Ever since I heard about it, I always wanted to hike the Ice Age Trail. Over the years, I’ve hiked the trail, enjoyed trail running sections, and even ran races on it. What I’d really like to do is to thru-hike it. That idea set at the back of my mind, Bubbling up occasionally, and making me wonder when I might be able to do it. Part of the attraction is having a National Scenic Trail pretty much right here in my backyard, but also, like many long trails, the Ice Age Trail is always evolving and changing, and is a doable challenge that I’m sure would change me for the better.
Melanie Radzicki McManus’ book Thousand-Miler – Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017) is at once a memoir, storytelling, and an inspiration to get on the trail. McManus definitely intertwines the story of her first thru-hike, the history of the trail, and the stories of other thru-hikers. This is not grandiose self aggrandizement, but giving equal time to others and the trail.
While there are plenty of suggestions and admonishments of what to do or not to do while thru-hiking the trail, this is not meant as a resource for those planning a trip, though she does suggest ways to do that. Rather, this book lays out her love of the trail, its changes, progress, and hopeful future, along with stories of people who have hiked the trail. These people are young and old, section hikers and through hikers, who tried the trails for different reasons, seeking different results.
If you’ve ever thought of hiking a long trail, not just the Ice Age Trail, but any of the others, this is a great book to inspire and get that planning started.