Thursday, June 03, 2021

The Hike

Let me start out by saying that I planned this hike for a very long time.

Last year my CrossFit coach, Josh Brown asked me what I had for a long term goal. I said I wanted to do the Tromp and Chomp that had been held every year at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. I am going to plug our gym CrossFit Viroqua, because truly ...I think CF has helped me stay strong both mentally and physically.

I studied the previous Tromp and Chomp maps and even downloaded the map and placed it over a regular trail map. Distances that could be run were a half marathon or an 8 miler. 
No way was I sure I could 'run' those trails up and down and all around, but I sure could come up with something.

So I decided that to celebrate becoming a 'Senior' citizen and age 65, I'd do the T&C by myself. I thought I'd take Charlie.

Charlie is pictured here at a rest stop we took. You can see that he is not a Big Dog. But he has a sweet heart and loves to hike.

This is how we did half of the hike. 

Charlie is half min Daschund and half Pekenise. The result is very short legs, short snout, and doll eyes. He will overheat easily and with those tiny legs, he tires easily. 

The first 2 miles of the hike were in the Kickapoo River Valley and baby, it was hot and windless. We hiked along old 131 with me giving Charlie a 'lift' for a good part of the first two miles. I didn't want him to overheat or get ill as we were walking along a blacktop trail.

We took one nice long break after passing the ponds where kids and camp counselors were observing their charges in canoes who were hollering at each other.

Charlie loves tiny pieces of apple, so we always share on a trail break. I let him cool off at the Artesian Well before we hit Little Canada.

We met 3 horse back riders and a father hiking with his daughters and their dog. Otherwise we were on our own.

Mile 4 found us deep in the wooded canopy and things were so much cooler. Charlie alternated from being carried and leading the way on his tiny cord. 

The amazing part was that Charlie sets a pretty darned good pace. Our fastest mile towards the end of the hike was something like 12 or 13 minutes. 

The terrain is a bit challenging in places and there is a lot of hill work. But it isn't as steep as my daily walks.

Map [free phone app called Map My Walk ~ which works for runs, bikes, and hikes]:

Mile 5 to 6 was the ickiest. It was sandy and grassy and in the valley so it was hot and buggy.
We had another long break where we shared another apple, drank water out of his blue peanut butter jar lid, and chilled in a shaded spot that had a breeze.

Things I carry in my back pack. 
A water bladder which was filled to 1.5 liters. 20 ounces of water for Charlie. Apples, snack bars, dog treats, emergency blanket, whistle/compass/thermometer combo, Pepper Spray for offending dogs [never used yet], a lighter, Duraflame Fire Start, and a tiny kit for cuts or wounds. 
IF a person is reported missing on the nearly 9 thousand acres, they will search for you. 
The latest tech is used and they did find a lost person this spring with a heat seeking drone! 

The layout of the land is pretty simple for me. However I have hiked and ridden it since 1996 so I have an understanding of how it all fits together.

By mile 7, I knew we would make it. Charlie was cool as a cucumber and the breezes were blowing. He was on a mission.
It must have been the apples because somehow the dog treat bag slipped out of my pocket between mile 5 and 6!

I even thought how it might be sort of fun to bring my sort of mountain bike out this summer and try some of this with wheels. A mule would be so much easier but since I have no way to transport them, I guess I won't!

If you would like to laugh, here is a 7 second video of Charlie at MILE 8! Obviously I must have carried him too well for too long!

The tiny dude was on a mission! 

I jokingly have called this a Charlie WOD. Workout of the Day.

I would do this again with any brave souls but really...nearly 9 miles? Uffdah!

The best part? 
Having my tiny dog along to keep me company. We had many short conversations and he loved the 'lifts' because he could use his eagle eyes to watch for Chipmunks who had the audacity to laugh and chatter at us.

As far as this particular hike? I would suggest it in early spring or early fall for cool weather if you are on foot. 

We had a blast and all of my work to increase strength and endurance paid off. I was not exhausted or even sore at the end of the hike or the next morning.

Life at 65? 
Yeah, it is good.


  1. Congratulations on meeting your goal and making the hike. A perfect day for you and a great way to celebrate your birthday. The video of Charlie is so cute, such enregy.

  2. What a great way to spend your birthday!! Kudos to you for taking on the challenge, in your own way. There are nine miles, and then there are nine miles in "the elements". Two completely different things. Charlie is such a trooper, glad you had your trusty companion by your side.

    1. I wasn't in a hurry yet I was concious of the time ticking away on the app I had. So next time I do this same Map My Walk app.

  3. Charlie was on a mission for sure! Happy Happy Birthday! So glad you got to get out and hike...nine miles wow!

    1. Oddly enough, I cannot wait to try it in the fall too. Or again on a cooler day!