On the Trail

Ice Age Trail marker, Verona
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Way back in the 1950s there was a man with a vision of creating a linear park outlining the limits of a glacier which once covered much of Wisconsin.

By the 1970s, efforts were under way to create a long-distance hiking trail and in 1980 President Carter signed legislation creating the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

The Ice Age Trail covers 1,000 miles through 31 Wisconsin counties.

Volunteers care for most of the trail, there are just a few paid staff members.

A portion of the trail passes through Verona.  It's classic Oak Savannah land over rolling hills on the city's south side.

A few days ago, I spent an hour on and off the actual trail and some time on other trails cris-crossing the adjoining park.

Red-Winged Blackbird
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There are some folks who walked the trail's length.  A few completed it in one single effort, know as a thru-hike.  Others knock it off a section at a time.

I'm not even sure how many sections I've traveled, maybe a half-dozen or so.  In some places, bike trails follow the ice line.

The trail traces the state's most significant geological landmark which separates the relatively flat sections from the hilly, driftless, area.

My attraction to these natural places is the variety of beauty.  Even in early spring, there are stark images of faded, wind-swept grasses; toppled trees; and orphaned leaves clinging to empty branches.

Forest floor
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Just below the layer of dead leaves is a carpet of fauna coming to life.  There occasional glimpses of green during my trek, but most of the floor waited.

Waiting for a scheduled burn over last year's prairie.  Waiting for the sounds of baby birds.  Waiting.

Waiting for spring to walk down the trail on to the stage of spring on the Ice Age trail..