Hike #2: Beulah Bog, Kettle Moraine State Forest Mukwonago River Unit, & Second Salem Brewing Co.

This week Buffy did all the planning to select the hike and drink locations. She decided on a hike close to our home, Beulah Bog, which is in East Troy, WI. In our hiking book, Beulah Bog is described as a short and easy, out and back, 1 miler (which we were looking forward to after last week’s excursion). During all of our mapping, we noticed another state park was right down the road so we decided to do a double hike!

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The Kettle Moraine State Forest Mukwonago River Unit was not mentioned in our book, which is surprising due to the size of the park and quality of the hiking trails.

We started our day at Beulah Bog and parked in the public parking lot. The lot was small but the trail head started right by our car which was a plus.

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It was gorgeous outside today, a sunny 35, which is a gift this time of year in Wisconsin. The trail is exactly how it sounds in the book, easy. The paths are wide, matted down grass, and follow along the rolling hills. The only downside of the nice weather was that the paths were a little more muddy than they usually would be this time of year. The path winds down to a plank boardwalk that leads the rest of the way to the bog. The bog is cute, but small – good for a short walk but can’t make a day out of it.

After we left Beulah Bog it was a short drive over to Kettle Moraine State Forest Mukwonago River Unit. This park was even better than the first. The main trail appears to be a service road of some sort, however there were a ton of dirt side trails that looped around the lake and ebbed and flowed from the main path.

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Not the most official park sign

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On the way back, we decided to take the road less traveled and take the small pathway that leads close to the lake. In high school we used to call this a “Schwag” or Schmidty’s Wild Ass Guess. My coach Schmidt introduced the two of us to trail running early on in our running careers and he has been one of the most influential people in my life. On these Schwags we would run through unmarked trails, never running the same route twice, and I would almost always rely on Schmidt to help me find my way back out of the woods. Today, we did not get lost! But we did get some awesome views and we got to relive some awesome memories.

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Afterward we traveled to the next town over, Whitewater, WI for some thirst quenching beers! Second Salem Brewing Co. is a small nano brewery in the heart of “downtown.” We ordered a flight, making sure to include one of everything they made in the brewery. My favorites were the Bone Orchard IPA, Beast of Bray Rd, and The Reaper. Buffy’s favorites included Beast of Bray Rd and The Reaper, as well.

The day turned out to be a great one and I am looking forward to our next adventure. Here’s to the next one!

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THE HIKE – Beulah Bog

Pros:

  • Wide pathways
  • Easy to follow trail
  • Parking at trail head
  • Wood planks covering muddy areas
  • Water Feature
  • Well-maintained

Cons:

  • Muddy
  • Short
  • Underwhelming experience
  • Parking lot is poorly marked/does not match up with google maps

Comments: The hike is extraordinarily underwhelming because it is only .5mi each way.  There are rolling hills and some cool “natural” steps that you get to see along the way are easy distractions for how short the hike actually is.  It is a great beginner hike for toddlers, families, and people with dogs that do not actually like to hike.  It is the wading pool equivalent of the hiking world.  It is not a bad hike, but it is not worth it to be the only thing you go out and do in that area.  Fortunately, it is next to the southern portion of Kettle Moraine Lake Mukwonago Unit which has more trail length.

Bekki: I am happy this was an easy hike after last week, however if this was the only thing I planned for the day, I would be disappointed.

Buffy: It was only 1 mile, so this is a simple hike to do with a family or pets. It would be a good part of a day adventure in the Whitewater/East Troy area, but I agree with Bekki that it is underwhelming as far as hikes go.

Rating: 2.5/5

Kettle Moraine State Forest Mukwonago River Unit

Pros:

  • Multiple trail systems
  • Beautiful lake with multiple access points
  • Very easy hiking level

Cons:

  • Close to private property
  • Active shooting/hunting
  • No trail markings
  • Parking lot is poorly marked

Comments: The trails are mainly fire roads that interconnect various side trails in the southern portion of Kettle Moraine State Park.  Rainbow Lake, and the trails leading there, were very scenic and offered a unique view to the calm before the storm during a Wisconsin winter.  The downside is that the trails weren’t marked, at all, and nowhere were there signs that the area is active with hunters during hunting season.  There was one sign and it read, “Don’t shoot in this direction: Private Property.”  After hearing several shots, we realized the sign wasn’t a joke.  Overall, it is a place we’d revisit and hike through again.

Bekki: By far this was my favorite part of the day. We explored several trail systems and I got to take a goofy picture down by the lake (see GIF above). We didn’t get to explore the entire park so I will definitely be back.

Buffy: I liked the possibility of how many different hikes you can take in the same area. As a runner I always look at new potential routes, and this trail system would be great for trail running. It’s fairly flat, but otherwise diverse terrain. Also, it’s hard to get lost even when going off trail.

Rating: 4/5

SECOND SALEM BREWING CO

Pros:

  • Lots of unique craft brews, which are brewed on-site
  • Able to order flights with as many samples as you chose
  • Growlers to go! And they take outside growlers
  • Cheap Pints
  • Huge patio space – covered in the winter months
  • Close to a cute downtown area

Cons:

  • Pricey flights
  • Food is so-so at best

Comments: The atmosphere seemed chill which is nice for a brewpub!  They let you fill growlers that are 32 or 64oz as long as they can seal them there.  The flight price was kind of expensive even though you can choose to have as many or as little tasters in the flights as possible.  Bekki and I got a 7-beer flight, to taste the entire brewery menu, and it ran $15.  Regular pints, however, were only $4.50 which is fantastic for a small brewery.  The food sounds like it has potential, but it fell flat and was not worth the money.  We will have to return in the summer to see how the outside atmosphere is.

Bekki: Beers were good, food was gross. Cool atmosphere though.

Buffy: The pint prices were fantastic for craft brew but the food was not the best. It seems like it would be a fun place to hang during the summer.

Rating: 3/5

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One thought on “Hike #2: Beulah Bog, Kettle Moraine State Forest Mukwonago River Unit, & Second Salem Brewing Co.

  1. Pingback: Off Leash at Lulu Lake | BACKPACKING FOR BREWS

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