Kickapoo River Valley in October

The first week of October was positively tropical in 2007, so I did one last ride up the Kickapoo River Valley. There was a huge flood there in August, and I hadn't been back since then. The river was almost back down to normal by October, but the low areas were still wet and lots of damage was evident. High above the river, one road up to Westby was completely washed out. It was a bit muddy, but passable. I started in Gays Mills, which suffered the worst of the flooding, but seemed more or less back to normal. I did take the precaution of parking my car on high ground.

It felt more like August than October, with temperatures up to 85 F (30 C), and very mild nights. Fall colors were about at their peak, though not too spectacular this year. Thankfully, the flood water mosquitoes were mostly gone.

My route was the reverse of our usual, with some variations. I started and finished in Gays Mills. The first day I rode up the West Fork of the Kickapoo to Westby, then on to the park at Esofea. The park had been badly flooded and the road about half washed out, but half a road is plenty for a bicycle. The place was deserted but, unlike during our last visit in July, the water was turned on. (After I carried a whole bunch from Westby.) The next day I rode the usual route through Coon Valley and Norwalk to Wilton. Wilton is near the headwaters of the Kickapoo, and didn't appear to have suffered any flood damage. I had planned to ride back to Gays Mills on the third day, but there was a powerful headwind and it was a beautiful summer-like day, so I camped in Viola. Viola was pretty badly flooded in August, though not as badly as Gays Mills, so I was able to find a dry spot for my tent. The last day was just a short ride back down the river to Gays Mills. The bike touring season is about over now, but I can't think of a better way to finish it up!

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Route Map
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Tavern Road Mudslide
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A River Road
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Readstown in October
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Readstown in August
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The Avalanche Store
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Esofea Park Road Washout
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Another View
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Esofea Park after the Flood
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Coon Valley Flood Damage
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Valley Scene en route to Wilton
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Valley Scene Panorama
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Another Valley
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Fall Colors
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Another Fall Panorama
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Wilton Campsite
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Fall Colors in Wilton
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Kickapoo River Valley
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The old highway through the Kickapoo Valley Reserve
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The Kickapoo in Viola
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Viola Campsite
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Hillside overlooking Viola
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South of Viola
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Panorama South of Viola