Trail News

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Cal Kraemer

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Cal Kraemer died on Monday, 4/17/2018 at the age of 88. The Leader-Telegram obituary is linked below. The funeral service is at 11 AM Monday, April 23, at 11 AM, at Trinity Methodist Church in Chippewa Falls.

Cal was a regular volunteer on the Ice Age Trail and at our chapter events along with his wife Donna Kraemer since 2002. In 2006, the chapter chose him for the "In The Mud" award for his volunteer service. 

Shortly after the chapter obtained the DR field and brush mower, Cal stepped forward to adopt the section of trail from Firth Lake to Hwy CC, and mowed it frequently for many years. It is a difficult section of trail to mow, and takes multiple days to do it. It includes an extensive stretch through shoulder-high hayland along the edge of open farmland. Often Donna joined him for moral support and to clear the branches that would hinder the mowing. Not limiting themselves to just mowing, they took on other tasks on their section, including minor adjustments to the trail route when required. On one occasion they hauled in posts and marked a section of trail where logging had left it unnavigable. After health concerns dictated that he turn in his mower keys, Cal continued to volunteer in other ways until one day he announced that he was ready to resume mowing, which he did for another two years. In later years, Cal would always come to the Parade of Colors to offer his services driving hikers to their starting points, while Donna would offer refreshments. When they couldn’t help at a recent MSC project, they turned out to check things out and bring a load of cookies.

Trail Cleanup Event Cancelled

Trail and access conditions for the trail cleanup event planned for Saturday, April 21, have caused us to cancel the event. 

Register NOW for Harwood Lakes / Mud Brook Project

A small trailbuilding event has been announced for June 6-9 with a focus on replacing the Mudbrook bridge and boardwalk. In addition to the structures, an unknown amount of new tread may also need to be constructed. This is an IATA Mobile Skills Crew project, and will include the usual MSC features: food and campsites are provided at no cost, learn as you work under the eyes of experienced MSC leaders, lots of camaraderie and entertainment capping off a day of hard work.

The event is identified as the Harwood Lakes Segment project, and registration is now open. The catch is that due to the circumstances caused by much of the activity being on a boardwalk and bridge, the registration is capped at 40 participants. Registration is open, and the spots are filling up fast — and the event has not even been publicized yet! If you were planning to work on this event, or are interested in joining the fun and learning about bridge construction or trail building, you’d best register ASAP!

Harwood Lakes MSC Info & Registration

Help IATA Win $5000!

Our members and friends demonstrated that they were as facile online as on foot in 2016 as they voted online and helped the Ice Age Trail win the grand cash prize in the Michelob Ultra challenge. A slimmed-down version of that contest has arrived and everyone can once again vote for IAT as their favorite trail. It’s the Gear Junkie’s “Fastest Known Time” contest. One of nine “Iconic Trails” will win $5000, and all will win something. You can win something, too (a guided hike, a pair of trail shoes). Like the last contest, you can vote early and often - daily if you wish, and even get bonus votes each time you upload a photo taken on the trail. We’re up against stiff competition, but  thanks to your persistence, we did it last time. Vote often between now and May 31.



Look for the link on the first page to share the contest with your facebook and twitter friends. 

Trail Clean Sweep, Saturday, April 21

Mark your calendars and plan to join the fun for our annual trail cleanup day on Saturday, April 21. This year we are going to be joined by lots of volunteers from Latitude 44 Yoga Studio in Eau Claire, and a group of Scouts from Eau Claire as well. They’ll need lots of tender loving guidance by our experienced trail maintainers, so we hope you can be among them. We’re planning a special day, with some surprises, and a never-before accomplished trail-wide sweep. 


Why the focus? With luck the snow will be but a memory, and coming up the following week is an IATA-organized backpacking group trip, and the annual Chippewa 50 Ultramarathon. 


Tony Schuster is our master of the broom, and we will look forward to your confirmation.

