Dells of the Eau Claire County Park to Ringle Segment

With a little bit of snow and some sunshine, today turned out to be a really nice day even if it was cold. Jared, Penny, and I did 11 miles, and with all the things we forgot you would think we were a bunch of novice hikers.

Our hike began with the Dells Segment at Dells of Eau Claire County Park in Marathon County. Right off the bat, Jared couldn’t find his ear muffs. Luckily he had his back up pair. Jared prefers that I refer to his ear muffs as ear coverings. They’re not the fuzzy ones I think of when I think about ear muffs, but they still do the same thing. As we walked toward the trail, I saw a sign that said “This park posses dangerous natural features please supervise children”. This is always a good sign, it means there will be something interesting to take pictures of! Once we got by the first look of the river, I realized I forgot my hiking poles at the car. I was too lazy to run back to get them, so I decided to hike without them.

This first portion of the trail goes through the county park along the river, so it is well maintained and I would assume busy in the summer. The scenery looked really neat with the snow and blue sky. A good portion of the Dells Segment runs along the Eau Claire River. Penny was so excited to be hiking and she had tons of energy. She was bouncing around and had her tail held high!

The snow made it a bit slippery, so it took a little extra effort to hike even though we were only going 11 miles. A bit before the five mile mark, I decided to eat lunch. Jared started to search for his lunch and realized that he did not put his lunch in his pack. I also realized I did not put Penny’s treats in my bag. I had packed a lighter lunch because we were only doing 11 miles, but I shared some of it with Jared. I had packed an apple sauce pouch, babybel cheese, a peanut butter tub, and Belvita ginger bread cookies. Jared and I had a scoop of peanut butter and Penny licked the rest. We split the cheese three ways, and it’s not really all that big. Jared ate most of the apple sauce and I shared the gingerbread with Penny. The gingerbread is a seasonal flavor and is delicious!

Another incident of forgetting was to remember to check to see if anything was closed due to hunting. We only saw one hunter and Penny had her blaze orange vest on.

We encountered a lot of icy patches and puddles of water. Near a wet part of he trail, Penny surged ahead and fell into a wet creek or puddle, Jared had to pull her out and carry her across the area. She was not too happy about this, but continued on her cheerful way. She would bounce away from Jared anytime after that when she thought he might attempt to pick her up again.

Near the end of the hike, the trail went over a kame. A kame is a cone shaped hill. The side we went up just seemed like a big hill, but once on top we could see it dropping off on all sides and the side we went down, was pretty steep.

I was pretty tired by the end of the hike. With a smaller amount of food and snow that made it slippery and just a bit harder to hike, I was running low on energy. We ended in the middle of the Ringle Segment, where we had started our night hike a few weeks ago.

Today was really a great day for hiking! Yes it was cold, but the sun, blue sky, and snow made it an enjoyable day! Penny also had a great time. She was energetic the entire time and was still running ahead at the end. Hopefully she will have energy for tomorrow’s hike!

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