We had a delightful experience hiking along the Wisconsin river just north of Merrill. The weather was mild and sunny. We didn't even need bug spray. Four of us set out with 3 wildflower identification books. Many of the flowers were familiar to us and some of them were a challenge to identify but, with the help of Ruby Jaecks from the Northwoods Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, we were able to figure out the names of them.
Thanks once again to the Mehrings for hosting their fun Squash Lake Winter Games. Weather pushed the event back a day which meant some NPTers weren’t able to attend. A thick slush layer under the snow cover had to be avoided near the slick and clear shuffleboard court. The competition of orange vs yellow teams was “stiff” but friendly. See the photos. The soft grey toned sky made a pleasant backdrop. The warming bonfire was welcome when a slight breeze picked up. Ravens and crows flying over in pairs foretold of coming spring.
Mary B. Jay J. and I went with the 2-hour group which was really long enough on a cold day. This Underdown segment of the Ice Age Trail in Lincoln County is HILLY so up and down we traversed then found some relief crossing bogs. Bogs are always fun to see in the winter with their short tamarack and black spruce trees, like a miniature forest. We didn’t see any wildlife. We were dusted with light snow as we hiked. Cookies and hot chocolate or hot cider awaited us when we finished our hikes.
These Ice Age Hikes draw quite a sizable group, maybe 30-40 people. The hike was divided into groups of 1, 2, 3 and 4 hours.
Heal Creek, a City of Rhinelander property adjoining the Northwoods Golf Course, has become one of our favorite local trail systems for snowshoeing. The animal tracks in the snow, regrowth of aspen, beaver damage, the up and down terrain, and the creek itself provide a lot of interest. Additional trail marking now makes it easier to find your way. Of course, snowshoers had already tracked the trail ahead of us as is often the case. It was a beautiful winter day with some blue skies and sun peeking through the clouds. Nine NPT enthusiasts enjoyed hiking the trail together.
The snowshoe hike on the NORA trail system was super. It was a little cold to start with, but we warmed up quickly with the activity and the sun being out. We “shoed” along on sparkling sugar snow, saw tracks galore but no animals except for two eagles flying overhead that we could presume might be a pair checking out the real estate.
We stopped at Mary Lou Baribeau’s donated bench for a photo and reminisced about her love of snowshoeing on this trail. We had to bushwhack a short distance to return to the main trail when it seemed to have stopped but that wasn’t a problem with Dan E. in the lead. This “short but sweet” trail made for an enjoyable time for us as the smiling faces in the photo shows.
Perch Lake Shelter
Scary and not so scary animals awaited those who attended this Annual Event hosted by Dan and Marj. We searched for 56 or 63 animals in groups of 2-4 doing fun activities like building a log cabin, hiking with mini-backpacks, and roasting marshmallows around a campfire positioned along the Washburn Ski Trails. We were charmed by the thought put into it. All for our enjoyment, thanks to the Mehrings. The weather was perfect for this event. After the Creature Scavenger Hunt, we enjoyed a delicious pot-luck meal at the shelter’s outside “fireplace room”. Lots of good visiting time. As the evening light waned, the fireplace warmth was welcome.
The hike was a really memorable one. Thanks to all who participated.
It was a perfect blue-sky kind of day. That with good company - picturesque lunch spot - interesting fungi, plants and trees along the trail made for a fine time. One of our members even found a geocache without a GPS location!
Smooth Water on the Pelican River
Farewell paddle and bonfire for one of our longest standing members, Catherine Joppa, who had to move out of the area. We will all miss her friendly greetings and all that she contributed to make our organization a success over the years. She has served on the board, lead countless outings, supported events lead by others, authored our website, contributed lots of great ideas, helped bring people together to enjoy our common interest in silent sports and documented much of it with photos.
Our fun started with a moonlight hike/snowshoe through Perch Lake Recreation Area. 11 adventurous souls meet at the Judy Swank Shelter to begin our walk. We chose the blue trail, winding through the woods following the trail. We didn’t even need our headlights. That trail seemed too short, so we walked on and around Kathy’s loop. On return to the shelter, we enjoyed more fellowship around the outdoor fireplace before heading home.
On Friday morning Jan 29th 7 of us gathered at Heal Creek Snowshoe trail. It was a beautiful sunny morning. The snow was well packed an all of the trails, so we had fun just hiking down to the beaver dam then back up, down & around taking the yellow, blue & red trails. It is a great place to hike with lots of variety.
Friday afternoon we met at McNaughton Ski Trail. For our 1st ski of the year. The skiing was fun as we glided along the outside loop and down to the shelter. McNaughton is double tracked so we were able to share conversation as we skied. All too soon the trail ended as we arrived back at the cars.
Friday evening the bonfire at Mehring’s was fun as we watched pine branches send sparks up into the sky. Later over the glowing coals we roasted marshmallows and made apple pudgy pies. A fun relaxing way to end the day.
Saturday Jan. 30th dawned clear & bright as we loaded up the skies to head to Raven Ski Trail. When we got there, we discovered Raven Trail now also has a snowshoe & mountain bike trail! The 5 of us put on our skies and headed up the blue trail. The tracks were well used but still good. I’d forgotten how nice the Raven Trail was. It was a great ski up to the shelter, then we took the Red bi-pass trail back to the cars.
Saturday afternoon found us snowshoe hiking the Washburn Lake trails, starting at the old trail head the 5 of us took the red trail through the snow-covered woods. We then looped around on Kathy’s Loop; it was neat to compare the moonlight hike to the sun light hike. The trail was fun both ways. Then we took the yellow cut-off trail back to the red trail continuing through the woods and back to the cars.
Saturday evening found us sharing a campfire at Maren & Dan Ewert’s. They provide us burger, hot dogs and chicken wings to re-energies us from our day’s fun. About 12 of us joined around the fire, sharing food, & fellowship. A wonderful way to end the day.
Sunday Jan 31st was time for Ice shuffleboard and Squash Lake disc golf. There were 14 people who tried their skill at shuffleboard & disc golf. Lots of laughter and fellowship filled the air as all traded off eating by the fire and playing the games. Ten scores are rare in ice shuffleboard, but one of our skillful players scored 2 in one round! It was a great day.