In thirty-six thrilling days, Melanie Radzicki McManus hiked 1,100 miles around Wisconsin, landing her in the elite group of Ice Age Trail thru-hikers known as the Thousand-Milers. In prose that’s alternately harrowing and humorous, Thousand-Miler takes you with her through Wisconsin’s forests, prairies, wetlands, and farms, past the geologic wonders carved by long-ago glaciers, and into the neighborhood bars and gathering places of far-flung small towns. Follow along as she worries about wildlife encounters, wonders if her injured feet will ever recover, and searches for an elusive fellow hiker known as Papa Bear. Woven throughout her account are details of the history of the still-developing Ice Age Trail—one of just eleven National Scenic Trails—and helpful insight and strategies for undertaking a successful thru-hike.
In addition to chronicling McManus’s hike, Thousand-Miler also includes the little-told story of the Ice Age Trail’s first-ever thru-hiker Jim Staudacher, an account of the record-breaking thru-run of ultrarunner Jason Dorgan, the experiences of a young combat veteran who embarked on her thru-hike as a way to ease back into civilian life, and other fascinating tales from the trail. Their collective experiences shed light on the motivations of thru-hikers and the different ways hikers accomplish this impressive feat, providing an entertaining and informative read for outdoors enthusiasts of all levels.