Straight River, Straight Lake, Trade River, and Gandy Dancer Segments

On Saturday Jared and I hiked in Polk County north of St Croix Falls.  We did part of the Straight River Segment, Straight Lake Segment, Trade River Segment and about 5 miles of the Gandy Dancer Segment.  We ended on the Gandy Dancer Segment in Luck.  The forecast for the day was a high of 88 and rain in the afternoon with a possibility of thunderstorms.  

While I waited at the parking lot for Jared to do the shuttle, I heard what sounded like someone playing a trumpet.  Some white birds flew over and I realized they were Trumpeter Swans!  A few summers ago, at the end of summer, there was a pair of swans on the lake up north at the cottage, but I never heard their call.  It was so neat to see them flying over and heard their call!

This was a really nice hike.  I had been doing a lot of road walks on the Ice Age Trail during the winter and spring.  It was nice to finally be on trail most of the time.  I felt really speedy for quite a few miles.  Maybe it was the coffee that morning or it felt easy compared to the Appalachian Trail.   

I had recently bought a new camera, and I had many opportunity to try it out.   When we were near Straight Lake, we saw the swans floating around, and I was able to zoom way in on my camera and get some decent pictures considering the distance.  One swan had a tag on it, the other did not.  We saw some people on the trail near the lake, and one couple said they were doing the loop around the lake.

While walking along a short road chunk, we saw a woman using a ratchet strap on a dumpster.  She was doing this to keep the bears out.  For lunch we stopped to eat lunch on an erratic.  At this point I had drank almost all my water.  Jared had his water filter along, so we stopped to fill up.  It was like being on the AT again!  


At some point in our hike I noticed that Jared’s socks were really dirty.  I then realized that it wasn’t dirt, but pollen.  I checked my shoes and they too were covered in pollen.

The last part of our hike on the Gandy Dancer was pretty boring.  It’s a rail to trail, so it’s flat and straight.  While on the bike trail, I suggested that we look for an ice cream shop after we were done. We were back to hiking in Wisconsin, so this shouldn’t be a problem, unlike Georgia! We got on the topic of ice cream flavors and started thinking of flavors that would coincide with the AT.  Strawberry ice cream could be called Blood Mountain.  Another flavor with lots of nuts and chunks could be named after Preachers Rock or another mountain.  Then we got to flavors relating to the Ice Age Trail.  Jared suggested chocolate ice cream with nuts and blue moon in the middle for Devils Lake.   I wanted to come up with an ice cream for a road walk.  I suggested vanilla because vanilla is boring and so are road walks.  Jared likes vanilla, so he said chocolate with something yellow down the middle.  

About a mile from the end, the rain started. It was pretty light and only lasted a few minutes.  It wasn’t bad at all compared to what they were forecasting.  The weather people get it wrong again!

We ended our hike in Luck with just under 16 miles and headed back to the campground at Interstate Park.  We did walk the trails at the park a bit and went near the western terminus, but I did not go up there and I did not go on the Ice Age Trail at all. I’m not going down that trail unless I am hiking that section. I haven’t decided if I will end at the western terminus or if I will end at Lapham Peak.

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