I headed out on a cold January morning to explore the Blackhawk Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. After parking at the Highway 12 trail head near Whitewater Wisconsin, I headed down towards Lake La Grange where the trail opened up through a relatively open area. I put on Yak Trax over water proof trail runners and used trekking poles to prevent falling on the hard-packed ice.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Syvania Wilderness 2016: Part I

Yes, I know. It's taken me entirely too long to find the time to put together our canoe tripping videos from last summers outings. I'm excited to present the first of these after long last, part 1 of a two part series focussed on our 2016 camping trips to the Sylvania Wilderness. In this video, we put in on Clark Lake and paddle and portage over to Loon Lake. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Whitewater Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Looked forward all week to the weekend photographing the scenic vistas along the Whitewater Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT). Thought I'd get some excellent sunrise photos, and arrived early to make it happen. As things go, the weather had other ideas. Overcast skies made for a gray morning. That said, this lovely stretch of trail thrills the senses even on the grayest of days.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Connecting Route between the Clover Valley Segment and Whitewater Lake Segment of the Ice Age Trail

On a glorious, sunny December day, I hiked the connecting route between the Clover Valley and Whitewater Lake Segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. This connecting route runs 5 miles (8 km) through Walworth County near Whitewater, Wisconsin.