Today’s destination was West Bend. And my sister-in-law, Paula Moore, was my crew person. It was fun to have Paula along because we’d been at her lake house this past 4th of July for a family reunion. And guess what we did during part of the reunion? We’d hiked part of the Monches segment. And today I was starting at Monches!
Now, all I remember of Monches from the 4th was that it was really hot out – in the 90s F (low 30s C). And the trail was full of mosquitoes. Today, I saw it in a different light. Today, Monches was a gorgeous, woody trail filled with water features and bridges.
Marching Toward West Bend
Next up was Loew Lake, another beautiful segment containing everything from pine forests to lake views to prairies. While I wanted to love Holy Hill, the site of a famous basilica, it was just O.K. The first portion of this segment was quite brutal, with very steep hills. Disappointingly, you only caught glimpses of the basilica’s towers twice. And the trail seemed to go on forever, crossing streets and turning into farm fields and all sorts of unusual paths.
Then, the Pike Lake segment was a bit confusing. In Pike Lake, all of the markings were a yellow wrap around a post (along with wraps of other colors for other paths). But the blazing wasn’t consistent, and there were no traditional IAT markings. It was quite hilly, too.
Luckily, the walk through Slinger was fine, and the Cedar Lakes segment was pretty. At day’s end, I hiked about two or three miles (3-5 km) of the West Bend segment. And I enjoyed it quite a bit.
So, tonight I’m staying with high school and college friends Bunny and Tim Collins. They’ve been so welcoming, and I feel like I’m at a posh B&B.
Speaking of posh B&Bs, last night I stayed at Cold Spring Inn, a beautiful B&B in Hubertus, quite near the IAT. Hosts David and Kari are warm and welcoming, and you can’t beat the wine and cheese spread they lay out for you when you arrive (nor the great breakfast parfait in the morning).
Tomorrow, when I’m not so comatose, I want to talk about the importance of FOOD while doing an epic adventure like this.