Spring is beautiful, and summer is perfect for vacations, but autumn brings a longing to get away from the unreal things of life, out into the forest at night with a campfire and the rustling leaves.
- Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
Welcome to the OCTOBER 2021 issue of MILES PEDDLED (MP). The subject matter of this Month's edition will be BIKING AND HIKING COMBO ADVENTURES. Playlist suggestion: AUTUMN LEAVES by Nat King Cole.
Before we get to the subject matter of this Month's edition, however, Management at MP is happy to announce the nuptials of some very loyal subscribers. Playlist suggestion: WEDDING MARCH: RECESSIONAL; or, WHITE WEDDING by Billy Idol, take your pick.
Specifically, the nuptials of the following:
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD (COB):
Not too long ago, the beautiful and kind daughter of COB married her longtime boyfriend in a beautiful ceremony down in Florida. Message to this new couple: Please follow your Dad's lead and subscribe to MP.
FIRST LADY (FL) and THE PUNDIT (TP):
Recently, the very intelligent and beautiful daughter of FL and TP (she takes after her mother) wed a very thoughtful and handsome young man. Hopefully in the future these young newlyweds will want to subscribe to MP.
A charter subscriber to MP, GI JOE just tied the knot with a very wonderful young woman. Personal message to Mrs. GI JOE: Please let him get the gravel bike.
It should be noted that the ceremonies for all of the couples were delayed because of COVID. The simple fact that these couples fought through the adversity is a testament to their love and devotion to each other. As stated by MAYA ANGELOU:
Love recognizes no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination, full of hope.
NOTE: More nuptials next month.
Another delay before we get to the subject matter at hand and that is an update regarding the Badger Trail and the wonderful town of New Glarus, Wisconsin, affectionally known as "Little Switzerland." Please recall that a very detailed and informative description of the trail and the town are set forth in the June 2021 edition of MP.
On a recent hot and muggy Saturday, MP sent out another intrepid scouting party to ride the Badger Trail and report back to Management regarding the condition of the trail and if anything has changed in New Glarus. MP is happy to announce that all is well in Cheesehead Country. The trail is in good condition and the town is as pretty as ever. See the GALLERY section of the digital version of MP wherein you will see a picture of the scouting party enjoying a post ride hydration Old Fashioned.
One final delay before we get to the subject matter at hand. Since the subject matter of this Month's edition includes "hiking," Management feels that it is necessary to mention some of the essentials that the loyal subscribers to MP should consider before undertaking the recommended hikes. In reality, this is Management's overt gesture to REI, MOOSEJAW, and BACKCOUNTRY to purchase some space in the next edition of MP which will be the HOLIDAY BUYING GUIDE. MP would hate for their marketing department to miss this excellent opportunity.
The hiking essentials are as follows:
Comfortable, well fitting and breathable hiking shoes/boots are a must. Go to the store and try them on. This is where you need to spend your money. Think HOKA, SALOMON, LA SPORTIVA, MERREL, etc.
You need warm and wicking.
DMANOPEDIA recommends the following:
A layering system incorporates 3 pieces: a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer. Worn closest to the skin, the base layer should have a snug fit; it wicks perspiration away from your body to prevent your core temp from cooling. Next, the mid-layer acts as your insulation, or your warming layer. Last, the outer layer blocks wind, rain, and snow. The outer layer should be a waterproof/breathable shell (think GORE-TEX or the soon to be released D-TEX).
Other items to consider are a hat, backpack, water bottle; but most importantly, a 100% cotton bandana. Playlist suggestion RED BANDANA by Merle Haggard.
Now let's move on to the subject matter at hand, BIKING AND HIKING COMBO ADVENTURES. As usual, Management at MP will trust its very intelligent subscribers to use GOOGLE MAPS or DMAPS to get specific information regarding the recommended bike and hiking trails.
NOTE: Many loyal subscribers have inquired: What is this DMAPS that is so fondly referred to by Management at MP? Management is always happy to oblige and possibly the following analogy will provide greater clarity.
Management is sure that many of its loyal subscribers have seen the movie SULLY. As the story goes, the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger (Sully), was experiencing engine difficulty and radioed ground control. Playlist suggestion: SPACE ODDITY by David Bowie.
