What a glorious day on the trail! Trail angel Bethany met Stubs and me in downtown Mellen, then shuttled us to Vogues Road, where I’d left off last November. It was sunny and cool and we enjoyed walking about three miles along Hwy. 169, which was devoid of traffic and lined with trees.
The paper maps I have said this connecting road route was +6 miles, but Bethany showed us a new trail and trailhead/parking lot about 3.5 miles down the road that shaves 2-3 miles from the total. I’m glad she pointed that out because while we would have noticed the parking lot, the trail’s start across the road wasn’t marked well and was difficult to see (a mowed path in the grass) if you weren’t looking at it just right.
But we got on the path, which winds several miles before merging with the trails in Copper Falls State Park. I’d always wanted to see this park, which is noted for its waterfalls. They were lovely, but on the small side. I’m guessing it’s because we’ve had such a dry summer.
From there, the trail led through a prairie that was in full bloom with goldenrod and was gorgeous. The trail got pretty gnarly as it flowed into Mellen, and we may have missed one-quarter of a mile or so because the trail sort of ended in impassable scrub, so we got up on the road and walked into town.
Our plan had been to end the day here, but since that new pathway shortened our day by a few miles, we decided to add on the next connecting road route, which was just 2.3 miles.
Since Stubs isn’t trying to section-hike the whole NCT, he moved our car up to the trailhead at Kornstead Road and hiked back toward me. He lucked out — the trail from Mellen goes straight uphill for most of those 2.3 miles. It wasn’t so bad at first, when the road was blacktopped, but it turned into gravel eventually, and that was hard on the feet after hiking 18 miles already. But we made it!
Snowshoe and Stubs
WI NCT miles today: 20
WI NCT miles to date: 32.2
Total NCT miles to date: 222.5
Total NCT miles to go: 4,377.5