In last week’s post I referred to Susie’s Rock, a point of interest on the Ice Age Trail that can be found by taking a blue-blazed spur trail on the Fern Glen Segment. This week I thought I’d provide the story behind this lovely spot. But first, a little information about Susie’s family, the Groves clan, who have deep roots in the Lodi area.
The Groves family has been a long-time supporter of the Ice Age Trail and has allowed a section of the Fern Glen Segment to exist on their family farm property on Hwy J, just north of Lodi. For a while this was done through what is known as a handshake agreement. In 2009, the Groves family generously donated a 175-acre conservation easement on their property. This easement protects about .6 miles of Trail as well as a wonderful view from the Trail.
In 2014, this donated easement contributed to the protection of four properties across Wisconsin. The Ice Age Trail Alliance was able to leverage the donation of the easement with funding from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and acquire nearly 179 acres in Taylor, Marathon and Columbia Counties. In total, the Groves family donation has contributed to the permanent protection of 4.6 miles of Ice Age National Scenic Trail. You will find a bench under a majestic oak tree on the Fern Glen Segment that acknowledges their generosity.
And now, back to Susie’s Rock. I contact Dick Groves whose father, Frank, was the person who initiated the donation of the easement, and asked him what he know of the story behind this special spot. According to Dick, Aunt Susie (Susan Groves) was the younger sister of his great-grandfather (also named Frank). Susie lived from roughly 1862-1902 and spent at least part of her life on the family farm on Hwy J. The story goes that Susie would walk up past the farm buildings and sit on a big rock (known as a glacial erratic) to relax and enjoy nature, maybe with a book for company. Over the years, Aunt Susie’s Rock has been enjoyed by generations of Groves family members and countless others.
Susie’s Rock is still there and is marked with a special plaque. A bench has been added to enable visitors to sit a while in the beautiful natural surroundings that Susie once enjoyed. One more gem to be found…..Along the Ice Age Trail
Patti Herman live in the City of Lodi with her husband, Bill Welch. A retired educator, Patti is glad to be living in the Lodi Valley where she is surrounded by so much natural beauty, including the beauty to be found along the Ice Age Trail.