Today was hard. 

Very hard.

It was hot out again — 80s — and I faced 20 miles on the road to start. A friend was helping me out, but I didn’t ask for sufficient water drops. I didn’t realize how hot I’d get, and how little shade there would be along the way. There is pretty much NO shade on County Highway Y going from Bevent to Hatley. 

I started out with a full Camelbak, plus had a small water drop about a mile east of Bevent. I ran out of water (and I was drinking lightly, which wasn’t smart) about a mile shy of Hatley. I finally found a house with a shade tree near the road, so I sat down and changed my sweaty socks, ate a snack, etc., figuring that break would give me the energy to get to Hatley. I didn’t see any activity at the home, but a woman suddenly appeared and asked if I was O.K. I said yes, but asked if I could refill my Camelbak. And, I said, if I could be so bold as to ask for ice cubes, too. She was happy to give me both.

While I was refilling in her kitchen, she mentioned that recently there has been a bear sighted many times on the bike trail — the Mountain Bay Trail I’d be taking a few miles west of Hatley. People were warned to stay off the trail. Great.

I hopped right on that trail, thrilled to be in shade. It was still pretty unbearably hot, but nothing like being on a road in the open sun and on blacktop. 

The Ringle section was quite diverse. Some of it is on a ski hill, some was scruffy, some was very tidy. It was great overall. There are new IAT signs being put up, but keep a sharp eye on this segment. The IAT crosses a lot of ATV and snowmobile trails, and if you’re tired it’s easy to see an arrow — any arrow — and follow it.

In the middle of this segment I again ran out of water, but it was at a point where the trail passed a few homes. An elderly man was outside of one, so I asked for water. He happily gave me some, then asked if I’d seen any bears, timber wolves or cougars; he’d seen all of the above on his property. YIKES. I am now officially in the really wild part of Wisconsin! I said no. He then said he’d never travel anywhere in the countryside without his shotgun. Great.

Not 20 minutes after our encounter, I spotted a pair of tracks in the mud. I should have taken a photo, but they were definitely wolf tracks. I will be making my presence known on the trail so I scare off any wildlife!

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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