Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wisconsin Adventure

Part 2: The Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail

For this second installment of posts documenting my recent "Wisconsin Adventure" with friends Kathleen and Joey, I share some images of the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail - a popular 32 mile (51 km)-long trail that runs along the abandoned Chicago & North Western Railroad bed.

We spent most of Monday, July 19, bicycling along part of this trail - one that has quite a smooth riding surface thanks to its covering of packed crushed limestone. The Elroy-Sparta Trail is actually part of the larger Wisconsin bike trail system, operated by the state of Wisconsin.

Above right: The Wisconsin town of Sparta bills itself as the "bicycling capital of America"!

Above and below: The trail is located in what's known as Hidden Valleys Country, and passes through that part of Wisconsin that was not covered (and flattened!) by glaciers during the last Ice Age. As you can see, it's a very beautiful area.

Above: Kathleen and Joey outside the Norwalk tunnel, one of three old railway tunnels that the Elroy-Sparta Trail passes through. We bicycled through two of these tunnels -the longest being the Norwalk Tunnel which is 0.75 miles (1.21 km) in length. So, yes, we needed a flashlight!

Left: Kathleen and Joey with "Tunnel Tom," a local farmer who welcomes visiting bicyclists to start their journey on the Elroy-Sparta Trail at his farm, located about 10 miles from Sparta and close to the Norwalk Tunnel.

Above and right:
Norwalk, the Black Squirrel Capital!

Above and left: Lil's Korner Bar, Norwalk, WI. I have to say that I've never understood why people purposely chose to misspell words in the names of places! It seems to be a bad habit unique to the U.S. Regardless, we had an enjoyable rest at Lil's. Kathleen and I even got to sample a tasty beer named "Horny Goat"!

Above: After our time in Norwalk, we continued on to Wilton, the "Heart of the Elroy-Sparta Trail," before turning around and making our way back to Tom's farm. All in all, we bicycled about 30 miles.

Next: Potosi.

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
Wisconsin Adventure: Part 1 - Black River Falls

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