Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hiking the Lists #7: Mirror Lake State Park Northwest Loop Trail

Hike: #7
Title: Northwest Loop Trail
Location: Mirror Lake State Park
Hike List: Wisconsin
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (Hot weather makes it mostly moderate)
Duration of Hike: An hour or two of mostly pointless up and downs
First completed: 08/25/2013

Judged solely by the difficulty of the trail, the Northwest Loop at Mirror Lake is not too bad. There are some steep uphill and downhill climbs, but they are very short. In fact, the two steepest inclines (which are still fairly short hills) can be skipped by taking easy shortcuts. This trail only approaches a moderate difficulty because there are so many ups and downs.

However, the day I actually hiked the trail was one of the hottest of the year, which certainly added to the difficulty of the trail..I never reached the point of heat exhaustion, as I drank water every 10-15 minutes or so, but I ended up covered in sweat. Much of the trail is in the shade, so it wasn't as bad as the prairie portion, although it was still warm.

The best part of the trail was it's peacefulness. I only ran into a handful of people on the trail, including a couple hardy souls running the trail. Were this up in some corner of the north woods in Wisconsin, that wouldn't be a surprise. However, Mirror Lake is just down the road from Wisconsin Dells, one of the busiest and noisiest places in the state. It isn't that the park isn't visited, just that most people go there to swim or boat on the lake.

Save for a few glimpses through the trees and a short stretch at the beginning, there aren't too many views of the lake on the trail. I'd imagine this is different in the winter. As such, the trail is a good example of pointless up and downs, as the top of the hills don't have a view. On the other hand, I was able to see and hear the pileated woodpeckers there, so that was a treat.

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