Mission Lake County Park to Alban and Ringle Segment

Today’s hike was in Marathon and Portage Counties east of Wausau. Jared and I hiked with Jared’s friend Todd. We started at Mission Lake County Park in Marathon County and ended in Alban, which is in Portage County.

With this weekend the start of deer hunting, we saw lots of people out hunting. The entire hike was on the road and we still wore blaze orange and blaze pink (me) because as Todd said “we’re wearing blaze pink and orange so that we don’t get shot”. There was a post on the Thousand Miler Facebook page about hiking this weekend and some people got scared away from hiking because of the comments from some other people.

It was another grey overcast day, which is so boring for taking pictures, but it’s good conditions for hiking on the road. It was also pretty windy, but luckily we were walking with the wind most of the time.

While along County I, we saw an old TV in the brush, which reminded me of the bridge in Appleton’s Peabody Park. There were a few times that there were TV’s lying below the bridge because someone had tossed it off the bridge. A little ways down the road we met a lady out walking her dog who had a farm nearby. She knew of the Ice Age Trail and had considered putting out a bench in front of her yard or something for hikers. She also said that she had an outhouse that she would be ok with people using. She told me that she walks four miles every day with her dog who is 11 years old.

A few more miles down the route on County A, we met another lady who thought that when she first saw us that we might be some of her family chasing a deer. She told us she was living in her family home, which was at least 90 years old and had been built by a Russian. She sells flowers in the summer and had a nice looking yard.

We passed the Wisconsin Lions Camp near the end of the hike. Quite a few years ago, I had an interview for one of the full time positions. At that time I didn’t know much about the Ice Age Trail other than the section near Waupaca.

Our hike ended at 14.98 miles (I should have walked .02 more) without getting shot or having any windows shot out (both fears of other Thousand Milers who had heard of this happening). We ended at the Alban grocery store, where the woman was ok with us parking there. We then headed to Rosholt for lupper (lunch/supper depending on what meal you were having). We went to the Brick Pit House for some delicious ribs.

After eating, it was only 4:00, so we headed back out to the trail and did 3.25 more miles. For this short hike we did about a third of the Ringle Segment, which is near Ringle and Hatley. Part of this segment was recently redone, so we got to hike on the portion created by the Mobil Skills Crew. The segment also traveled along the Mountain-Bay State Trail and ended in Hatley. We did most of this in the dark. It was the first time I had hiked a section of the Ice Age Trail in the dark.

We headed to the hotel to sit in the hot tub. As we approached the pool I looked in the window and said “the hot tub is empty”. Apparently Jared didn’t hear the tone of my voice because he thought there weren’t any people in the hot tub, but what I meant was that the hot tub was empty of water. The hotel is under construction and the hot tub is part of that. There is also some interesting “wall art” along the hallway.

The evening ended with a trip to Pick N Save (I got some chocolate covered cherries!) and then Denny’s.

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