Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chequamegon National Forest: Rainbow Lake Wilderness

I woke up to a beautiful fall morning and decided to take advantage of the wonderful weather by going for a hike. I loaded up my pack and hit the road bound for Drummond, Wisconsin and the Rainbow Lake Wilderness. The drive was pleasant and as I drove I saw some turkeys and a coyote right along the side of the road.

When I arrived at the trail-head I immediately noticed the effects of the previous days rain. Parts of the trail were more like small streams. I didn't care though. In fact, I had expected to walk in some water given the amount of rain we received. Within about 3 minutes of hiking I came to the first of the four lakes I would visit: Clay Lake.
It was a pleasant spot, but close to the road and the noise associated with vehicle traffic, and so I moved on after a short stop.

The hiking was, besides wet, easy due to the fact that the trail followed an old logging railroad grade called the Anderson Grade. My next stop was the pretty Bufo Lake. A spur trail led down to this lake which looked as if it may have been deeper at one time.

Still, it was an enjoyable place to stop and eat lunch. From Bufo Lake I headed deeper into the wilderness to a junction with the North Country National Scenic Trail. I made a right turn onto the North Country Trail and waded through some deep puddles, eventually making my way to the wilderness' namesake: Rainbow Lake.

Rainbow was another pretty lake with a nice campsite located near its shore. I spent some time looking around the area a bit before retracing my steps back to the intersection of the North Country Trail and Anderson Grade.

At the intersection I got back on the Anderson Grade on a portion that I had not hiked on previously. This section of the grade gets considerably less maintenance and I almost considered turning around and heading back to the car. I'm glad I didn't though. While the hiking was difficult and more like bushwacking at times, I was rewarded with a visit to the prettiest of the lakes on my hike: Anderson Lake.

I relaxed at Anderson Lake for a bit and took some photographs before heading back to the Anderson Grade and returning to the car. A great day of hiking despite the soggy trails.

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