Successfully having dodged multiple rain storms, and having made a wonderful new friend with Jean who had hosted us as a trail angel in Deerfield we set out once again into the wondrous unknown where the potential for new growth resides. Lately, we have been traveling into small sections of conifer tree farms which usually consists of Norway (Red) Pine which has the appearance of having scaly bark. We recently heard a fawn crying for its mother and then saw a white tailed deer cross in front of us in the direction of its baby. The most abundant animal we have been seeing besides deer have been turkeys which seem to mimic road runners in the Midwest.
Prairies with flowers of hawkweed, vetches, and catchfly created accents that were truly beauty marks on the face of the land. We also met Fred and Linda who were section hiking, having seen earlier their bikes stashed at a trailhead as they were walking towards their car. They too invited us to visit them when we were in the greater Madison area. And we finally met and saw a volunteer mowing the grass on the trail. The only other trail I have ever seen mowed was a few small portions in the lower country of the Appalachian Trail.
In Richford, we walked near an Amish candy store and bakery where we had tried some fudge made of goats milk. This rich chocolate candy tasted how a male goat smells. I guess I would have to recommend it since you can never really forget the unique experience. The whippoorwill's sound as if they are excited that the moon is once again almost full.
At the trails bifurcation point we headed South on the eastern branch of the Ice Age Trail. Besides seeing the corn growing at an exponential rate, we have seen potatoes growing and more recently soybeans. Yesterday was apparently a big day in the greater region since many farmers made their first cuttings of hay. Occasionally, we would find some wild or escaped Asparagus growing in the drainage ditches next to the road.
On our way into Packwaukee, a school bus slowed to a stop on a country road to excitedly ask us if we were hiking the Ice Age Trail. The kids waved and gifted us great smiles as they drove off. At and near Buffalo Lake, we were excited to see a Great Egret attempting to spear a fish while a Mallard swam off with eleven new baby chicks. After questioning the lakes name, we immediately ran into a bison farm. And now we are enjoying an evening at another trail angels home (Jan) as we approach John Muir's childhood home.