The Pipestone Quarry Trail system meanders through the heart of the Blue Hills on about 1700 acres of public land. It offers varied terrain and features including rolling oak ans maple forests, low marshy areas, ridge tops and Sacred Indian ground. The hike to the cache location takes you to the Felsenmeer Ridge where the trail skirts the ridgeline offering a nice view of the Wisconsin countryside to the South. Cache is located in a rocky area where trees open up offering a decent view. A nice place to stop and rest before deciding to either complete the loop or head back the same way you came. There are 3 loops to the trail system. The green loop indicated by green dots on the trees for trail markers will take you to the cache.
This area is very near the Rock Creek Felsenmeer State Natural Area, one of only 3 known felsenmeers in Wisconsin. A felsenmeer (meaning "sea of rocks")is a large talus slope of quartzite that was deposited during the Pleistocene glaciation. Through the ages the area has been prone to tundra like climate and excessive frost activity and the quartzite found here, being a brittle rock, is very susceptible to frost wedging. Frost wedging in turn weakened the original large quartzite boulder deposits and over time turned them into the rubble you see today. Felsenmeers are also characterized by summer long upwellings of cool air at the bases of the slopes. This cool moist air emanates from deep within the rocky slope and keeps the climate around the felsenmeers cooler, helping to create and maintain a tundra like environment. It is not known why or how this cool air is formed, but one theory is that there are year-round ice deposits deep within the felsenmeer slope. Regardless, the summer long cool environment helps to promote habitat for rare species of plants, such as certain kinds of lichens, liverworts and berries, that are not native to this part of the state but would normally be found in a boreal or tundra like ecosystem. The Blue Hills are a geologic wonder and the felsenmeers it contains are examples of that.
More information about Blue Hills felsenmeers and other SNAs in WI can be found at www.dnr.wi.gov
Please check out the geocache "Felsenmmer II Staging Area" by Logroller, another great example just east of here.
9/06/2010: Added 3 waypoints to help others get to cache in the intended manner. Path will be quite overgrown in the summertime with path obscured in some places. Also, cache is large, so please rehide back in it's "cradle" and cover up so as not to be discovered by hunters in the area.