Thursday, December 31, 2015


  • Underdown has 6" of snow.  
  • Snowshoe trails are great to Dog Lake.  Lakes were solid with minimal slush that should be frozen by now.  We'll need some sub-zero days before we can go to Mist Lake.  
  • Green and red ski trails have been dragged and are fine for bushwack skiing.
  • Fat biking isn't ready yet.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Not a Total Loss

Joe let me know that the recent winds brought down this tree on the trail B boardwalk.  The tree has now been removed and the broken planks on the deck will be replaced soon.
Underdown is a great ride at the moment, fat or skinny.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Snowshoe Hike

The annual Ice Age Trail snowshoe hike will be 10AM on Saturday, January 23rd.  It's gotta snow.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Home of the 2016 WEMS Championship

October 8th, 2016
Don't be surprised by a 30 mile lap! 
Awesome terrain has opened, and the machine is waiting.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Shelter from the Creatures

Four Pilgrims from Duluth at Dog Lake on Halloween

Rained Out

A Halloween ghost ride and camp out looks yucky.  Sunday at 1:00 is a better idea.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Beautiful Out

I don't know about the weather for Saturday, but the Dog Lake shelter is ready to go and the trails are great.  Millions of leaves have been removed.  The GHOST RIDE and camp out is set for Saturday at 6PM, and there are rumors of a group ride and cook out Sunday at 1PM.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Underdown Ghost Ride

6PM October 31st
Spooks, festivities and a chance to camp at the new Dog Lake shelter that we're building Monday.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


10:00 A.M.

Northwoods Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance will be conducting their
Annual Fall Color Hike in the beautiful rolling Harrison Hills of Lincoln County with  the brilliant colors created by many maples, birches, aspens and oaks and small lakes.
The hike is open to the public at no cost.  A free will donation for the local chapter is welcome.

Directions: Take Highway 51 to County Road J at Irma-Go East on J-5 miles to Turtle Lake Road . Go North  3 miles on Turtle Lake road-Follow Ice Age Event Signs

Or from the East-Take Hwy 17 to County Road J at Bloomville.  Go west on County Road J to Turtle Lake Road. Turn North. (Follow the Ice Age Trail Event Signs)

Any questions contact Ruby Jaecks or 715-551-1118

Friday, July 24, 2015

Here You Are

The signs with Joe's map on them are up so you won't get lost.  Trails have never been better.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rhinelander Holds the Cup

Rhinelander 371
Wausau 163
Green Bay 30
Iowa City 30

Friday, July 17, 2015

We Will Race

We will sweat.  We will have water at 6 locations on course. We will be flexible.  We will watch radar.  We won't make you do anything stupid to win a race.  We'll watch it blow over.  We're gonna have fun.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


 That's what we'll be drinking after the Thunderdown, and it's not made from any man's sweaty bike pants.  It's the K├Âlsch beer from RedEye made from German malt and German hops.
 Bring your own man pants or big girl panties because this is the Underdown and you will need them.  However, if you do go down to the Prairie River for a swim please don't leave your butt sweat on the bridge railing, and don't jump off the bridge because the big rocks are shallow a long way out.
Thanks to the best shop in Wausau.

Thanks to the best shop north of Wausau.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This is Underdown

And this is not some hyperbolic ploy to get you fired up to race just so you can own bragging rights with your friends.  There are some things you need to know if you're not familiar.  Some call this the toughest trail in Wisconsin.  That may be true, but it's not a contest.  Underdown is what it is.
This is not where you go for an easy ride.  This is where you ride something you can't get at the other places you've been to. This is where you find one-of-a-kind boardwalks and beautiful views of lakes from above.  Expect to top out on all the hills and have a screaming descent to follow, but don't expect a gentle ramp to get you up there.  These are old-school hand-built trails that will bring you close to trees and make you use your gears.
Trails may never be built this way again.  I'm getting old, and so is the Thunderdown.  2015 will be the 15th time you kids came to my country with your fancy pants and your bouncy bikes. I hope you get the butt kicking you came for.  I'll leave a jug at the top of Heartbreak Ridge for you.
Everyone get's to ride this one!

Who will fill the Thunderdown Cup?

