Ed came on board to crew me through the weekend. The day was sunny and cool in the morning — YES! We had a fantastic hike through the new Gibraltar segment. It’s really quite stunning. I ran into a Thousand-Miler Wannabe there — Annie Banani (sp?). 

We’d decided not to stress about the ferry. If we made it, we made it. If not, no big deal (we couldn’t remember how long it took, but thought it was a 20-minute wait). Well, just as we came into sight of the river, the ferry was pulling up. We figured we missed it. For about a second. Then I said, “Let’s run!” I took off running for the ferry, while Ed dashed for the car. I made it on fairly easily. The first ramp closed, and Ed wasn’t on. The second ramp closed. The third ramp was about to close when Ed drove on. We made it! Turns out the crossings only take about 5 minutes each, but it was still a bit of a thrill to race and get on.

In 2013, I didn’t get to experience the Merrimac segment because it was closed for logging. This year I got to hike all of it. At first I hated it — you start off hiking next to an electric fence. Like, within 6 inches of it. I was terrified I’d be electrocuted if I stumbled and fell into it. There were lots of prickly bushes on the other side, so I had to plow through those so I didn’t fall into the fence. After about 10 minutes of this, the trail diverted from the fence and was lovely. Later, Ed told me those fences only have low doses of electricity to keep out animals. I thought if I touched it, I’d be electrocuted to death. 

Devil’s Lake was gorgeous, but tough. The worst part, though, was that I couldn’t find Ed after descending from the West Bluff. He’d followed signs for the eastern bifurcation, while I was taking the western bifurcation. To make matters worse, we have AT&T, which doesn’t work almost anywhere in Baraboo. Long story short, we couldn’t find one another for about 2 hours at the end of the day. Ed finally found me at the UW-Baraboo campus. The hike through Baraboo, by the way, is one of the loveliest of any city hikes on the IAT.

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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