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This trail is ever-changing but always beautiful. Each hike treats us to new scenery and surprises.

The alternating dangerously cold temperatures and unbelievable snowfall finally gave way to a gorgeous day this week. As we drove east towards the Plover River, temperatures were above freezing (finally!) and the sun was peeking through hazy blue skies. The 5+ inches of snow that fell yesterday was melted from the roads but still clung to tree branches and blanketed the landscape in a layer of fluffy white.

Someone had already been on the trail today with snowshoes so it was nicely packed down between the Hwy 52 parking area south toward the river. It was a peaceful and quiet hike with soft “puff” sounds as snow fell from the trees. Birds were chirping and the river was softly babbling.

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We walked as far as the boulder crossing at the river and had to turn back since there was no safe way to cross and I also didn't want to disturb the fluffy snowcaps the rocks were wearing.

Even though it was a short hike, walking through the soft snow and occasionally sinking in to my knees in places, we were both pleasantly tired by the time we got back to the car.

I had thought Charlie might be interested in exploring the segment heading north from the parking area but she hopped into the car and was ready to go!

As we drove home, I donned my sunglasses and opened the sunroof of the car... enjoying a mild breeze and a brief reprieve from winter's grip. A beautiful way to spend an afternoon!

If you’re interested in exploring this segment of the Ice Age Trail, join the Marathon County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance for a snowshoe hike on Saturday Feb. 22nd. We'll be hiking the original section of the Plover River Segment (along the river, south from Highland Drive to Sportsman).

When: 10:00 on Feb 22

Where: Junction of Highland Drive and Village Road (west of Aniwa) in northeastern Marathon County.

Agenda: We'll hike south towards Sportsman's Drive (about 2.5 miles) and back. Those who prefer a shorter hike will have the opportunity to either turn back after hiking part way or wait to catch a shuttle from the trailhead on Sportsman. Snacks will be available afterwards.

Read more posts from Heather Burt.

Heather Burt documents the ongoing journey with her dog as they play, hike and road-trip around Wisconsin in her blog www.HikingWithHeather.blogspot.com. Burt hopes to bring awareness to our state's bountiful natural beauty while encouraging people to enjoy nature.

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