2014 Wausau 402, Rhinelander 348, Green Bay 272, Madison 120
2013 Rhinelander 351, Wausau 348, Duluth 105, Green Bay 81, Ohio 75
2012 Wausau 315, Rhinelander 301, Madison 186
2011 Rhinelander 295, Wausau 116
2010 Wausau 411, Rhinelander 352


This year's Thunderdown will be affiliated with the Rhinelander Silent Trails Association.  This means that more funds will be available for trail improvements and expansions after the race!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fast Trails

Underdown trails are dried out and really fast right now.  A pre-ride of the long race course confirmed it at 15 miles.  4 or 5 laps would be possible in the 10-hour race depending on temperatures.  The winning 6-hour racer will do 3 laps if it's cool or 2 laps if it's over 80 like today.

Estimates of the short course at 5 miles look accurate, but the loop is all big hills do don't expect to get dizzy from going around and around.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thunderdown 2015

July 18, 2015

LOCATION:  Copper Lake Road between Irma and Gleason, Wisconsin

10AM     10 Hour team, solo, duo, single-speed
1PM        6 Hour solo, duo

3PM        3 Hour solo

Long: 10 hour solo, 10 hour duo, 6 hour solo
About 15 miles of single-track, this year's course will return to Oktoberfest and trail L.  Both have had some fun upgrades to the downhills.  Old-school trail V and the Hollow trail are taking a year off.

Short: 10 hour team, 6 hour duo, 3 hour
About 5 miles of single-track, this year's course will run with the long course through highlight trail CC  before splitting off onto sections of the Ice Age Trail that have never been raced in summer.  Riders will ride the winter route over the re-built Heartbreak Ridge climb before merging onto trail KK at Collarbone Corner.

Which town can put in the miles?  Wausau will be putting the Cup on the line.  Sign-up your town and return the form by 3PM.

Best deal: Lincoln County will waive the trail fee for the day so that all proceeds can be put back into the trail.
Best awards: Gift cards from the Red Eye.
Best camping: Right at the Underdown parking lot for a small fee.
Best burgers and pizza: Fork Horners on Highway X. (South\west on J, Right on X)
Best place to cool off: Prairie River bridge at the bend. Don't jump off the bridge though. (South on J 2.5 miles from Copper Lake Road)
Best gravel: BURGR 95 and Fork Horners 47 on July 11th.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


  • Bike people and hike people got together to rebuild the too-steep downhill on Ice Age Trail L.  Kelly, Bruce, Ruby, Jim, Bruce, Joe, Steve, Andrea, Gene, Randy, Anna, and Kathy came out in the rain to produce a scenic section of trail.  It will be a fun downhill on July 18th.
  • Trails L and LL need just a little bit of tidying up before they are totally ready to ride, but it won't be long.  Watch for loggers between White Lightning and Homestead.  This job won't take as much work to fix for race day.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Big Day June 13th

  • Help is needed for a record work day when we repair and rebuild trail L better than ever including a long, long downhill that used to be way too steep.  Come on out on the morning of June 13th about 9AM or 10AM.  It doesn't matter because we'll be there into the afternoon if we feel like it.  From Loop Road you'll be able to see the big hill where most of the work will be done.  Bring trail digging tools, but we've got extras.

  • I finished cleaning up trail X and M around the Hollow to the Underover today.  It's better than ever.  
  • Cougar tracks were seen near 17 east of the Underdown two weeks ago.  Maybe this is the same kitty that Brian saw on 51 in April.
  • Map signs should appear on trails in late June.
  • The end of June will mark the beginning of trail mowing season.  Volunteers are much appreciated.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ready to Ride

Paul, Riley and Joe came out today to help install boardwalks and clean up after logging.  KK is now in top shape and the Heartbreak Ridge climb on trail N is ready to ride.  Most of the Hollow trail (X and M) if cleaned up with some nice little improvements.
This means that all trails are cleaned up and ready for some great rides except for L and LL which will be tackled in June with a great rebuild of a big downhill.
June 13th will be the last big work day this year.  Meet where the Ice Age Trail crosses the east side of Loop Road by the Homestead.  The effects of logging will make it obvious where the work is.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Work Day Sunday

