A First in the Fourth

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Mike Summers Winter 2017 thru-hike

The all too familiar icicles of winter hiking. Photo by Mike Summers.

by guest writer Mike Summers

I crunched up the snow-covered remnants of the Niagra Escarpment in Wisconsin’s Potowatomi State Park on a sunny, 32-degree December day. My westbound thru-hike of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) had begun, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Neither did anyone else.

No one had attempted a self-supported thru-hike in the winter months, and many thought it a little strange to try.* But for me, the dreaded “fourth season” of backpacking invoked not fear, but intrigue. This hike would be a test to see if I really enjoyed backpacking, even in the most unforgiving of conditions. Continue reading

Spring Hiking Kickoff Party at Fontana Sports

To kick off the hiking season, Fontana Sports Specialties in Madison is hosting a panel of Ice Age Trail Thousand-Milers. Thru runner Melanie McManus, section hiker Todd McMahon and thru hikers (and IATA staffers) Dave Caliebe and Luke Kloberdanz will share their experiences and advice and answer questions for Ice Age Trail hikers of all stripes.

Snacks and socializing will start at 5:30 p.m. with the discussion beginning at 6:00. Come enjoy an evening of hiking stories and tips from those who’ve made the journey!