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Fort Collins: Fermented Paradise and Laundry

This post jumps back to our late spring trip out west.  Leaving the Vedauwoo Recreation area between Laramie and Cheyenne, we backtracked and drove southeast to Fort Collins, Colorado. We had several reasons for making Fort Collins our destination. First, Julia has an optometry school friend who resides there.  Her husband is a lawyer.    And they both like to hike and drink good beer, so lots of things to talk about after not seeing each other for a number of years.  Second, after a week without hookups, we needed to resupply, shower, do laundry, dump tanks,  and plan our next journey into the mountains. We checked into Boyd Lake State Park for a two day mid-week stay.   All of Colorado State Parks are expensive for camping and charge an additional $10 each day for non-residents. At Boyd Lake, sites are tight. Coin showers with out-of-order change machines.  No firewood for sale. On the plus side, the on-site laundry facilities were excellent.  Also, it was very convenient to use

The Ice Age Trail: Slack Road to the Merrimac Ferry




Winter has returned to Wisconsin, but conditions were pretty good for late February.  There was enough soft melting snow on the trail to keep things from getting too slippery or muddy.  This trail segment is a few miles north of Lodi on Slack Road about 1/2 mile from the intersection of Slack and Hwy V.

The footpath has several ascents and descents following switchbacks that eventually lead to wonderful views of Lake Wisconsin, which is the part of the Wisconsin River between the dam in Portage and the dam in Prairie du Sac.




The current has partially broken up the lake.  The quiet bays are still full of ice today, despite the 70 degree weather last week.



Straight across the lake in the middle of the above photo, you can see Devil’s Head ski runs coming down the Baraboo Hills.

The trail comes off the bluffs back and forth along more switchbacks until reaching Hwy 113 below.  Here, the path runs between the road and the railroad tracks until emerging at the Merrimac Ferry boarding area and parking lot



The Merrimac Ferry is free for cars, bikers, and pedestrians. It’s a popular and scenic way to get to the Devil’s Lake State Park area, which is on the other side from me.  This rendition of the Ferry is called Colsac III, and has not started the 2017 season. If the weather continues the warming trend, the ferry will begin operating soon.



This trail is in and out without any loop.  The round trip is about 3 to 4 miles (guesstimate). On the way back, I stopped at my favorite bench for one last view.



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