Once Arlette completes the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, she will be the first known woman to have hiked all 11 National Scenic Trails. She is working towards that goal as we speak! We are excited for the Ice Age Trail to provide the backdrop for this incredible achievement.
Arlette graciously took some time from her busy hiking schedule to answer our questions. Read on to hear from this inspiring long-distance hiker and dollmaker from the Netherlands.
Anyone who hikes the Ice Age National Scenic Trail speaks enthusiastically about its fauna, flora, and geological features. Each hike offers lessons on myriad topics: beavers, butterflies, derechos, erratics, fossils, flowers, and ticks. In addition to traversing natural spaces, the Ice Age Trail is also composed of connector routes. These rural roads link off-road sections of Trail together, and in many cases, they bring hikers into cities and towns. The designers of the Ice Age Trail intentionally placed the Trail near populated areas, hoping close and easy access would increase its usage.
Knowing many aspiring Thousand-Milers merely tolerate road miles and other hikers eschew them entirely, I devote this essay to the joy of hiking connectors, hoping to inspire an appreciation for the miles marked not by yellow blazes but by white stripes.
By Cameron Gillie, Thousand-Miler and Contract and Volunteer Photographer for the Ice Age Trail Alliance
Hiking an entire National Scenic Trail is bound to change you in some ways. You have a whole lot of time to think about things as you walk alone with only your thoughts for 1,200 miles. I’m a photojournalist, and I set out to tell the story of Wisconsin’s landscapes, communities, and people for a photography book. Here’s what I learned on a personal level.
The human experience allows for growth and change if we are open to it. During our life experience, we may find ourselves lost. Lost in a situation we could not have imagined we would ever encounter. Ultimately, it is our choice to stay on the wrong path or seek a new one.
My year on the Ice Age Trail helped me to leave a spirit crushing path. During my newbie trail days, someone had told me that there was magic on the trail. I was intrigued, but I also thought it was cliche–something cool to say about trail hiking. But as my miles added up, this magic began to reveal itself.
By Elena Mederas, Communications Support Specialist
In October 2020, the Ice Age Trail Community of Slinger opened a multi-use, community trail that hosts a new section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. The multi-year effort to build the trail came about through strong partnerships and coordination between the Village, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA), and multiple landowners, businesses, and community organizations.
The new route of the Slinger Segment replaces a previous 0.7-mile road walk with a new 0.9-mile section of Ice Age Trail connecting the Slinger Segment to the Cedar Lakes Segment. The scenic trail corridor passes through Slinger’s Community Park and continues north along wetlands adjacent to Little Switzerland Ski Area. Continue reading →
By Whitney Meckikalski, guest writer and new member
Growing up and into my twenties, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail periodically made fleeting appearances on the periphery of my awareness. It was something I heard other people talk about – people who walked in different circles than me. They were people I didn’t understand or connect with, being outdoorsy, fit, and adventurous. They were the crunchy granola-types who made homemade deodorant. They seemed to have a crystal-clear idea about Life’s meaning.
My Ice Age National Scenic Trail experience began in April 2016. I knew nothing about the Ice Age Trail then. I had seen the yellow blazes, but didn’t know what they meant. One day out of curiosity, I searched for ‘Ice Age Trail’ on the Internet.
From the first, I was amazed at how each step seemed to leave the urban world behind. I thought how pleasant it would be to explore a few segments, but I really wasn’t hooked (yet). I bought the IAT Guidebook and Atlas. I enjoyed the mental exercise of planning my hikes. I would review the Guidebook and then map out my route. Since I was a solo hiker, I parked the car, biked one way on public roads and then walked the Trail back to my car.
By Amy Lord, Education and Outreach Manager & Eric Sherman, Membership and Grants Coordinator
We’re Glad You’re a Part of Our Community!
As wild and crazy as 2020 has been, we would like to take a moment to slow down and say WELCOME and THANK YOU!
Welcome to those of you who recently joined our Ice Age Trail Alliance community, and thank you to those who renewed your membership. The Ice Age Trail Alliance witnessed an unprecedented number of Trail enthusiasts joining in 2020! To date, we welcomed 625 new members, compared with 311 at this same point last year, while our renewal rate remained as healthy as ever. We’re now more than 4,300 members strong, an increase of about 30% over the past decade. Continue reading →
The Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Spirit Stick award symbolizes long-term dedication and service to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and is presented to only one recipient per year. The Spirit Stick nominees must exhibit a passion for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail that has become a way of life; lead by example and inspire those around them; and carry out their service in a spirit of cooperation, optimism, and enthusiasm.
The Ray Zillmer Award is named after Raymond T. Zillmer, founder of Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation (now the Ice Age Trail Alliance). The award recognizes individuals whose work exemplifies the ideals that inspired the establishment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Nominees shall have performed at least two of the following:
• Served the Ice Age Trail for at least 20 years.
• Markedly elevated public awareness of the Trail.
• Secured significant funding.
• Significantly advanced the IATA’s mission in some other way.
We’ve hit our group-size limit for this event. We hope you’ll join us next time!
Join us for a 4-day backpacking trip in one of the most pristine sections of the Ice Age Trail – the Chequamegon National Forest. This outing is a collaboration of the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the Verona Ice Age Trail Community.
Dates: Monday, September 18th – Thursday, September 21, 2017 (departing at 7:30 a.m. from the Old County Road PB park & ride in Verona) Continue reading →
It’s official! Luke Kloberdanz, Director of Outreach and Education for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, looks on as Greg Buckley, Two Rivers City Manager, and Justin Nickels, Manitowoc Mayor, cut the ribbon designating their cities as official Trail Communities. These attractive signs will grace the entrances to each city. Photo by Dolly McNulty.
Manitowoc and Two Rivers, we’re thrilled to have you join the Ice Age Trail Community family!
Hikers! Take a look at our Trail Communities for ways to appreciate the towns you’re hiking through. The Manitowoc and Two Rivers area have the only segments of Trail that put your toes into Lake Michigan waters. You’ll find maps of the Trail (and area segments) making it easy for you to follow the path as it winds through each city. There’s plenty of suggestions, too, for how to extend your stay in a fun and memorable way. Oh, and don’t forget to hit the Washington House for an ice cream sundae. After all, the first sundae in the world was made there!
The Cross Plains Segment shows off its best summer look. Photo Credit: Lou Ann Novak
In 2017 the Village of Cross Plains became one of eight Ice Age Trail Communities. This designation is more than a sign on the highway and a ribbon cutting. It is an invitation to use the Ice Age National Scenic Trail to celebrate the local culture, history, landscape, and businesses.
This July 14 and 15 the Village, in collaboration with the Cross Plains Chamber of Commerce, and the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Dane County Chapter, will be taking up the invitation to celebrate! Continue reading →