I've been taking a short break from my Missouri Vacation Travel Posts to cover our fall adventures in our home state of Wisconsin. This will probably be my last "Celebrating Fall" post as winter appears to be arriving this Friday bringing our first killing frost and snowfall. 😢
Last month my husband and I stopped at Rib Mountain while on a long fall drive. We only had about an hour to spend there, but became so enchanted with the place, we planned on coming back to explore more. This past weekend we got that chance! The weather wasn't the best, it actually hasn't been the best all fall. It seems all week long the sun is shining and then it rains on the weekends. But knowing this was probably our last chance to see fall colors, out the door we went!
Most of the leaves had already fallen as it was past peak at Rib Mountain, but it was still very pretty because of the gorgeous carpet of color on the forest floor.
The first time we were at Rib Mountain we went up the observation tower and took one short trail near the tower. This time, we wanted to hike the Turkey Vulture Trail for it looked like it had fabulous views. The problem was you couldn't drive to the start of this trail and park nearby. There are only three parking lots in this park, and none of them are near this trail. You have to hike three, yes three separate trails BEFORE you even get to the Turkey Vulture Trail. Yikes!
It was a little chilly and overcast and we even got rained on for a little bit. That wasn't fun, as we were deep in the woods and no where near any shelter.
The forest was absolutely gorgeous! I loved all the birch trees!
Even though my husband and I are very experienced hikers, we got lost at least three times prior to the Turkey Vulture Trail. A huge part of it was that leaves covered up the trail so it was hard to see where the path was. Another part was not enough trail markers or poor placement of trail markers. If it wasn't for using our common sense and knowing how to read a map and our directional abilities, we'd probably still be out there! 🤣
But all the frustration of getting lost and having to back track multiple times was worth it, because eventually we found this!
An amazing scenic view of an old quartzite trail and the landscape beyond.
I took this short panoramic video of the quarry.
There was a path from the viewpoint above that led us to the utmost top of the quarry. We had to climb up the small edge of rocks on the left side of the photo below.
I must admit, I was scared up here. See me clinging to the side of the rock behind the tree on the right side of the picture. The wind was so gusty, there were times I thought it would knock me right over!
There was still a lot of color, even though we were past peak. I can only imagine what it might have looked like a few weeks earlier!
After looking at the view from the top of the cliff, we hiked over to the Turkey Vulture Trail. I couldn't believe we were finally on this trail! It seemed to take forever to get there. We literally had to take three trails to get here: The Blue Trail, The Red Trail, and finally The Quarry Trail.
Thankfully, the Turkey Vulture Trail was very easy to follow because it's a large, wide road (not open to traffic, but open to State Park cars). It was also completely covered with leaves, but when the path is that wide, it's impossible to miss.
The Turkey Vulture Trail runs on the opposite side of the tall cliff, through the woods, and alongside scenic views of the area.
Previous park visitors created messages using rocks from the quarry. The large heart must have taken a very long time.
The rock formations were very beautiful and impressive.
This video was taken of the Quarry view as seen from the Turkey Vulture Trail.
It's really easy to get inside the bottom of the trail. You don't have to climb down into it. The Turkey Vulture Trail leads you right to it.
It was a long walk from the entrance all the way to the inside of the quarry. I wanted to walk the entire distance to get a realistic idea of how big this quarry was.
By now we were getting pretty tired so we decided to take a short cut called Dynamite Trail, which basically connects the Turkey Vulture Trail to the Homestead Loop Trail.
It's called Dynamite Trail because it holds the remains of a dynamite storage facility.
It probably wasn't the best idea to take this short cut, because we ended up getting lost again. 🤣 This time, it wasn't near as bad as the first time, as we found a marker quickly. See how the leaves are just covering the forest floor? See the marker to the left in the distance? If you miss one of those markers, you will find yourself off the path quickly!
It took us four hours from start to finish to cover these four trails. Of course, we were hiking slow because the ground floor was wet and slippery and we stopped a lot to take pictures and make videos. My husband and I said we only hiked a total of 3.5 miles, but my body felt more like we hiked 10 or more!
When we were done we had a picnic lunch on the top of Rib Mountain overlooking the city of Wausau. It was only around 2:00 p.m. when we finished lunch and there were so many more trails I wanted to explore, but my body was saying "No, you've had enough for today". So sadly, I got back into the car to drive the 2.5 hours home promising to return next year. Maybe we'll get a hotel room for the weekend, so we don't have to try and hike all the remaining trails in a single day.
Have a Great Day! Amy
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