Trails are getting cleaned off this week and are over half done.  Sunday the 10th we'll be working on cleaning up after the west side log job starting about 9AM.  We'll start on KK and work over the Heartbreak Ride on the Ice Age Trail to the Hollow Trail (M and X) to the trail G downhill off Round Top.  See the yellow line on Joe's funky map.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Great Day for Trail Building

Steve helped get it going yesterday, and today Benji, Beth, Paul and Riley helped finish some fun upgrades to Oktoberfest.  The trail is so dry that it needs the rain.    Next week we tackle the trail around the hollow and KK where the tread took some beating from logging equipment.  We'll cover a lot of ground because the loggers were fairly gentle, and we might have time for upgrades.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Weather looks to be cooperating with an on schedule opening day.

  • April 15th Brian saw a cougar by the Underdown on 51.
  • May 1st Trails Open
  • May 3rd Sunday Work Day on Oktoberfest and maybe trail U.  Meet at Underdown lake between 9AM and noon and head up the hill. (Great re-routes are roughed out on the hill top.)
  • May 10th Sunday Work Day (Remember Mom, but come on out in the morning for a little fresh air.  Trails X, KK and the rest of the west side logging job.)
  • May 16th Ice Age Trail Wildflower Hike.  Meet at the west end of Loop Road little parking lot for a hike to Dog Lake and back. 10AM
  • May 23rd Bear 100 in Laona
  • May 31 RASTA Rally at Washburn
  • June Repairs of Trail L Ice Age Trail and the east side log job.
Oktoberfest is clear of sticks, etc.  Let me know if you'd like to take the leaf blower for a hike elsewhere.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


It's likely that we won't be back in the Underdown until May.  Stay tuned for some projects that some might consider fun:

  • Clean up the log job on trail L.
  • Rebuild the steep downhill at the end of trail L into something amazing.
  • Touch up trail LL.
  • Rebuild the top of the Oktoberfest Climb (S) and descent.
  • Finish re-opening the Hollow trail (M and X) following the log job.
  • Check over trail U.  
  • Open collarbone corner for summer and clean up the log job on KK.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Check out this slick new map Joe K. put together.  Dog Lake was a great ride again tonight.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Just an Inch

  • Dog lake is still a good fat bike ride after that little snow.  Some drifting and a blown down tree are all that's in the way, but a little maintenance is planned.  
  • Ski trails are skied in mostly and will likely be groomed before the weekend.
  • Snowshoe trails are pretty, but the Long Bog back from Mist Lake will be blown over in spots.

Ice Age Trail Map

This is the map sign that will be found out on the Ice Age Trail once the snow melts.  Check the small print on this version because the resolution out in the woods isn't so fine.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Looking Good

  • Underdown ski trails all got groomed.
  • Snowshoe trails all have tracks.
  • Fat biking is great to Dog Lake and not that bad to Mist Lake.

Monday, February 16, 2015


  • Ski trails look good.
  • Dog Lake is a good fat bike ride or snowshoe hike right now, but the Mist Lake loop is essentially closed because of drifting and a renegade snowmobiler who tore things up on the bog.  A hiker who knows the way might enjoy it.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Inch or Two

Underdown has just a little new snow.

  • Fat biking the powder to Dog Lake was nice last night.  With some dragging tonight the trail to Mist Lake should be good to ride again.
  • Skiing and snowshoeing look really good.  Some grooming might happen Friday, but much is skied in already.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Still Great

  • Underdown ski trails all have nice tracks.
  • Showshoe trails are all solid.
  • Amazing fat bike conditions continue with trail open to Mist Lake for the 3rd week in a row.  The Long Bog is ride-able for anyone who can balance on a wire.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Underdown Fat Bike Ride #3

Relentless Hill on the Ice Age Trail between Dog Lake and Mist Lake

Underdown Fat Bike Ride #2

Trail C

Underdown Fat Bike Ride

Trail Z, Beth Bog, Bridge Lake

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Good Snow

  • Ski trails were groomed Thursday and look perfect.
  • Snowshoe trails have tracks all the way around.  Some powder is present on the Long Bog to Mist Lake, but it's nothing to worry about on snowshoes.
  • Seven fat-bikers went around the Mist Lake loop today.  Everything was solid except for a good amount of hiking on the Long Bog.  Amazing conditions overall.
  • The trail pass rates will be what they will be for a while.  With state and county budgets as they are, user fees may be a fact of life.  $5,000 in trail passes didn't quite cover $15,000 in trail grooming expenses.  Earning a pass by volunteering or purchasing the season pass are still a good deal for a great trail.

