Monday, August 31, 2015

Day 3: Tisch Mills to Manitowoc

I started off the day getting shuttled by Bob Fay, a section-hiker I met on the trail in 2013. He's from Two Rivers and will be finishing the IAT later this year. Dolly McNulty also helped today, first getting my bags from Bob, and then taking me to a friend's place at the end of the day. You can't beat Trail Angels!

Both Bob and Dolly warned me that the 17th Street bridge was still out in Two Rivers, so I'd have to take a 10-block detour. I was bummed, since I'm hiking a lot of miles every day.

Anyway, the day was great. The new East River segment is a gem. Kudos to all who worked on it! Point Beach, one of my favorites from 2013, was as nice as I remembered. This year, Dolly said, Lake Michigan's water levels are at a 30-year high. So instead of a nice walk along the beach, I waded about 1.5 miles in the water and had to walk through scrub another .5 miles when the water was simply too deep. The scrub wasn't that great, but I actually loved wading. I had my Keen sandals with me, and the cold water felt so good on my aching feet!

Someone loves me -- the minute I was approaching the 17th Street bridge, a crew was taking down the barriers and opening it up! I think I was actually the first pedestrian to cross it. Two kids on bikes went over before me. I was so excited to avoid that detour!

I never seem to pass restaurants or stores when I'm hungry, but today I got a 49-cent cone at McDonald's in Two Rivers -- score once more!

Just as I was heading down Clay Pit Road, a woman in a scooter called out to me to do an extra mile for her. We stopped to chat; she has MS and is blind in one eye, yet was so cheerful. I promised her I'd hike one extra mile today and that from now on, I will dedicate my last mile of the day to her -- Karen Zander. 

Day 2: Kewaunee to Tisch Mills

Sunday, Aug. 30

A decent day for hiking. It was cloudy/foggy in the morning, so I didn't get the best look at the Ahnapee rail-trail; the section I was on is said to be some of the most scenic rail-trail in the state. Rats.

From there it was a long connecting route to Tisch Mills. A huge group of bikers went past, which was fun to watch. 

Tisch Mills was the same. The northern section was overgrown, while the southern slice was quite pretty. Despite the sign telling me wading was safer than walking on the rocks, I walked on the rocks because they were so flat and the water calm. But the rocks had lots of moss on them, and sure enough I slipped and got wet. Ha! Served me right. 

Oh -- there is now a nice sign on Hwy. B identifying the Tisch Mills segment for eastbound hikers. I remember struggling to figure out where the segment started when I was hiking west-east. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day 1: Sturgeon Bay to Kewaunee

Almost two years to the day when I started my first thru-hike from St. Croix Falls, I find myself at the eastern terminus, where I ended, ready to start another thru-hike. I'm excited, yet worried. My previous hike was the experience of a lifetime, yet it was hard. I'm suddenly remembering all of the aches and pains at night. The blisters and sore muscles. The overwhelming fatigue. But I'm here now, and there's nothing to do but start walking.

Two years ago, my first day was spent in 90-degree heat and high humidity. The humidity was up today, but it was cool and drizzly. Nice! My hubby, Ed, was crewing me, and everything went pretty smoothly.

I forgot how long the rail-trail segment was, but it was so enjoyable. I saw great blue heron, a huge woodpecker, cardinals, a doe and her babies and more. A family was out near Forestville playing with "poppy seeds." They're tiny orange flowers that have a tiny green-bean-like pod in their center. If you squeeze the ends of a pod, it bursts open and edible seeds pop out. They taste like edamame. You learn something new every day!

The connecting route to Kewaunee got quite foggy several times, but I was just glad to avoid the heat. Which is coming. Sigh. The forecast in this part of the state calls for temps hitting 90 for much of the next week. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Valderi Returns

When I finished my thru-run/hike of the Ice Age Trail in October 2013, I knew it wasn't the end. The minute I touched the eastern terminus marker in Potawatomi State Park, I was seized with the desire to thru-hike the trail all over again, this time heading east to west. And I didn't want to wait a long time to do it, either.

So here I am two years later, preparing another thru-hike. I'm dreadfully unorganized this time, having had a very busy year work-wise. Yet I'm confidant I'll be fine. I love the trail, and the trail loves me. 

A week from today I'll be heading to Sturgeon Bay, where I'll spend the night before striking out bright and early on Saturday morning, Aug. 29, with my wonderful hubby, Ed, crewing me the first two days. My main goal on this trip is to avoid contracting cellulitis on the bottoms of my feet as I did last time (ouch)!

The photo below shows the food and gear I'm gathering together. You need a lot to power you along for 1,100 miles!

Melanie, aka Valderi