We are now solidly in the Forest Section of the Wisconsin Way, AKA the Wisc Camino. Most of DAY SEVEN, we’ll be hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest on The Ice Age Trail, a National Scenic Trail. Follow along as UNSTOPPABLE Stacey learns hard lessons about being available to others. If you’d like to set off at the beginning of the pilgrimage, then check out Walking The Wisconsin Way Pilgrimage: A Beginner’s Guide.
START: Glenbeulah | END: County Road F, east of Dundee
14.9 mi/ 24 km, 4h 55m | Forest Section | Services: Restaurant and mini-mart in both Glenbeulah and Dundee
DAY SEVEN of the Wisc Way in Pictures
My plan for this day was to walk from the Airbnb on the millpond in Glenbeulah to Dundee. After a day spent hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest, Fr. Kurz would meet me where the Ice Age Trail crosses County Road F, about 1.5 miles / 2.4 km east of the town of Dundee. He would then shuttle me back to the Airbnb in Glenbeulah. Because Airbnb required a two-night minimum stay, and I could not find another place to stay near Dundee, we did the shuttle.
[Since my Wisc Camino, a two-bedroom vacation rental has opened in Dundee.]
Ice Age Trail – Greenbush Segment
All but that first mile (1.6 km) of DAY SEVEN’s trek is on the Ice Age Trail through the Northern Unit Kettle Moraine State Forest. The Ice Age Trail follows the terminal moraine created during the last Ice Age. The tall moraines mark the edge of the last glacier in Wisconsin. Because the steep topography left behind are some of the best examples of moraines, eskers, and kames globally, glacier morphologists come from all over the world to study them. I was a happy pilgrim to be walking such renowned terrain.
Glacial Landforms Seen at Kettle Moraine State Forest:
Humpback-shaped hills, an Ice Age mystery made by deposition or carved from debris
Formed under stagnant ice by subglacial streams depositing waterworn rock, sand and gravel.
Conical hills of drift deposited under the ice
Round indentations originated from buried ice, those filled with water crate ponds or lakes
Masses of rock and sediment carried and then deposited by glaciers
Hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest along The Ice Age Trail
The Ice Age trail led me up to the top of a level-topped serpentine ridge. The stones embedded in the path were rounded by water—clues to the land feature’s name upon which I trod. I was walking along the top of a flat-topped esker, one of the glacial landforms created 10-12,000 years ago.
This section of the Ice Age Trail through Kettle Moraine National Forest is densely wooded. The trail follows the world-famous (to glaciologists) Parnell Esker.
“It’s going to be a glorious day,” greeted the first hiker of the day an hour later. The young mushroom hunter was walking north on the Ice Age Trail. He was up early to check the status of a Hen of the Woods mushroom, known by the Japanese as maitake, growing at the base of an oak tree.
“Hen of the Woods mushrooms get to be 12- to 18-inches (31- to 46-cm wide.) My buddy hiked to that oak tree two weeks ago, but the mushroom was only four to five inches wide,” he revealed. “But its location is no secret, so I hope that the mushroom is still there.”
I wish that I would have accompanied him on his hunt, but I did not have extra time if I were to meet Fr. Kurz at the agreed time. I pressed on.
While Hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest, You’ll Intersect the Scenic Drive
You’ll cross the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive several times while hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest during the next few days of the Wisc Camino. The scenic drive via auto is another way to experience the magnificent glacial landscapes.
Hiking Solo on the Wisc Way
Although I was hiking on a Friday through prime fall colors, I saw few people in the Greenbush section. Until Greenbush Picnic Area, where I met backpacker Drew, and families were enjoying lunch. Drew had strewn his socks, boots and lunch makings over the whole picnic table, or I would have asked to join him.
“Not a pilgrim,” I scoffed after greeting him and walking by to another picnic table perched high on an esker. “A pilgrim would leave room for others to join.” After consuming my lunch while checking my hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest map, I felt terrible that I’d been so judgemental. “Forgive me, Lord,” I whispered as I walked back down the hill to strike up conversation.
“You’re hiking solo?” Drew exclaimed after exchanging some pleasantries. “Aren’t you afraid to be out here alone?”
“Should I be? Are you afraid?” I said, looking into his eyes. He seemed taken aback at my question.
“I’m not staying in the Ice Age Trail Shelters like you are,” I admitted and explained my Wisc Camino pilgrimage.
