Hiking the Monches segment of the Ice Age TrailPosted: April 20, 2015
For those not familiar with it, the Ice Age Trail, it is one of the longer hiking trails in the United States, though it is not yet finished. The total 1200 mile route (yes, Wisconsin is that big!) runs up and down many of the best geological features from the last Ice Age (hence the name), so there’s a lot of going in and out of glacial-formed hills, valleys, and whatnot. The marked sections currently stand at 600 miles, so most people refer to the trail by its segments.
In the past we’ve done most of our hikes at the Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, which includes a section of the Ice Age Trail, but the Alchemist (rightly so!) wanted to hike somewhere different. A friend of ours, who’s hiked a goodly portion of the marked segments, recommended the Monches segment.
Like many of the segments we’ve done, the glacial features let you see many distinct biomes in just a few short miles. The goblins only lasted 1.8 miles (a bit disappointing, as I know they can do longer) before we turned around, but in that short span we went from a hardwood forest (predominately oak, with some aspen and beech) into a lovely riparian zone, followed by a wetland that featured some insanely loud frogs even in the mid-afternoon.
I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking: