JERRY LAKE SEGMENT HWY E – JERRY LAKE CAMPSITE. ATLAS PAGES 23F AND 22F -15 MILES
We began this trip a bit different this year. We drove up on Wednesday night, the 28th and set up camp at the campsite on Jerry Lake. The walk is estimated to be a 1/4 mile from the parking area, take the trail to the right when it splits. Nice trail leading to the campsite. Campsite is right on the Ice Age Trail The Ice Age atlas has a toilet symbol by the site indicating there are facilities. That is true, BUT what you get is a pit with a toilet on top. If there ever were walls they are gone(we assume burned when someone got as cold of a weekend that we did). So you get a good view of nature while sitting on the toilet. But it is a seat and a place to use. No complaints. You must bring your own toilet paper. The site is roomy, with a fire pit and a metal grill on legs (we used it as a table) and one bench to sit. Very nice view of the lake. Had some mice visit us, but no other animals that we were aware of.
Thursday we began our hike by parking at County Hwy E Atlas page at this time is 23f and hiking southeast back to Jerry Lake campsite, at this time atlas page 22f. The hike was planned at 15 miles, ambitious, but with our camp all set we just had to carry our clothing layers, emergency kits and food and water so we thought we could do it without a problem We headed out at 9AM. It has been a wet fall and we started the morning with a few sprinkles, but they ended quickly. Cloudy all day. The terrain we quickly found was wet, winding and tougher than we expected. Much different than the 4 wheeler trails we hiked last year. We were continuously turning ankles on tree roots and rocks and had to often tip toe a nd hop through boggy areas. With that being said this terrain was beautiful. You felt like you were hiking as it should be. Hills, kettles, eskers, beautiful views. It was a great hike. The crossings of the Yellow river definetly were interesting. The first one after Hwy E was on logs, definetly doable. The first primitive campsite we hit was on the atlas located at the north end of a small lake. On county maps that one is not listed, but it is definetly there and usable. I am unsure how far the walk is from the parking area, but it is there, primitive. We did not see toilet facilities. This day there were fellow campers there we said our hellos to. At the top of the loop that shares the trail with the Chippewa Lobe Loop Trail there are beautiful birches, which against the grey skies were quite striking. We hiked on throughout the day, knowing that rain was possible. We made it until about 2:00 without rain. Then there were sprinkles the rest of the day. The Hemlock Esker is very impressive and fun to hike on. The campsite at the South Fork of the Yellow River is a nice campsite as well up on a hill. Shortly after the campsite we had to again cross the Yellow River. Here it was flowing quite fast and probably thigh high. There is a big tree laying over the river with two very long 2×4’s nailed up to "help" you across. They had a tag that they were put there by the New Wilderness Group. Thank you for trying, but honestly it is quite a challenge to get across. If we would’ve had full packs, I am not sure if it would’ve been crossable. Karie lost her water bottle and we had quite the laugh over that. Always fun, we have lots of pictures of the many crossings. Some honestly could use nice bridges (-: We found out that this segment is a bit much for one day. We returned to camp at 5:45 absolutely wiped with some aches and pains. Maybe on a nice weather day when the daylight hours are longer? But it was a long hike. Beautiful, very interesting, always changing.
The campsite was a welcome site. We attempted to keep items dry although the rain continued through the nite. This presented a bit of a problem as our stove broke, so we knew we had to cook on fires the remainder of the weekend. But never fear, fire was started and a warm meal was had. Throughout the night the wind and rain never stopped. The tent though kept us dry.
