Federal shutdown won't shut out Ice Age Trail hikers
Before our walks I had received an email from the Ice Age Trail Alliance that during the government shutdown all volunteer activities for the Ice Age Trail Alliance should cease as the National Park Service is shut down. As a result we had no hike leaders but hiked anyway in small groups.
After getting home on Wednesday I had an updated email from the Alliance saying that leading hikes, administrative activities, etc. are OK. Only trail building and maintenance would be banned during the shutdown. The WDNR and Ice Age Trail Alliance are separate entities from the NPS and only volunteer in the park activities for the NPS where tools are used such as in trail building and maintenance will be affected. That means that our walks continue and if the shutdown continues throughout October the MSC event at Gebralter Rock will be cancelled.
At any rate I did enjoy the hikes. I did not take my camera but Norwin did.
On Tuesday, we walked around beautiful Lake LaGrange. This is always a delightful hike.
On Wednesday, the short distance hikers, eight in all, walked from the Oleson cabin to County Highway H and back on the Ice Age Trail. Ellen Davis reported that they saw lots of mushrooms mid-way between the cabin and Bluff Road and some brambles close to the trail.
The long-distance folks, fourteen in all, hiked from the Iced Age Trail crossing in Horseriders Park to the parking lot for Bald Bluff. This was about four and a half miles. It was a great hike that took us over Bald Bluff for a wonderful view.
A couple small trees were down over the trail that we could not move by hand but could be stepped over easily. One we found--with its upper branches caught in a tree we pushed down so it was easy to step over but is still not completely flat on the trail--was midway between the stone elephant and the horse trail behind Bald Bluff. The other was flat on the trail found earlier in the hike and it had some of its roots still firmly attached to the ground, but I do not know exactly where.
We had a couple new hikers who said that they enjoyed the hike and we hope they will continue to join us. After the walk I took them back to our U.S. Highway 12 meeting place for their cars as they had not planned to eat out afterwards.
Then it was back to the LaGrange General Store to join the others for lunch.
In the meantime five regular hikers went on a ten mile hike from the Scuppernong ski trailhead to the forest headquarters. This section of Ice Age Trail goes through the beautiful Scuppernong Prairie.