Ice Age Trail Shelters for Backpackers
Wisc Way pilgrims could opt to carry camping equipment and stay in Ice Age Trail Shelters that are found while hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest. You must reserve backpack shelters in advance by calling Reserve America at (888) 947-2757, TTY (800) 274-7275. You cannot make Ice Age Trail shelter reservations online.
Ice Age Trail Shelter #5 is at Greenbush Kettle near the picnic area. Ice Age Trail Shelter #4 is near the Parnell Tower, where I met Linda and Brad Allen, two Camino de Santiago pilgrims.
Encountering More Camino de Santiago Pilgrims on the Wisc Camino
What a blessing to meet Linda and Brad, who had walked a portion of the Camino Frances in Spain the prior year! They were curious about my Wisc Way pilgrimage, and I answered a few questions but felt rushed because my meetup time with Fr. Kurz was fast approaching. I should have slowed down. But instead, I sped up, trying to put some distance between us. The Lord had other plans for me.
Hearts Preoccupied with Worries Are Not Available To Others
In every encounter with someone else, however long or short, says Jacques Phillippe in his book Interior Freedom, we should make them feel we’re one hundred percent there for them at that moment.
“This is very difficult since we have a strong sense of proprietary rights to our time and easily tend to get upset if we can’t organize it as we choose,” the French author asserts. “But this is the price of genuine love. If Jesus asks us not to have any worries, that is mainly to safeguard the quality of our relations with other people. A heart preoccupied by concerns and worries isn’t available to other people.”
I was lost in my concerns and worries—afraid that I would be late for my scheduled meeting with Fr. Kurz. In fact, I was a little mad at myself for planning the shuttle and not leaving the day open-ended like I would on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I could have hitched a ride back to Glenbeulah, or God only knows what other options may have presented.
Lying prone on the Wisconsin Way, I asked, “What’s the message here?”
So I picked up the pace, flying along with my long legs and lightened backpack. I strode up and down the rounded hills and hillocks of knobby drift. That is until one of those waterworn stones embedded in the Ice Age Trail caught my toe. And I did a Superman, my arms flailing out before me and my left hip hitting the rocky trail. Lying prone on the Wisconsin Way, I asked, “What’s the message here?”
“Slow down,” was the memo loud and clear. And so I brushed myself off and resumed walking at my usual pace. Soon I heard Linda and Brad catching up.
“We’re walking at almost the same pace,” said Brad. “Once we get to our car at the parking lot, we could give you a ride to where you need to meet the Father. What did you say his name was?”
Another option presents its self on the Wisc Camino. “Yes, I’d be happy to take you up on the offer for a ride,” I smiled. Although the Lord had been sending a solution, I’d been walking away from it as fast as I could. The three of us walked and talked together, sharing Camino de Santiago stories as all pilgrims do. And of course, we took photos of each other. “Maybe this one will make the book cover,” I said as I stood on the Ice Age Trail under the golden canopy.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying, add a single moment to your life-span?” — Matthew 6:25-27 NABRE
What do you think about Fr. Phillippe’s statement: “If Jesus asks us not to have any worries, that is mainly to safeguard the quality of our relations with other people”?
What concerns and worries are keeping you from being available to others?
Butler Lake Parking Lot
As we neared the Butler Lake parking lot, laughing and sharing, we met a man and woman hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest towards us. “How do you use these things?” asked the woman holding up her hiking poles. Linda and I gave her walking stick tips while the guys acquainted themselves. It turns out the fellow was the pastor of an Alliance church near Holy Hill—perhaps they were my backup ride to Glenbeulah had I left the day’s journey open-ended.
Fr. Kurz hiked out to meet us on the Ice Age Trail, and I introduced him to the Camino pilgrims. We shared more Camino tales walking back to our vehicles. DAY SEVEN’S story ended well—I’d worried needlessly—and my hip didn’t start hurting until the next day.
If you stay in Dundee
If you stay in Dundee, you could drop your pack at your accommodation and end your day with an audio tour up Dundee Mountain. Jackie Scharfenberg, the park naturalist, leads you on this informative virtual tour on the Summit Trail. The one-mile loop trail starts near campsite #944 in the Long Lake Recreation Area. You’ll learn how glaciers shaped the landscape on which you are hiking Kettle Moraine State Forest. Download the podcast-style guide here. This would be a good option for camping as Ice Age Trail Shelter #3 is about 2.5 miles / 4 km south of Long Lake Recreation Area.
Since it was Friday, I took part in the Wisconsin tradition of going out to Friday Night Fish Fry. After returning to Glenbeulah, I enjoyed the hand-battered walleye at Fudgienuckles Family Sports Pub & Grill.
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