Trail News

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Sunday Hike, Sunday August 5

Hikers cross small footbridge on Ice Age Trail

It’s early August and time for a hike on the trail! Join JoAnn Parks on a Sunday afternoon hike at your pace along the Ice Age Trail. We’ll meet at the Obey Center at 1 PM on Sunday, Aug. 5, and choose our route for the day. It could be the 4.5 mile circle trail, or perhaps another route, perhaps to check out the new Mudbrook bridge and boardwalk. Either way, it will be an enjoyable afternoon on the trail with a chance to see some late summer berries, flowers, frogs, and birds.

Registration is not required, but if you know you are coming why not let JoAnn know

Celebrate 60 IATA Years at Summer Potluck & Chapter Meeting, Mon. July 16

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Photo: Richard Smith

The Mudbrook Bridge is finished, and we’re having a birthday! It must be time for a party, and we’re having one on Monday, July 16, at the Obey Center near New Auburn. It is our annual July chapter meeting and potluck supper all rolled into one. Come by 6 PM with your dish to pass, your own beverage and utensils, and we’ll enjoy each other’s stories about the Mudbrook project and the summer in general. Afterwards we’ll have a short business meeting.

The brats and hotdogs will be awaiting you along with birthday cake, and to help celebrate the anniversary we’ll have some special door prizes from somewhere along the 60 years of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, including some cool youth T-shirts, hats, and the 60th anniversary stoneware mug. Bring along your own retro item to to show off and help us remember the history of this noble endeavor.

See more photos!

Chapter Potluck Supper and Meeting Through The Years

July Potluck: "Where's the Beef?"

A New Mudbrook Wetland Bridge And Boardwalk Provide Spectacular Views (And Dry Feet)

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Photo: Libby Stupak

The newly constructed Mudbrook bridge midway between Plummer Lake Road and Deer Fly Trail offers a spectacular view of the wetland in the Mudbrook floodplain, and provides a solid and dry passage through the area. It replaces a bridge and rickety boardwalk conglomeration that has traversed the combination of wetland and beaver dams and which was well beyond “end of life”. The main bridge on the old route was a Wisconsin Conservation Corps project built 30-40 years ago. The connecting boardwalk was constructed and reconstructed many times, and was highlighted by sections of boardwalk built on top of older sections as the land sunk or the beavers got more active. The new route in a new location includes boardwalk built 36 inches above the current water level. The total structure is 192 feet long, with a 24-foot bridge span and 168 feet of connecting boardwalk. There’s a handrail on one side, kick plate on the other. A technique used for the first time locally involves resting the legs on steel “pans” resting on solid ground in the bottom of the wetland. 

Trail Detour on Harwood Lakes Segment

A short detour has been created in the Harwood Lakes Segment, midway between County Highway E and Deer Fly Trail. The 0.27-mile detour is very rough and was created to bypass an active logging project that has caused a trail closure at that location. Watch flags closely and take care with footing,

The route is flagged with white and lime-green streamers and has been lightly brushed out, but no tread construction has occurred or is just beginning. There are yellow arrows marking the beginning and end. Don’t attempt to follow the old route.

Specifically, the detour is on Atlas Map 16f, and between mile 169.7 and 169.4 on the Guthook Guide App.

The detour will be gradually improved into the permanent Ice Age Trail route.

This information is also posted at:

Cal Kraemer


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.

Snowshoe Hike Provided Unique Look at Moraine Topography


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

Cold Cacheing in the Cold!

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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


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.