When you get completely wet, and can’t get any wetter, you no longer dread getting wet. That happened to my feet at least. And there is a real charm in walking in the woods in the rain, even when the trail is officially flooded.
I liked how they treated the warning. They did not close the trail, just warned you to do it at your own risk. Even if it had been closed I would have gone, but I liked that I did not have to break the rules. The worst parts of the flooding were only about ankle deep, as you see in the photos below. This should not be surprising on a trail through wetlands. The surface underneath is paved with gravel, so you don’t sink into mud and walking is not hard. It started to rain as soon as I arrived, this and the flooding trail meant that I had all the Mauthe Lake Trail in Kettle Moraine State Park to myself.
The Kettle Moraine State Forest is where I first learned about ecology. This was back in 1965, when I was ten years old. I got to go to a day camp up around Mauthe Lake. We did nature walks and learned about the forests, wetlands and the various remnants of the lake ice age, conveniently names “Wisconsin Ice Age” after the state where some of its most prominent features was easily visible. I try to go back when I am nearby. I get a very peaceful feeling here, maybe reaching back to my childhood and my imaginings of the great forces that moved earth.
My pictures show the trail, the wet trail and my wet feet. There is also a cut red pine. I counted the rings best I could. There are more than fifty. This means that it was just a little tree plantation when I was there in 1965. It grew very fast at first but in the last decades grew hardly at all. Last are the red pine relatives.