Ground control, following the artificial intelligence provided to them, instructed Sully to land the airplane at a nearby airport. Sully, with his vast years of experience, knew that he did not have enough fuel to make it to the designated airport. Thus, Sully overrode the artificial intelligence and successfully landed the plane on the Hudson River saving many lives and giving Tom Hanks another starring role.
DMAPS is like the interplay between Sully and the artificial intelligence. DMAPS uses the artificial intelligence of Google Maps, but given DMAPS' vast years of biking experience, DMAPS may sometimes overrule Google Maps.
In addition, DMAPS will provide you with the back story and essence of your journey which cannot be obtained through Google Maps.
To the trails:
1. SLEEPING BEAR DUNES
The recommended bike trails are Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and The Leelanau Trail. Please see the very August (respected and impressive) August Issue of MP for further details regarding the 2 recommended trails.
Sleeping Bear Dunes (SBD) has miles of sand beaches, bluffs that tower 450 feet above Lake Michigan, lush forest and clear inland lakes and rivers. There is approximately 100 miles of designated trails in SBD. Visit the National Park Service website which provides detailed information and trail maps with pictures for each of the 14 designated trails.
2. DEVIL'S LAKE
The closest bike trail to the Devil's Lake State Park is the Great Sauk State Trail (GSST). Construction on the GSST began in 2017. On the north end it starts just outside of Devil's Lake State Park and then continues south into Sauk City for approximately 12 miles. Eventually, the trail will continue south into Madison. This is one time that you will want to use Google Maps to make sure that all sections of the trail have been completed.
If you are up for a little longer ride, travel northwest from Devil's Lake and you will end up in Reedsburg where you can access the trailhead to the 400 Trail which proceeds northwest for the next 22 miles into Elroy, Wisconsin where you can grab the famous Elroy Sparta Trail. Please see the August issue of MP which had more information regarding the Elroy Sparta Trail.
The hiking will be done in Devil's Lake State Park (DLSP), which has over 29 miles of hiking trails of varying distance and difficulties. Visit the DLSP website for detailed information regarding the hikes. Only in Wisconsin would the website be sponsored by a brewer/distiller, in this case, DRIFTLESS GLEN voted the Wisconsin distiller of the year and only 3 miles from the park.
3. KETTLE MORAINE – SOUTHERN UNIT
The biking and hiking recommendations will be near the Ottawa Lake Recreation Area in the Kettle Moraine – Southern Unit (KMSU). Approximately 15 miles north of the Ottawa Lakes Recreation Area is the Glacial-Drumin Recreational Trail (GDRT). On the west end, the trail starts in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin and continues east for approximately 54 miles into Waukesha, Wisconsin. The west half of the trail is crushed limestone. The east half of the trail is paved. The entire trail is very scenic and mostly flat.
The recommended ride is to start in Dousman, Wisconsin and go east for approximately 13 miles into Waukesha. After your first 5 miles, if you need a quick pick me up, stop in the Village of Wales, Wisconsin at Momma D's Coffee Shop right off the trail. They have great coffee selections with numerous pastries including several yummy gluten free pastries.
Once you have finished your caffeine injection, proceed into Waukesha which is the birthplace of LESTER WILLIAM POLSFUSS (commonly known as Les Paul).
LP is a famous jazz, country, and blues guitarist; but, is mostly known for developing the GIBSON LES PAUL guitar. He is an inductee into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, he is the only person to be inducted into both the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
LP influenced many guitarists such as Jeff Beck; and he was the godfather to Steve Miller. Playlist suggestion: ALL OF ME by Les Paul.
After you have soaked in all of the LP memorabilia there is a bike path that runs from the south to the north parallel to the Les Paul Parkway for about 5 miles then you can start heading back west on the Lake County Recreational Trail (LCRT). This ride will be about 7 miles and you will go by Pewaukee Lake and also Nagawicka Lake. Please be forewarned that the LCRT is a very hilly trail.
