If you encounter Huck Was Here on the Ice Age Trail, chances are you’ll end up smiling. That’s because Huck is one of the happiest people you’ll ever meet—on or off trail.
Currently thru-hiking the Ice Age Trail, Huck says “everyday is just so amazing.” He wakes up wondering, “What’s going to happen today?”
Huck, who admits to be not much of a planner, enjoys the challenge of winging it as he hikes. But that’s not to say he wasn’t prepared for his thru-hike. Far from it really.
Huck read the Ice Age Trail guidebook, as well as Thousand Miler.
“It’s good to have the knowledge (of the Trail),” he says. So, when you come upon something, you appreciate what you’re seeing or experiencing.”
Like when Huck hiked the John Muir Segment of the Trail; Muir is one of his heroes, so being able to walk where Muir spent time was special. “I even found a four-leaf clover there,” says Huck.
Most Recent "Huck was Here" Video
In addition to reading about the Trail, Huck came with lots of hiking experience, including last summer’s thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
A couple of years ago, Huck decided to become a thru-hiker. In preparation he sold most of his belongings, his car, and quit his job. Now, he owns what’s on his back, plus a small tote of other things, which a relative stores for him.
“I didn’t win a lottery,” he says noting it’s the choices he’s made rather than luck that enables him to be on Trail for extended periods of time.
You have to take risks, he says, and leave comfort behind to see new things. “When you have just what you need, it’s the best,” he says.
These days that includes a smart phone, which he uses to chronical his hiking journey for his YouTube Video series (check it out: Huck Was Here). Huck started the videos for himself while on the Appalachian Trail, but then others started watching. These days, he challenges himself to post every two days. He doesn’t reshoot and likes to share the reality of what it’s like on the Trail (a recent episode features Huck riding out a massive thunderstorm in his tent). He says the videos are his creative outlet. “I can craft a story,” he says, “and share my joy.”
He finds joy in whatever he can, even the road walks. Although the first road walks made him sore, he says now they’re just another part of the Trail, which he doesn’t mind. They allow him to eat while hiking or walk without worrying about tripping.
Huck's Ice Age Trail Thru-Hike Gear Video
Huck is a Wisconsin native, but has been out-of-state for a number of years. Although he was familiar with the Trail, he says it is somewhat different than he expected. Logistically, he says, it’s a bit of a challenge. “You can’t just go off trail a few hundred yards when you’re done for the day,” he says. And, obviously, it’s not wilderness and high adventure everywhere. But, he says, the Trail is exciting because it is still growing. And, that gives people the chance to be part of it with Trailbuilding and volunteering.
Plus, the Trail is challenging in its own ways. He had to deal with a snowstorm on the second day of his hike, then extreme heat. He’s also dealt with solitude. “I only saw six people in the first month of hiking,” he says.
Now that he’s gotten into the southern part of the Trail, encounters with others are becoming more frequent. And he’s very appreciative of everyone he meets.
People have stopped in the middle of a road to talk to him, another cached water for him. Huck, who’s a former teacher, happened upon the Table Bluff Segment the same day as 90 kids who were participating in the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Saunters Program. “I was happy to see kids on the Trail,” he says.
Huck’s current focus is reaching the Eastern Terminus of the Ice Age Trail. By the end of summer, he figures he’ll have an idea of what he wants to do next. If that includes another thru-hike, he’d probably relocate, get a job, and work until the next hiking season.
Follow Huck’s Ice Age Trail journey, and find out where he goes next on his YouTube channel.