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Lost and Found on the Trail

I decided to have some fun with the title of this piece and make it something that could be interpreted in a few different ways. Where did your mind take you when you read it? 

There’s the idea of people being lost on the Ice Age Trail, which does happen from time to time. The accounts I’ve read or stories I’ve heard usually attribute getting lost to not seeing a yellow blaze and getting off the Trail. (Which sometimes happens because the hiker is so busy enjoying conversation with another hiker that they both neglect to keep their eyes open for the next blaze!) These tend to be temporarily lost situations which are usually remedied by back-tracking until spotting the blaze that was missed. I’ve heard a few (very few) stories about people getting more than a little lost. Generally those people were hiking in some of the more remote areas of the Trail and, one would hope, carrying a compass which enabled them to find their way to a road or route that would take them back to the Trail.

And then there’s the more philosophical idea of getting lost on the Trail, one in which you leave all your cares and concerns at the trailhead and “lose yourself” in the beauty of the natural world. This is one that many of us can relate to, I hope.

The idea of lost that caught my fancy this week was more material than that. I was taken by the idea of the actual things that get lost and found – in this case, found by my husband, Bill Welch – along the Ice Age Trail. Some of them are things you would expect: gloves and hats (for adults and children), pacifiers, infant shoes/booties, car keys and sunglasses. Some found things are a sign of the times, such as facemasks. And then there are others that are just not easily explained, such as the following:

-ten pieces of heavy chain, each piece having four chain links

-a pocket scale, about the size of a wallet 

-a digital camera on a cord, the type used for inspecting pipes

-a six-foot extension for a paint roller (was someone using it as a walking stick?)

-a dustpan 

and, oddest of all…..

-a pedicure kit (!)

I appreciate that Bill picks up the things he finds along the Trail and would encourage more of us to carry a pair of gloves and a trash bag so we can help keep the Trail looking good. And I also appreciate it because it gives me one more thing to write about as I ponder life….Along the Ice Age Trail.

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