At about the 7 mile mark you will hit the Ice Age Trail. You will know you are at the junction of the 2 trails when you see Kurt's Steakhouse, which is a great place to stop and have a traditional Wisconsin meal with fried cheese curds. Fortunately, it bears no relationship to the MAD VIKING.
You would then proceed south for approximately 3 miles where you connect back up with the GDST. Then you would proceed west back to Dousman. The entire trip would be approximately 35 miles, all on paved bike trails.
The KMSU covers more than 22,000 acres of forested glacial hills, kettle lakes and prairies. There are over 100 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. For the most part the trails are well marked. In addition, there are sections of the Ice Age Trail that runs through KMSU. TEASE: There will be more on the Ice Age Trail in the trivia section of this issue.
The recommended hikes are the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail (SSNT) and the Scuppernong Trails (ST). Recently, Management at MP had the distinct pleasure of hiking both of these trails with some very wonderful subscribers. One of the hikers, however, had difficulty pronouncing the names of the trails and resorted to a very cliché shorthand and began referring to both trails as the "SUPPER CLUB TRAILS." Let's hope that the intelligent subscribers of MP do not resort to this childish type of behavior.
The SSNT is a beautiful prairie walk that goes by the Scuppernong River. You will see numerous active Springs. The ST hike goes through some heavy forested land and is equally beautiful, but much more challenging.
4. STARVED ROCK
Keith Clark lived somewhat of a double life. By day, he worked as a teacher and coach at Ottawa High School between 1949 and 1962. On the weekends, and during the Summer months, Clark was a prolific folk singer, who broadcast legend Studs Terkel once dubbed the "unofficial poet laureate of Illinois."
In addition to the playlist suggestion set forth above, the subscribers to MP should also consider Clark's 1957 album entitled BALLADS OF LA SALLE COUNTY, ILLINOIS. This is a collection of 10 diligently researched historical ballads that tell the story of some of Starved Rock's greatest moments including the Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
Where else would you get the type of information set forth above but for the 3-legged stool known as MILES PEDDLED, DMANOPEDIA and DMAPS.
The recommended ride is on the Illinois-Michigan Canal Trail (IM) which is described in detail in the June 2021 Edition of MP, with a nice follow up in the August 2021 Edition. Please recall that all past Editions are available via the digital version of MP which can be accessed at https://www.milespeddled.com.
Starved Rock (SR) was recently voted the #1 attraction in Illinois. (Sorry Navy Pier). There are over 13 miles of trails that go through 18 different canyons and have beautiful bluffs that overlook the Illinois River. As an aside, one of these days Management at MP will provide its loyal subscribers with the very thrilling and exciting adventure that was the kayak story of a lifetime on the Vermillion River.
Back to SR. The hiking at SR varies from very difficult to relatively easy. Some of the best trails are Starved Rock and Sandstone Point Overlook; St. Louis Canyon; Lovers Leap Overlook; and, French Canyon. Management at MP believes that the hiking in SR is at its best in the fall, but it is very beautiful even in the coldest winter months when many times you will be able to see the eagle nests on the Illinois River.
Please note that at times it does become crowded at SR. In those situations, Management suggests that you go down the road for some equally beautiful hiking at Matthiessen State Park.
You have just finished your hike and/or bike and you are hungry and tired. Where to go and what to do? One of Management's favorite towns is the little Village of North Utica which is one mile north of SR. The IM Canal Trail runs right trough the middle of SR. There are several places in town to stop and have a drink and meal. Management highly recommends August Hill Winery for some of the best Illinois produced wine. They have a beautiful tasting room in downtown North Utica with a nice outdoor seating area.
Public Announcement: In the Village of North Utica on October 9 and 10 they will be holding the BURGOO FEST.
The first question you may ask is what the hell is Burgoo? According to DMANOPEDIA: Traditional burgoo was made using whatever meats and vegetables were available, usually venison, squirrel, opossum, racoon or rabbit. Unfortunately, today these wonderful exotic roadkill meats have been replaced by pork, chicken, and beef. The meats are combined with various vegetables and slow cooked into a thick stew.
Management has attended Burgoo Fest and it was a sight to behold. Go and have fun!
