Merrill School Forest a great first, second or third choice
By Steve Hill
Lesson learned: always bring snowshoes.
Frequent hiking buddy Chris Sadler and I were reminded of the need for winter preparedness during a not-so-well-planned trip to hike the Turtle Rock segment of the Ice Age Trail last week. We set out to knock a few more miles off the IAT, but Chris forgot to prompt his hiking buddy to prompt Chris to bring the paraphernalia required to negotiate the trail.
I suppose I could blame any addle-brained behavior on my part to osmosis. After all, it was Chris who spent the previous three weeks in South Carolina, where temperatures in the 40s apparently cause most of that region’s population to hole up, barring their doors until everything blooms again and they can hear ice cream trucks jangling down the street.
Truth be told, this was just one of those trips where I agonized over a destination, and thus never picked one until shortly before Chris came to pick me up. I asked when he arrived if he’d brought snowshoes, and because he hadn’t, we decided to skip them.
He did wear boots that rose several inches higher on his calves than my hikers do, so he clearly was more prepared than I.
Our planned trail segment runs west from Grandfather Falls on the Wisconsin River near Merrill for five miles. We had hiked a segment on the east side of the falls (named the Grandfather Falls segment) in November, enjoying the rugged, riverine landscape enough to target a return for more trail on the other side.
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