Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ice Cave Adventure at KVR

My good friendly neighbor and I think up adventures once in a while or neat hikes we'd like to do.

Yesterday on a whim we decided to do the "Ice Cave Trail" at Kickapoo Valley Reserve.
I'd planned on going and since our driveway is still an 'ice event', I had parked on the ridge. Simply walking up the drive to the neighbor's house required ice cleats.

We got a later than planned start. And that start was even delayed by the family van not being able to back out of its icy parking spot. Until I asked if they had any grit, sand, lime, or something to toss under the tires.

Cracked corn chicken feed worked perfectly. The chickens will also get a nice meal and clean it up!

The last time I'd done the Little Canada Trail it was a nice rough loop with some cave formations. I'd ridden it on a mule and a horse and had never walked it.
The whole trail was called Little Canada. Recently after the Reserve took over, a portion of the trail was renamed The Ice Cave Trail.

In the brochure that has trail maps on it, and on the website, this trail is described as fairly difficult and extremely difficult in the winter.
Armed with ice cleats and snow shoes and sleds to pull tired kids we set off. Lauren packed snacks and water. We were ready.

With all the rain/snow/sleet/ freezing and temperature changes, the trail was indeed very rough and icy in spots. The kids were troopers and the older two marched on like explorers.

We did find some ice formations and what looked like frozen water falls.
You can see tracks where others have climbed down into the ravine to see the ice close up and personal, however with a 5,7, and 3 year old we decided to stay safe and stay on the trail.

We came down to the end of the Ice Cave Trail and marker #5.  We stood on a snowmobile trail that lead in two directions. This trail was not on the map and after searching for a way across the Kickapoo River we decided to back track.
I will have to do some more investigation and go back as I think there is a snowmobile trail that the Kickapoo Valley Riders [snowmobile club] has that may have taken us back on a fairly nice easy walking surface.
But I can't be sure until I do it myself!

We did get a glimpse of an incredible 'ice wall' though.  The photo is a quick snap as we were in a hurry and the sun was setting.

The sun was beginning to set...

We did some extremely hard and fast hiking to get back to the vehicle.

We got to the car after dark. My Garmin had clocked us out hiking for 3 hrs and 34 minutes with the fastest walking average at 7 mph and the medium at 3 mph.
Mileage was 4.45 miles. I will get the altitude changes after I connect up the Garmin and get that information. I'll put that graph in one of my next posts.
Once you figure in your changes in altitude it gives the hike a much truer understanding of difficulty.

Conclusion? It was well worth it. Taking children is okay if you have very tough and adventurous outdoor kids.

Next ice cave adventure? Well it is easier to get to and only 1 mile of easy hiking from my place...soon.

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