5. SHAWNEE NATIONAL FOREST
There is an entire album dedicated to hiking through the Shawnee National Forest (SNF). The name of the album is River to River Trail: The Hike Through Shawnee National Forest. The album consists of 12 songs by ZOLA VAN, which are beautiful piano solos.
A really interesting trail to ride when you are down in the SNF area is the Tunnel Hill State Trail (THST). On the northeast end the trail starts in El Dorado, Illinois and then travels 56 miles to the southwest and ends in Karnak, Illinois. This is a former train route, and you will pass through the train tunnel. This is a very beautiful rails to trails. Please recall that in the August edition of MP management requested that its loyal subscribers support the rails to trails system. Their website is: https://www.railstotrails.org. Join today and ride forever. MP will always support the Rails to Trails System!
This humble publication does not have the words to describe the beauty and majesty of hiking in SNF. Management submits that the name of one of the trails which is GARDEN OF THE GODS, says it all. MP recommends that its loyal subscribers use the website ALLTRAILS which has 37 curated trail maps for SNF.
If you have made the trek (shout out to TREK BIKE COMPANY for sponsorship) this far, you should have brought your kayak and you must paddle the Cypress Creek. Growing in the river are hundreds of Cypress trees some of which are over 500 years old. If Management can figure out the technology, we will post a picture of kayaking the Cypress Creek in the digital version of MP.
Now it is time for the Trivia/Quiz section. As usual, it's a twofer:
First, why is the Shawnee National Forest so different in topography from the rest of Illinois?
Second, what is the Ice Age Trail?
NOTE: Some of the credit for the answers to the questions belong to Vickomania which is the search engine run by the MAD VIKING. Please be forewarned that the information presented by Vickomania is very technical and is usually presented in an aggressive manner.
SHAWNEE NATIONAL FOREST (SNF): The SNF covers approximately 280,000 acres of land cradled in Southern Illinois between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Early settlers called the region "Little Egypt" after noting the similarities of the riparian areas to the Nile Delta; they even christened the town at the rivers' confluence after the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Other local names recall Egypt. You can visit the old railroad towns of Karnak or Thebes. You can cheer on the Southern Illinois University Salukis which is the dog breed granted royal standing in ancient Egypt. But management digresses and we need to get back to the issue at hand.
Why is the SNF so different in topography, the answer is simple: GLACIERS. During the ILLINOIAN stage (approximately 132,000 to 350,000 years ago) the LAURENTID ICE SHEET covered up to 85% of Illinois. Hence the reason that we are referred to as "flatlanders." The southernmost tip of this ice sheet ended on the outside of the northern boundary of SNF. Thus, SNF was not flattened out like the rest of Illinois.
Rather, SNF is composed of massive sandstone deposits left behind after an inland sea – part of the Gulf of Mexico, receded roughly 200 million years ago. In essence, when you are in SNF you are standing on the edge of a prehistoric coastline. Picture the west coast of Ireland with trees. This is why SNF is so different in topography than the rest of Illinois.
ICE AGE TRAIL (IAT): Another answer that involves a glacier. The last glacial period in North America was a mere 15,000 years ago when much of North America was under a huge glacier. Mammoths, saber tooth cats, cave lions and many of the older subscribers to MP roamed the earth. The IAT (full name Ice Age National Scenic Trail) traces the glacier's edge in Wisconsin.
The IAT stretches approximately 1,200 miles across the State of Wisconsin. The IAT was the vision of conservationist Ray Zillmer who proposed a national park in the late 1950's in what now is the route for the IAT. The actual trail was established by an Act of Congress in 1980. It is administered by the National Park Service but is mostly maintained by a variety of local private and public agencies.
The trail is used mostly for hiking, but some sections do allow cross-country skiing and mountain biking. Fore more information visit the Wisconsin DNR website or Vickomania.
TEASE TIME: The November issue of MP will provide its loyal subscribers with the ultimate HOLIDAY BUYING GUIDE. Think HAMMACHER SCHLEMMER on steroids. MP respectfully requests that its loyal subscribers not be shy in providing a well-earned oblation to Management during this upcoming gift giving season.
Time to go – as stated by Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Enjoy your hike but always remember to R, R & R!