Mondeaux Esker to Wood Lake County Park

On Saturday Jared dropped me off at the east end of the Mondeaux Esker Segment. We were north of Medford in Taylor County. While I waited for Jared to shuttle, I noticed a deer in the field and then realized there were two others farther off. As I watched the closest deer, I saw something hopping behind it. It was a fawn! It was so small that it hopped behind the mom to keep up in the long grass. I saw fawns hopping behind the other adult deer father off. The closest one started to come towards me and she crossed the road with her fawn not too far down from me. Unfortunately I only had my phone and not my camera because of all the rain forecasted for the day.

We did not hike any of the Mondeaux segment. We headed east on the road and did a road walk for 3 miles. Our first segment was the Pine Line Segment, which started with getting through a ditch with standing water. There was a nice DCA with log benches. We had another small road walk and then stopped for lunch at a wayside on highway 13.

The next segment, East Lake, started at the wayside. The mosquitoes were pretty bad and we had to keep putting on bug spray. I also wore my bug net on my head because I got sick of mosquitoes and flies bouncing off my ears. At some point it started to rain and it got pretty heavy. The rain wasn’t as bad as two weeks ago. It stopped after awhile and I was able to take my coat off. The trail used to go through the Rib Lake School Forest, but that has been closed, so had to walk a longer road walk, which was part of the Rib Lake Segment. We passed some cottages and then came upon Timms Hill Trail, which is the first trail to be recognized as a National Side Trail. It joined on the road with the Ice Age Trail and then got onto real trail at the Rusch Preserve, which is a 50 acre area donated to the Ice Age Alliance. We passed another DCA, and this one had a fire pit and some very nice benches with backs and arm rests. This doesn’t normally happen! We ended at the Timms Hill southern terminus and the end of the Rib Lake Segment. The day’s total was 16 miles!

After picking up the moped we stopped in Rib Lake for pizza and ice cream! Jared talked to Todd, and he was going to do some hiking with us the next day because his trail building for the North Country Trail got canceled due to rain. He did a small chunk on the road and through the preserve and then met up with us at the preserve. We camped at the preserve again in the same place we camped two weeks ago.

It rained during the night and this morning we heard thunder as we were packing up. We had a quick breakfast, were on the road to Wood Lake County Park by 6:40, and hiking by 7:05.

Today we started at Wood Lake County Park and headed west. We had ended at the park two weeks ago and had about 2/3 of the Wood Lake Segment left to do. Jared says the Wood Lake Segment should be changed to Mosquito Segment, but I think most of the segments up north could be called that.

It started to rain soon after we got started. My shoes were still wet from the day before, so it wasn’t long until my feet were soaking wet and squishing again. I really don’t like squishing feet! After the rain slowed I kept my rain coat on because I didn’t know if it would start again and it kept the mosquitoes off of me. I wore my bug net off and on today. We use 100% deet bug spray, which really works well, but the stupid mosquitoes still like to bounce off my ears and fly around my head.

At about 6.5 miles I needed something to eat and wanted to take off my coat. I was feeling pretty hot, it was sunny and it seemed like the rain was gone. Jared and I shared a single slice of spam and I had a n energy gel. The spam singles are really handy for hiking. They’re flat, so they fit easily into a bag. It’s also nice to have a quick snack with some salt and protein.

The rain stayed away for the rest of the hike, but the sun really warmed things up. Luckily we were in the shade most of the time, so it wasn’t too bad. After the Wood Lake Segment, we finished off the Rib Lake Segment and ended at the Rusch Preserve again.

Today’s total came to 11.5 miles. My legs and feet weren’t too sore, but overall I did feel tired. We were done around 11:30 or noon, which was really nice. We had to drive to Appleton to get Penny from my parents’ house before going home.

After this weekend, we have two weekends left before we’re done with the trail! We have a chunk in Taylor County to do that we will backpack and then we have the last 14 miles to the western terminus!

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