Snowshoe Hike Provided Unique Look at Moraine Topography

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A nice turnout enjoyed great weather and snow conditions for our first Family Snowshoe Hike on Feb. 24. Participants and volunteers numbered 48 for this first-time event. Thanks to the staff at Chippewa Moraine and our co-sponsor Mayo Clinic Health System, as well as our dedicated volunteers for making the event happen. Special thanks to Carol and Ted Hakala and Rod Gont for laying out and marking the route in advance, and Christine Tharp at Mayo.  It was great fun seeing all the kids navigating in the snowshoes, and the scenery was extraordinary.

Snowshoe Hike Photos

Horseshoe Lake Bridge Closed - use Reroute

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The bridge on the north side of Horseshoe Lake (0.1 mi west of 160th St/Townline Lake Rd) is closed due to flooding. Do not attempt to cross the bridge as it is extremely unsafe.

The trail has been temporarily rerouted north of the existing route on existing logging trails. The temporary route is in the process of being marked and improved. The route includes 100 yards of 160th St, part of which is under relatively shallow water. 

Download: Horseshoe Lake Bridge Reroute Map


Cold Cacheing in the Cold!

http://www.startribune.com/learn-about-glaciers-by-coldcaching-on-wisconsin-s-spectacular-ice-age-trail/414663303/


TRAVEL 414663303

Learn about glaciers by ColdCaching on Wisconsin's spectacular Ice Age Trail

Wisconsin program teaches about glaciers and the outdoors. 

By Jennifer Jeanne Patterson Special to the Star Tribune

FEBRUARY 24, 2017 — 11:02AM

JENNIFER JEANNE PATTERSON

Wisconsin’s ColdCaching program includes a self-guided GPS tour of glacial history for families at Devil’s Lake State Park.


My kids and I stood bundled up in 6-degree weather, wearing facemasks and snow pants while trying to work a handheld GPS along the Wisconsin Ice Age Trail in Devil’s Lake State Park. The land was barren, brown and peaceful — a typical winter landscape.

“I think we’re supposed to go that way,” 10-year-old Caleb said uncertainly, pointing, while 8-year-old Anna shivered beside him. Why didn’t I pay closer attention to the park naturalist’s instructions?

It’s said that the average American child engages in only four to seven minutes a day of unstructured play outdoors. I’ve come to realize that for our children to grow up caring about our planet, I need to fight my urge to hibernate and expose them to a winter wilderness that extends beyond the backyard.

Trail Safe!

A new safety initiative from the National Park Service offers participants online self-study videos that examine the objectives taught in the Park Service Operational Leadership training. It’s an approach that focuses on the mindset needed to work safely, not a cookbook on how to use a tool. Take a look at the NPS IAT website and scroll down to the Trail Safe! feature to find the link. Start at the beginning and complete the Training Verification Roster back at the Trail Safe! home page, and you’ll receive a pin and other info from NPS. Also be sure to keep track of your time spent and report it to the chapter to be sure we capture your volunteer hours. Questions about the series can be directed to Dan Watson.

ColdCache Sites Newly-Designated in Chippewa County

ColdCache is an IATA program that interprets geologic features along the trail. It’s a variation of geocaching, where participants search out hidden sites and find and interact with a small box located there. In the case of ColdCaching, there is no box or other visible marker. Instead, the participant finds and identifies the target glacial feature, and answers some questions on a website about it.

While the ColdCache program has been in operation for several years, now five sites have been identified in Chippewa County and included in the list of Cache locations on the ColdCache web site. You can find that site on the Ice Age Trail web site


The five sites in Chippewa County are:

1. Chippewa Trifecta - the location, overlooking Dumke Lake, where the ice-walled lake plain ends and a deep glacial riverbed is clearly visible, cutting through the lake-bottom sediments, all perched hundreds of feet above the Dumke Lake surface below. 

--Access from 180th St (Townline Rd) or Lot on 260th Ave (Rattlesnake Hill Rd).

Your New Old Hat

In case your treasured Ice Age Trail footprint hat has gotten grotty from wearing it hiking or doing trail work, you can easily renew it! Here's the secret:

Just wash it in cool water in your washing machine with other clothes. It might help to pretreat sweat stains with your favorite. Then air dry. The bill is really plastic inside, and the suede handles washing just fine. The footprints hold up through the wash. 

Voila! Your new Ice Age Trail footprint hat.