Monday, January 26, 2015

An Inch or Two

Underdown got a little snow, but conditions are still very good.

  • Ski trails have some powder in the tracks but are getting skied in already.
  • Snowshoe trails are solid all the way around.
  • Fat biking is good to Mist Lake.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Snow Report

  • Ski trails are in great shape including Loop Road.
  • Snowshoe trails are in great shape with beautiful snow.
  • Fat biking is great on Trails A and Z and good to the Big Bog.  Snow is solid with some slippy traction.  The Dog Lake loop is too soft now, but should freeze up before long.
  • Snowshoe hike at 10AM next Saturday.  Fat bike ride at 2:30.
  • Please leave comments and vote regarding the snowshoe trail pass on the post below.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Deal with the $8 Trail Fee

Five years ago I asked the county for permission to permanently mark and maintain the snowshoe route that the Ice Age Trail chapter used for a hike that year.  This means I get the map signs out there, put tracks across the bogs after a snow, and keep the trail clear of brush with the help of other volunteers.  Except for some used metal posts, Lincoln County has not contributed anything material as a government body to the maintenance of the snowshoe or biking-hiking trails, but the county has not gotten in the way either.

Last year I was taken off guard a bit to find that an $8 trail pass was asked for snowshoe hikers in addition to skiers, bikers, and horse riders.  I have mixed feeling about charging people to hike so I'm asking for comments here.  Please post a comment below and I will pass your opinions along.

I wasn't sure myself where the money from trail passes and grants went, so I checked with the Forestry Department.  Much of the money from all passes goes to the grooming of the fabulous Underdown ski trails, a worthwhile project in my opinion.  Other funds have gone to improve the parking lot and some will be used on the shelter to be built this summer.  These projects do benefit all users.  There is a chance that the bike-hike-snowshoe system could receive money from this fund to pay for improvements in the future, but none has been contributed to date. (The new snowshoe map signs and all hiking trail improvements were paid for from bike race entry fees and other donations.)

My concern is that hikers are choosing not to visit the Underdown because of the $8 fee.  To some extent, snowshoe hikers pay their dues just by hiking on the trail to break trail for the next hiker.  Good snowshoe trails are really a cooperative effort of all hikers who follow in each other's tracks and establish the trail  in the process.  I was out last night and didn't see the tracks I'd expected.  Maybe it was just the cold, but I worried that the snowshoe community would break down because of the fee.

Maybe we should just be thankful to have access to the Underdown.  Though there are scattered moments of consternation, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to build and maintain the Underdown trails.  My biggest goal is that more people come to experience this amazing area.  I love the thought of getting people out to the Long Bog between Mist Lake and Dog Lake for the first time.  That spot is a treasure, so I hope money doesn't get in the way of the adventure.  Marathon and Oneida Counties approach trail fees in essentially the same way so maybe a fee for hiking is a fact of life, but just because some other county takes a hike off a cliff doesn't mean we have to.

I've found the $8 daily pass to be a bummer, but there are other ways to get the job done.  The $25 seasonal pass gets you access to all winter trails at once so you don't have to worry about it.  Volunteer hours are logged and used for grant applications in some years.  Volunteering also earns a free trail pass.  Let me know if you are interested, and please post your comments below and cast your vote on the poll at right.

Trail Report

  • Ski trails are all groomed and tracked.  Loop Road even had a track set, but a truck drove through and did some damage.
  • Snowshoe trails have tracks and signs all the way around the Mist Lake Loop.  Otter or something maintaining a hole in the ice at Dog Lake.  Group hike at 10AM on the 24th.
  • Nothing is good for fat bikes yet, but give it time.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Little Cold But Ready To Go

  • Nice tracks are set on ski trails, but not on Loop Road.
  • Snowshoe trails have tracks and map signs all the way to Mist Lake.
  • The Big Bog Loop looks like a good fat bike ride.