After an enjoyable morning on Timber Coulee I returned to the Westby House Inn, where I discovered Jane, who returned from a twelve mile out and back bicycle ride to Viroqua. The temperature climbed into the upper eighties, and I was anxious to undertake some new activities. On our canoe trip we drifted past the boat ramp at Wildcat Mountain State Park, and we were curious to explore that destination, so we made plans to hike. Jane performed a short search on the internet and quickly identified three possible hikes ranging from 2.5 miles down to 1.2. We chose the longest, but I expressed a desire to visit the Driftless Angler in Viroqua before they closed, so we inserted that small detour into our Friday itinerary.
I generally like to make a purchase at a fly shop where I seek information, so I scanned the fly bins and picked out five small terrestrial patterns. I should have cast these on the slow moving pools of Timber Coulee in the morning, but I planned to fish two different spring creeks on Saturday, and small beetles and ants seemed like a solid idea. I opened my Driftless area map for the salesperson behind the counter, and he kindly marked three possible destinations for my Saturday excursion. I told him that I fished Camp Creek and Bad Axe Creek in 2014, and I asked if they were good choices for the next day. He suggested that they were great options. I could not remember the exact location where I fished Bad Axe Creek, so he highlighted that area on my map. He insisted that Bad Axe was a great choice because the water carried more color, and this allowed for closer approaches and less skittish fish. I also asked about West Kickapoo Creek, and he marked that as well, but he cautioned that the hot weather would negatively impact West Kickapoo before the other colder drainages.
Jane and I departed the fly shop, and Jane entered Wildcat Mountain State Park in her map application, and we were promptly on our way. A thirty minute drive delivered us to a trailhead for the bridal path, so we quickly consulted with the old fashioned paper map and navigated to the main park entrance. The woman at the entry gate provided directions to our chosen trailhead, and we arrived there without further delay. Our trail was named the Settlers Trail, and it rolled through the wooded valleys and hills in a loop before it delivered us back to our car. Fortunately the path was mostly shaded since the air temperature surged to the upper eighties, and neither of us were accustomed to the elevated humidity of the upper Midwest.
On our return drive we headed north to Ontario, WI where our canoe launch occurred, and from there we traveled west to Cashton, WI and then south to Westby. The dining options were limited in Westby, but I noted that a breakfast and lunch establishment along the main street called Borgen’s was open on Friday night for a fish fry. Since it was Friday we decided to give it a try, and we were not disappointed. The place was quite popular with the locals, but the dining area was very large, and we were seated immediately. Best of all Borgen’s was less that a block away from our B&B.