The History We Make: From Newbie to Thousand-Miler

By Lou Ann Novak, Guest Writer and Thousand-Miler
Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Thousand-Miler Journal, Thousand Miler, Thru-hike
Lou Ann Novak, clearly in her happy place, while on her journey towards becoming a Thousand-Miler. Photo by Lou Ann Novak.
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.

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Adventure Is Better When Shared

By Dad & Daughter Duo, Mike & Emily Hoffmann
Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Father and Daughter, Hiking, Eastern Terminus
Father and daughter duo Mike and Emily Hoffmann began their Ice Age Trail journey on March 31, 2020, starting from the Eastern Terminus in Potawatomi State Park. Photo courtesy of Mike and Emily Hoffmann.

“Do you want to keep hiking, tomorrow?” I asked my dad.

At first, we weren’t even sure that we would make it the whole 1,200 miles. Each evening, for the first few weeks, with sore muscles and tight tendons, one of us would ask the other about getting back on the Ice Age Trail the next day. Luckily, the answer was always “yes,” and after a while, the questioning faded, and to hike onwards became our unwavering mission. Our determination to walk the Trail together led us to make many great memories.

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Thousand-Miler Journals: 3 Weeks or 30 Minutes

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Thousand-Miler Journals, Thru-hiker, thru-hike on the Ice Age Trail, IAT,

This captivating section of the Firth Lake Segment in Chippewa County evoked fond memories of the time spend building it. Photo by Ryan Jansen.

Article by thru-hiker, Ryan Jansen

Three weeks or 30 minutes. Both are amounts of time, separated by a year, I spent on the Firth Lake Segment. The two experiences were very different. One occurred while I was a crew member with Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WisCorps) and the other while on my 2018 thru-hike.

Both had the similarity of being experienced through the lens of a unique perception of time. Trail-Time. A meditative, obligation-free state of mind. The senses peak to the point of almost combining. My thoughts felt 3D and immersive, to the point where I struggle to say if I was fully in my head (my brain often was occupied with thoughts to the point of blocking out my surroundings) or out of my mind (my thoughts felt like they left my skull and were in plain sight). Continue reading