Rain bonnets and the tractor highway!

Day 14, Otter lake campground, 16 miles

We’re dreading today’s walk since it’s going to be all road. I swear, after this hike I’m hitching all road walks. I’ve pounded enough pavement. Gravel included.

We finally get going at 9am. It’s drizzling. I don’t mind it too much, at least we don’t have a hot blazing sun on our noggin’ all day and there is less chance of friction blistering or dehydration.

The road walks on the Ice Age trail are called connectors and are suggested routes. Sometimes there may be a more direct route but it may be less scenic or busier with traffic. We looked at camping opportunities and we couldn’t make it work with the suggested route so we looked into an alternate route. If we take the busier highway for a few miles we can peel off to Otter lake and get to dispersed camping in the woods the next day. So that’s what we’re doing.

The highway has a good shoulder and not too much traffic but with the increasing rain and splashing from the bigger trucks it soon loses its charm. My sandals pick up the gravel and mud from stepping off the road and it’s annoying. Staying on the highway going to Gilman would be shorter but we’ve had enough and Otter Lake campground looks like a sweet spot for the night.

We’re happy when it finally stops raining and we can remove our pack cover hoodies aka bonnets, our rain jackets and umbrellas. We both agree that the umbrellas are worth their weight in cold.

County road G is next and we dub it the tractor highway. I’ve never seen such big farm equipment! One giant tractor has twelve enormous tires and is pulling a planter. Another sits up way high and Little Bird tells me it’s a sprayer. I’m learning all about farming here!

The highlight of the walk was a baby horse and it’s momma and a big eagle’s nest with the bald eagle circling above.

If only we had dilly dallied more in the morning we would have been able to grab a bite to eat at the tavern in Huron. As it is we are an hour too early. Sigh.

We didn’t really need the food but it would have been a great place for a break. Instead we sit down on the side of the road like two bums. Out bodies are feeling the load and the pavement.

We’re relieved to see the sign for the otter lake park and turn onto the gravel. Little Bird is discovering the nuances within road walking. Pavement vs gravel. Which one is the lesser evil? We decide we dislike gravel more. It’s slower, it takes more energy for forward progress, and possibly causes more friction in our shoes.

We check out the day use area thinking it would be a nice place for a long break with covered pavilions for the rain if it hits us again. But it’s not as quiet as we thought it would be so after resting up we head over to the campground which is lovely. We have a site with a water view and our own little dock. And since we’re thru hikers they don’t charge us! We feel so special.

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