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.

Starting at the Emma Carlin Trail Head, I followed the first portion of this segment through easy lowland terrain, some of it wooded and some of it open. After crossing a small bridge over a stream, I followed the trail as it slowly increased in elevation to a particularly beautiful oak savanna, and then into a wooded area. About halfway through the segment, I followed the spur trail to Shelter #2. Out of respect for the privacy of others, I turned back when I noticed hikers occupied the shelter. The Shelter #2 Spur is near spur trails for the office and museum, and is also near the nature trail.

Stony Ridge Segment

Stream in the low area said to be a former glacial lake bed.

Near the spur trail to the #2 backpacking shelter.

Shelter #2.

Along the Stony Ridge Segment of the IAT.

Along the Stony Ridge Segment of the IAT.

I followed the trail up another hill and then through a pine plantation. As I left the pine plantation, I followed the trail along Highway S for a short time, and then headed back off road. After completing the segment, I hiked a bit of the Eagle Segment before backtracking back to the Emma Carlin Trail Head, but that is another story for another day.

That's all for now, let's get our doors and keep our wild places wild.

Pine plantation.

Along the Stony Ridge Segment of the IAT.

Along the Stony Ridge Segment of the IAT.

Map of the Stony Ridge Segment of the IAT.

Total Distance Covered -  6.4 miles (10.3 km) total,  3.2 miles (5.1 km) one way. 

Difficulty - Easy with a a couple of moderate hills 

Trail Conditions - Blazed and well trodden trails. Frozen footprints made for slippery, icy walking 20°F (-7C).

Highlights -  Views of the surrounding glacial terrain.

Total Ice Age Trail Miles to Date - Total official trail distance completed  251 miles (402 km).

Amenities - There are restrooms at the Emma Carlin trailhead. Camping (and a vault toilet) are available by permit at Shelter #2. A short spur trail leads to the office and museum.

Location - IAT trailhead parking at the Emma Carlin Trail Head on County Road Z in Palmyra.

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