Harrison Hills to Grandfather Falls aka Penny’s Big Adventure

This hike was split over two days and was a backpacking trip!  The entire hike was in Lincoln County and it started about halfway through the Harrison Hills Segment .  Penny came along on this adventure and as we were waiting for Jared to do the shuttle she got some bad bites from mosquitoes on her face.  I was worried they would bother her the entire time, but it wasn’t too bad for her. We kept moving most of the time, and she had clouds of mosquitoes around her, but not too many bites.  

The Alta Junction Segment was wet, but not any buggier than the Harrison Hills.  After Alta Junction we did a short road walk and then took the Underdown Segment.  At one point on this segment, I was taking a picture of Jared and Penny, and Penny kept walking back toward me.  She appeared to have noticed something.  Right after I took the picture, Penny scared a turkey and it went flying off.  It was a pretty big turkey and I’ve never seen a turkey fly.  

I was getting pretty tired on the Underdown Segment.  We would only go a little under 10 miles in total for the hike, but I was carrying a 20 pound pack and we hadn’t taken any breaks longer than a couple minutes.  We ate lunch before starting out, so there wasn’t that break.  I was glad to get to the shelter near Dog Lake, which we stayed at for the night.  

The shelter was constructed in the fall of 2015 and it was really nice.  There was a bench inside, which was large enough to sleep on, and there were three small benches around a campfire ring.  The lake  was in view, so we were able to refill our water.  I had ramen for supper and got Penny to eat her food by putting ramen in her food.  She can be a picky eater and hadn’t eaten the day before, so I wanted to make sure she ate with another day of hiking ahead of us.  Penny was pretty tired and went into the tent to rest early in the night.  We had supper, set up camp, and had a campfire then went to bed around 9:30.  I slept in the tent with Penny and Jared tried out the bench in the shelter.  It was a cool night, which I was expecting.  I didn’t think I’d get cold, but I had trouble sleeping because my arms were cold.  

In the morning I tried out Carnation Instant Breakfast with powdered milk in water, and it was pretty good!  I also had a single serving of cold spam, which was also good.  

We finished off the Underdown Segment and then had a road walk to Tug Lake Recreation Area. There was a section of the Underdown that was so buggy I needed to use my bug net.  I’m really glad I had it!  Near the beginning of the road walk it started to rain, and it was heavy enough that I could see it coming down, but it stopped after only a minute. It’s like we  walked in and out of the rain.  It sprinkled a few more times on our walk and then got a bit heavier as we arrived at Tug Lake.  We jumped in the car and headed over to Camp New Wood County Park. 

From the county park, we did a section of the Grandfather Falls Segment that ends at a dead end.  The segment used to have a section of trail that went on private land and up to the road, but it had been closed.  This part of the segment was in the Nels P Evjue Merrill School Forest.  We came upon an area that had two new boardwalks and met a lady later on that said those boardwalks had just been built.  We also passed a really nice looking education center with outhouse.  The outhouse was stocked with toilet paper, and when I say stocked I mean stocked!   There was lots of long grass and mud along this part of the trail.  Once we got to the end, we turned around and went back to where the trail crossed the road and then took the road back to the park. 

With today’s hike I can now say I have completed 600 miles of the Ice Age Trail!  I have a little over 500 left to do.

When I come back to this area I will have a road walk from Tug Lake to Camp New Wood County Park that we skipped and the rest of the Grandfather Falls Segment to continue west.  I will also have to finish the Harrison Hills.  

There were many trails in the school forest and they were also used for cross country skiing in the winter. Many of the areas we hiked in this weekend had lots of trails that also had cross country skiing.  It seemed like a really nice bunch of trails for skiing.

It was fun to do a short backpacking trip and I’ll definitely be doing it again. This was Penny’s biggest hiking accomplishment so far.  She hiked 9.75 miles on Saturday, camped Saturday night and then hiked 11 miles today.  Her longest hike prior to this had been 12 flat miles in one day.  This  was also the first time she had hiked two days in a row.  On Saturday I didn’t find any ticks on Penny.  Today while driving home, I picked off one from her leg hair and three from the seat hammock.  I’m interested to see how many more I find later tonight.   

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2 thoughts on “Harrison Hills to Grandfather Falls aka Penny’s Big Adventure

  1. Nice to meet you on Harrison Hills today. We didn’t make it all the way to the Dog Lake shelter, but wish we had after seeing your photos. Happy trails!

    Colin & Justin

    Liked by 1 person

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