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Backpacker Magazine – August 2001

Hiking With Wisconsin's Wolves

Feeling people-shy? Follow Wisconsin's wolves to this lonely section of the Ice Age Trail.

by: Eric Hansen

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EXPEDITION PLANNER: Ice Age Trail, Wisconsin

DRIVE TIME: The Jerry Lake segment is 2 1/2 hours (about 160 miles) east of Minneapolis-St. Paul, and 4 hours (240 miles) northwest of Milwaukee.

THE WAY: From Medford, take WI 13 to WI 64, then drive west 4 miles on WI 64 to County Highway E. Turn north on E and go 26 miles to Forest Service Road 102. Continue 1.6 miles west (200 yards past the North Fork bridge) and park.

TRAILS: The Ice Age Trail winds for 42 miles across the Medford Ranger Dis trict. The Jerry Lake segment, combined with the Chippewa Lobe Loop, makes a good 18-mile point-to-point hike (car shuttle required). Waterproof boots and trekking poles are useful for creek crossings.

ELEVATION: The trail is at a shade under 1,400 feet, with almost no elevation change.

CAN'T MISS: The impressive hemlock grove south of the South Fork crossing.

CROWD CONTROL: Solitude prevails on the Jerry Lake segment. The Ice Age Trail is closed during the gun deer-hunting season (usually the week of Thanksgiving). Use caution and wear bright colors during other fall hunting seasons. Check with rangers for hunting season dates.

SEASON: The Jerry Lake segment typically is snow-free from mid-April to late October. Beware of bugs in early summer.

GUIDES: Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation (IAPTF) Jerry Lake Segment #61 map ($1), or Forest Service map Ice Age National Scenic Trail (free), both available from the IAPTF (see Contact below).

WALK SOFTLY: Lakes and streams are abundant, so be sure to camp at least 200 feet from water.

CONTACT: Medford Ranger District, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, (715) 748-4875; www.fs.fed.us/r9/cnnf. Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation, (800) 227-0046; www.iceagetrail.org.


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