If you’re a lover of all things hiking and appreciate the southern unit of the Ice Age Trail, take a hike Saturday, September 28th, not only in celebration of National Public Lands Day, but also to celebrate the birthday of trail adopter and past hike leader, Norwin Watson.

Watson, a beloved Whitewater, WI resident who inspired many to get out and hike the trails, passed away March of 2017. A memorial rock has been placed on the trail in the Kettle Moraine State Forest in his honor. The trail also passes by a memorial bench in honor of Russ Helwig who passed away March of 2015. Helwig is another beloved Whitewater resident who started the Wednesday group hikes that still continue to this day.

Esterly Rd. entrance to the Ice Age Trail in Whitewater, WI

Thanks to the Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, this memorial hike, nicknamed This Land Is Your Land Hike, begins at 9a at the entrance to the Ice Age Trail on Esterly Rd. It’s 7mi of moderate terrain that traverses the beautiful Kettle Moraine State Forest along eskers, over hills, through prairies, and around Lake LaGrange.

Lake LaGrange from the Ice Age Trail in Whitewater, WI

Outing ends at Oleson Pioneer Cabin on Duffin Rd. Fun fact: the cabin was built by Norwegian immigrant, Ole Oleson, who had nine kids, a wife, and a mother-in-law all living in the same cabin!

Oleson Pioneer Cabin on Duffin Rd. in Whitewater, WI

For families and folks who would prefer shorter hikes, 1mi guided hikes will leave from Oleson Cabin and take place on a wooded section of the Ice Age Trail starting at 10:30a. Wear appropriate hiking attire and enjoy yourselves amongst the coloring leaves of early autumn, bold goldenrod, the orchestra of crickets, and gentle aster.

Happy 3rd Annual National Public Lands Day Celebration to you all! For more details and times, visit here.