Today we hiked 11.2 miles in the snow! Jared, Penny, Jared’s friend Todd, and I hiked in Barron County, north of Eau Claire, and went through the small village of Haugen. It was very different from Madison, and Penny was happy to be in the snow. Last winter we did a lot of road walks and not much on actual trail, so I wasn’t ready for how much harder it is to hike in the snow. It reminded me of cross country skiing and was very aerobic. It’s a good thing I have a lot of endurance from all the swimming, biking, and running that I do!
We started on actual trail right away and did the Bear Lake Segment. It had recently snowed, so we were walking through fresh snow. Whoever went first had a bit more work to do because they were breaking the trail. I felt tired during some of the hike, but overall it wasn’t too bad. I liked breaking trail and having fresh snow to go through. I got warm quickly and was able to put on thinner gloves after a couple miles. It’s nice to have warm hands and be outside! We stopped for lunch for 10 minutes, which was a bit too long because I started to get cold. My fingers went a bit numb and I had to put on my heavy duty mittens with hand warmers. This segment travels through Camp Phillips, which is a Boy Scout camp. They had some small cabins that we walked by that had room for four beds. We also walked near the waterfront swimming area, and they had quite the set up.
After the camp we traveled on trail a bit more and then hiked on the road. It was a nice break to be out of the snow and walk on the road. Penny was getting tired and she seemed to pick up speed a bit once on the road. She had been getting ice build up in her paws going through the snow and had to stop to chew the ice off. Once on the road she didn’t have as much trouble with the ice build up. Our road walk took us through Haugen. We walked past the old school building, which was now the historical museum. They had done a good job keeping it in good condition (at least the outside), and it looked really nice.
Once walking through Haugen, we followed the Wild River State Trail, which is a four wheeler route. This was still a connecting route because the Ice Age Trail cannot be on non-human powered multi use trail. We walked in the tire tracks left by the four wheelers, but this got to be difficult after awhile. With each step I would feel my foot sliding. My knee started to hurt and it was hard to keep going. I put microspikes on my shoes, and this made it easier to walk, but it still wasn’t normal. We ended at the Tuscobia bike trail, which is also the Tuscobia Segment, which we will hike tomorrow.
Penny was glad to have a rest and I was glad to sit down. We really hadn’t taken many breaks except for a few short ones in the beginning. For supper we went to the Norske Nook in Rice Lake. Jared and I had pie as appetizers. I had beef roast and mashed potatoes in a bread bowl with gravy, it was delicious! Tonight we’re staying at the Super 8 in Rice Lake, which is pet friendly. Penny jumped up on the bed right away and made herself at home. She’s definitely tired, but I think she will be ready to go tomorrow for another day of hiking in the snow!