The last summer before getting a “real job” is often one you’ll always remember. This is definitely the case for Bryn Langrehr, who is spending her summer thru-hiking the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
This UW-Platteville Senior began her journey in St. Croix Falls on May 28, after months of planning.
“I’ve wanted to do a thru-hike,” says Langrehr, who has always been a hiker and camper. She decided this summer would be the time to do it. After all, she has a job lined up when she graduates in December (with an Environmental Engineering degree).
So far, things are going pretty much according to Langrehr’s plan. She’s hiking 15-20 miles a day, has daily check-ins with her parents, and weekly food drops from her family (which occasionally include a day hike with her Dad).
As a Bangor, Wis-native, Langrehr was prepared for the heat and mosquitos she’s endured. She’s also not been fazed by the ticks (50 was the most she pulled off herself in one day).
There have been two times on the hike where she thought she was done. But, both times Langrehr knows she was just tired. To persevere, she slept in the next morning and took it easier on her hike.
“I’ve realized thru-hiking is more of a mental game,” she says. “You have to cheer yourself on.” To cheer herself on, Langrehr sings to herself while hiking, plus she has a constant companion: a tiny rubber duck named Quinten, who loves a good photo op moment.
She’s also journaling along her hike, which helps her focus on the good things she experiences each day.
“I’ve realized thru-hiking is more of a mental game. You have to cheer yourself on.”
“Someone offered me a kohlrabi,” she says about a unique early morning encounter on a road walk. An older gentleman was tending to his garden, and had freshly harvested it. But, what would a thru-hiker do with a kohlrabi? She declined the offer.
Langrehr’s had a couple of interesting encounters with animals, including bears and a very friendly golden retriever.
Based on the social media activity of Ice Age Trail-related pages, Langrehr expected more people on the Trail. She was surprised how few she encountered especially in the Western part of the state. But, she has been amazed by how well the Trail is maintained. “There are hardly ever any downed trees,” she says. The habitat surrounding the Trail is of particular interest to Langrehr, who ultimately wants to make a career of Habitat Restoration.
At the time of publishing, Bryn informed us she was taking a break from her thru-hike to heal bruised feet. She hopes to complete her hike yet this year.