Down the hobbit hole!

Day 29, 20 miles, Timber haven bar &grill

Early in the morning I pass by the Hill Billy Hilton and Norem camp. There isn’t much remaining from the Lumbercamp but I take a peak in the once upon a time renovated root cellar. It looks like a hobbit hole built in a hill. While the outside is cute, the inside is quite dilapidated. Some old bunks and a table… and what do I see? A shiny ring! Should I put it on?

I’m not kidding, a ring with a purple heart shaped stone is dangling from a hook. I can’t resist, it fits!

The rest of the segment holds more forest road and a nice section of trail. And another porcupine! That is the third porcupine on this hike! I love it!

I’m also excited to see some different flowers. The trillium are on their way out and I see what I think are columbine and phlox. And tons of ferns!! All the fiddleheads have opened up and are showing their magical green. 

I get water at Baker lake, I still have some from yesterday but it doesn’t taste great. So I dump it. This water will surely taste better. Except that it doesn’t. So I just gave myself extra work for nothing. Oh well. It’s not the worst mistake I make today.

No, that would be the time that I’m on my phone texting and checking social media and promptly get turned around. Imagine my surprise when I end up at the ski hill I just passed a half hour ago! Back up the same hill I go! Dummie!

I am now in the Kettlebowl section and walk 2 tracks, grassy tracks, ski trails and just a bit of single track. It’s all overgrown and I’m killing plenty of dandelions in my path. They’re everywhere!  Just like the mosquitos and ticks but much prettier. 

It’s just hard to sit down and have lunch and watch for ticks at the same time. I’m sitting on my foam pad but still they seem to find me. As I look behind me I see two more ‘friends’, a spider and a moth. Can’t they respect my space? Well fair enough they were here before I was.

I meet two section hikers today. Both found ways to day hike but not have to repeat the same section. One has spotted a bike on one side so he can ride back to his car and the other teamed up with someone, they hike opposite directions and will swap car keys when they meet in the middle.

There are some glacial features to check out but I don’t notice the frost pockets, and when I go to look for the Big Stone Hole I end up mostly bushwhacking to a bunch of moss covered boulders. I should’ve known better. I spend a lot of my time in New Hampshire, the granite state, where I’ve seen many giant boulders. I guess I’m not impressed. So spoiled. The stinging nettles however do leave an impression, itchy!!

Towards the end I get a bit bored and put some music on. I also finally put some Deet on my ankles and socks because I’m tired of flicking the ticks off. I hate the stuff because it’s so nasty but it does work better than my natural repellent.

As the segment finishes up I’m supposed to walk a weird triangle. Down a two track to the foundations of a huge barn of Mr Norem, an early settler in the area. I guess I’m missing something because I don’t see it. Or does it just look like a gravel lot? Please FarOut app, tell me what to look for. The trail ends at a road and you walk the road straight to where you came from. Makes perfect sense no?

The sky is looking a bit threatening and it starts to sprinkle. I put my rain cover on and pull out my umbrella. Just a little while later it’s gusting and raining. It’s not raining hard but with the strong wind I can’t use my umbrella. Should’ve put that rain jacket on! As I turn a corner I’m more protected with trees on either side and now the umbrella is perfect. It’s only a brief shower and soon the sun pops out again making the pavement steam.

I have about 4 miles left to Lake Mueller boat ramp where I hope to find a space to stealth. I need water but town is too far away. Then I discover a bar on Google maps. It’s only .2 from the route. Hurray! Food! They also have a large grassy field around the bar and I wonder if maybe I could camp there.

It’s called the Timber Haven and the owners are super friendly. We talk about hiking and I mention I’m looking for a spot to tent. They offer a space in the back. Awesome! I enjoy my burger and drink a bunch, I’ve not been doing a good job hydrating with the swamp water. Then I go set up and am cozy for the night. Antigo tomorrow!

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