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  1. #1
    Registered User clickchik's Avatar
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    Default Getting Started Hiking IAT

    I have decided to hike the IAT. I have armed myself with the trail maps, companion guide and the new book on the geology along the trail (I'm a geologist). Im not in very good shape so I thought I would start somewhere nearby. I'm in NE Illinois and would head up US 12 to the area.
    Any suggestions of a segment that is dog friendly and easy to negotiate?
    ClickChik
    Dog training and caching along the trail in the Swamps of NE Illinois

  2. #2
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    Hiking or backpacking? Or are you saying you want to thru-hike it?

  3. #3
    Registered User clickchik's Avatar
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    Section hiking only. I use a CPAP plus I really only can hike on the weekends. I have a rescue Australian Shepherd who is fine in the local Forest Preserves and Im working on training him to carry a pack.
    I know West Bend Parks do not allow dogs, but Washington County Parks do allow dogs. I'm wanting a nice easy section to ease us both into hiking the trail.

  4. #4
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    There is a section about hiking with dogs in the guidebook, but unless you want to buy a copy of the guidebook, I would advise checking with the Ice Age Trail Alliance or whoever owns the land. But I think dogs are allowed in most places. If you're saying your dog is a service dog though you should mention that as there may also be exemptions for those.

    A popular destination for people from the Chicago area is the southern Kettle Moraine State Forest, which is in Waukesha, Jefferson, and Walworth Counties. There's about 30 miles of uniterupted trail there. However, because the Ice Age Trail is basically one long route, you will have to do in-and-out hikes unless you combine it with other trails that intersect with the Ice Age Trail. This is possible in the southern KM but not in other places. And of course you can always do a shuttle or bring a second person with another vehicle. None of it is too difficult, but some of it does have some ups and downs and there are spots like Bald Bluff that involve a climb. It would be a good place to start I think.

    For other ideas I'd really recommend buying the atlas and guidebook if you think you'll be coming up a lot. It shows where the trail is and the guide will tell you more about where you can park, what the trail is like, what restrictions there are, etc...

    More on all of this at http://www.iceagetrail.org

  5. #5
    Registered User clickchik's Avatar
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    I do already have the atlas (trail maps) and the guidebook, but I must have missed the section about hiking with dogs. Shiloh is not a service dog so he doesn't get any special exemptions.

    I have already geocached a good bit of the SKM so have done bits and pieces of the trail and other surrounding trails (Lone Tree Bluff, Olsen cabin/lime kiln, Rice Lake). Last time I was there (Olsen cabin/lime kiln) to actually geocache I picked up something like 36 ticks (!!!!!!) Luckily only one was attached. Are the ticks bad again up there this year? That's why I was considering NKM, because of the ticks.
    ClickChik
    Dog training and caching along the trail in the Swamps of NE Illinois

  6. #6
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    Well, if you got 36 ticks in one area my guess is that you were going off trail. Walking along established trails in KM South, ticks really shouldn't be a huge problem at any time of year, especially because the trail is very well established and very well maintained and mowed. They seem to be worst in grassy and other vegetated areas and I know there is plenty of that in the Oleson cabin.

    In any case, I have never heard that KM South was a bad place for ticks, and I wouldn't avoid it, at least not for the reason of ticks. Ticks seem to be found throughout the state and how many you get depends more on local conditions, where you're walking, and, perhaps most importantly, the time of year. But generally they can be bad (or not so bad) anywhere in Wisconsin.

    Incidentally, having spent a far amount of time in northern Wisconsin this year from April until this past month, I have seen very few ticks. In Taylor County, Wisconsin on a stretch of very rough, weedy trail (Ice Age Trail in the Chequemegon NF) this weekend, I only had a few ticks, and that was after going off trail a few times and taking "shortcuts."

    I've only hiked a little of the Ice Age Trail in KM North though. My sense is that it tends more toward woods there and not as much of the prairies and meadows that are found in KM South. So you might find ticks to be not quite as bad there, but any time you're going off of the trail you're probably at greater risk and I wouldn't think KM North would be any exception.

  7. #7
    Registered User clickchik's Avatar
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    Yes, we were off trail some and I sat on a couple logs. My husband also had a similar number of them. It was early April and well above freezing.
    Why I was asking about ticks is that I am wanting to do the Clover Valley State Wildlife Area that's just west of the SKM. I thought now would be a good time while it's so dry.

  8. #8
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WI_Mike View Post
    Well, if you got 36 ticks in one area my guess is that you were going off trail. Walking along established trails in KM South, ticks really shouldn't be a huge problem at any time of year, especially because the trail is very well established and very well maintained and mowed. They seem to be worst in grassy and other vegetated areas and I know there is plenty of that in the Oleson cabin.

    In any case, I have never heard that KM South was a bad place for ticks, and I wouldn't avoid it, at least not for the reason of ticks. Ticks seem to be found throughout the state and how many you get depends more on local conditions, where you're walking, and, perhaps most importantly, the time of year. But generally they can be bad (or not so bad) anywhere in Wisconsin.

    Incidentally, having spent a far amount of time in northern Wisconsin this year from April until this past month, I have seen very few ticks. In Taylor County, Wisconsin on a stretch of very rough, weedy trail (Ice Age Trail in the Chequemegon NF) this weekend, I only had a few ticks, and that was after going off trail a few times and taking "shortcuts."

    I've only hiked a little of the Ice Age Trail in KM North though. My sense is that it tends more toward woods there and not as much of the prairies and meadows that are found in KM South. So you might find ticks to be not quite as bad there, but any time you're going off of the trail you're probably at greater risk and I wouldn't think KM North would be any exception.
    36 ticks is not alot from hiking the IAT. When i hiked along section in the northwest, from St Croix Falls to Chippewa Moraine, on average I had picked off 100 ticks each day.

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