LAKE ELEVEN SEGMENT WINTER SPORTS ROAD – JERRY LAKE CAMPSITE ATLAS PAGE 21F & 22F – APP 8 MILES
After a breakfast of oatmeal, we had planned out our day to be shorter than yesterday due to some possible lingering pain issues. This also allowed us time to get a fire going for breakfast. The rain had let up but it was still a little misty. We parked at the trail crossing on Winter Sports road. Luckily after a quick stop at the gas station the rain let up. It was a very windy day, but we enjoyed being dry. We walked northeast back to the campsite. Within the first few minutes we again found a river crossing. This one was quite wide again, and fairly deep. The crossing consisted of moss covered logs, or another option was 4 rocks. Karie took the rocks, the kids took the log. They of course take these river crossings in leaps and bounds and are across. We all made it with the aid of our hiking sticks, but it was questionable (-: The hills on this section I think are a bit steeper than the last. Some could use switchback, they were a bit difficult with the wet rocks and leaves. Very intersting terrain again. Today for some reason salamanders were out on the trail. We spotted three of them. It is always so interesting to see the different root formations and how trees and plants grow in such strange ways. Many of them are depicted on our pictures. We actually saw the sun today! Yesterday and today we met two ladies that both days were walking the opposite direction of us. Was fun to talk to them. The campsite by Lake Eleven was a nice campsite. Seemed like a very well used trail(used also by horses) leading up to it. Once today and once yesterday we also saw people noting on the yellow markers other areas to camp. This entire hike in Taylor County did offer numerous camping opportunities in County land and it would be very easy to set up just about anywhere in these woods. Lots of cedar areas or other areas to find to set up. This section also had many creek crossings. This section took us just under 7 hours to hike. We hiked at a slower pace than yesterday, but we still had to work hard on this trail. We arrived back at the site at 5:00 to make a nice dinner. The wind though made that a bit difficult, we dug the pit out a bit to get a lower fire going. The wind during the day actually lifted our canopy and tent! The canopy unfortunately put a rip in Kay’s rainfly. Not in a horrible place and luckily did not destroy it… Bed was a bit early due to the rain beginning again at 7. While Karie and I went to go get vehicles Rose and Danielle and Kay collected wood. We now had a huge pile of wood, enough to last us through the rest of the weekend. We were trying to get some bigger logs burned for coals. We didn’t have anyidea how long it would rain. But it continued, of course throughout the night.
Our original plan would’ve been to move today after our hike to a campsite along the Mondeaux Esker Segment so that we could use that as a base for tomorrows hike. But because of the two nights of drenching rain we decided to keep camp set up in hopes of drying out a bit.
MONDEAUX ESKER SEGMENT FOREST/CAMPERS ROAD – MONDEAUX FOREST ROAD PAGE 23F OF ATLAS APP 6 MILES
As stated it rained throughout the night and as the night went on we could tell things changed. It was markably colder and yes, we woke to snow! Not just a little snow, there was at least 3/4 inches of snow on our tents, ground and trees. After suffering to get dressed and warm, we could really appreciate the landscape. The trees and lake were beautiful! The wind had died down and it was fairly nice out. Fire was a bit difficult as all the rain had frozen on to the branches. We did through manage a breakfast of warm oatmeal. We planned todays hike to be short also so that we could enjoy the Mondeaux flowage. People have told us it is the nicest part of this hike. We parked at the South end of the trail on both sides and hike south to north to the dam and then back south to the vehicle. The west side of the hike is mostly on top of an esker. Beautiful views of the flowage. This year was interesting as the flowage was drawn down, it appears because of dam repairs. Still was very pretty. We saw lots of turkey tracks in the snow. We stopped at West Point campground and laughed at the very detailed instructional signs they provide. Nice, small campground. The pump though was not in operation for water at this time. We used the toilets and continued on. We also ended up stopping at Spearhead for water. Also a very nice campground up high with lookouts to the lake. Lunch was at the dam which had a park. We saw a few hunters getting ready and heard some hunting noise, but never ran into them. The east side of the hike is mostly lower ground. Part of the walk is right along the water. This part was very wet this year. Alot of standing water and very wet boggy areas. The day stayed dry and calm. The walk was very interesting, lots of variety again today both walking and things along the trail. We ended fairly early today, the walk took us just over 5 hours. This again was at a pretty relaxed pace. We debated about driving and doing one of the ends of this trail, but decided we were good. It was a great night for a fire – no wind, no rain and with all the wood we had, we had a great time by the fire. We made soup and fried sausage, lots of hot chocolate. It was a very nice time.
This was the end of our hiking. The next day Danielle had a soccer game, so we planned to pack up and leave. Karie and Kay also decided the ankles, calves and body in general had enough. We took a pit stop on Hwy M by the "chainsaw" guy. They are in the picture – Danielle counted 21 telephone poles filled with chainsaws. We took some fun pictures and headed home.
Had some challenges this trip – rain/snow/wind no stove, but we really did well. The rain was well timed and we had a blast!