The last day of June. The rains we have had have washed away quite a bit of what I wanted to do in the Spring and capriciously whimsical winds have altered other plans.
July is getting rather filled, the weekends, and it suddenly dawned on me that if I wanted to do the Tunnel Trail this season, I should just take off and do it before anything else happens. I'm taking holiday on thursday (business sucks before a major holiday) and will just pack up and take off.
The trail is only two hour drive; I can take my time and still be there by noon, find a camp ground, get in a leisurely ride up to tunnel #3 and have plenty of time to sit at a campfire thursday night before doing the whole trail on friday, driving back friday night.
It is on an old railroad cut in the western part o the state dating from 1873. The last train ran in 1964 and soon after that it was converted to a biking/hiking trail. It runs 32 miles on hard packed crushed limestone in the heart of rural Wisconsin, through three large tunnels and across 34 small bridges spanning the creeks. It has been a favorite trail of mine for quite some time, especially the stretch through tunnel #3.
It is the longest tunnel, almost a mile long. There is a creek on the top of the hill the tunnel transverses and the water that permeates through makes the deep interior of the tunnel seem as if it is raining. It also produces a dense condensation fog, so that when you are in the middle, you cannot see a light on either end, or, frankly, the hand in front of your nose. A flashlight is mandatory and, even on the warmest of days, a sweatshirt or jacket as well. There is no chance of riding through; it is very pitted and you cannot see any other hikers or bikers.
The pay-off is coming out. After a mile walk through pitch black, through a path that can trip you in a second, coming out into the sunshine is fantastic, rejuvenating, clean, clear.
Maybe I think of it as a metaphor for life. Or just a bike ride.