40 Steps The evening of October 4, 2014, the Langlade County Ice Age Chapter's long-awaited 40th Anniversary celebration was held at Swartzendruber's Supper Club. Letitia Koppa, Langlade County Chapter Chair, served as program moderator, Rev. Gerald Anderson offered a prayer of grace and Nancy Blood read her poem on the trail. John Madden, Ice Age National Scenic Trail Superintendent and Mike Wollmer, Ice Age Trail Alliance Executive Director offered congratulatory comments to the chapter. Joe Hermolin produced power point presentations on chapter activities over the 40 years and select hike photos of the featured speaker, E. J. (Eb) Eberhart alias the Nimblewill Nomad of Russellville, Missouri. Eb provided an entertaining and informative presentation about his years of hiking throughout the United States and parts of Canada. As a lad Eb enjoyed outdoor activities but in1998 developed a passion for long-distance hiking by twice trekking an extended version of the Appalachian Trail both ways from the Florida Keys into Canada.
He has now hiked the 11 National Scenic Trails, including the Ice Age Trail in 2012 and 2 treks on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in 2004 and 2006. In August he completed a 2200 mile 118 day trek of the Oregon National Historic Trail from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon.
Eb had copies of his book, Ten Million Steps, about his first long distance hike for sale and eagerly autographed them for the buyers.
Polly Blazek presented a special prize to Lee Auner for having the highest score on a program quiz identifying trail landmarks and events along the county's five trail segments.
Twenty-two persons were awarded 40th Anniversary Hiker patches for making 2 of 5 chapter hikes or as thru-hikers in 2013 and 2014. Recipients of the hiker patch were Lee Auner, Terry Babonas, John Barker, Dean Blazek, Lloyd Godell, Sam Hardin, Letitia Koppa, Egan McKenna, Evie McKenna, Patrick McKenna, Kip Macon of Crivitz, Andy Merry, Gloria Rettinger, Tonya Trabant, Bob Zoretich and thru-hikers Gerald Anderson, Dub Bludworth of Salt Lake City, Andrea Braatz of Appleton, Rita Fox of Janesville, Cindy Hertzberg of Racine, Mary Stauffacher of Janesville and Jo Swanson of Askov, MN. Mike and Barb Wollmer, John Madden and the Nimblewill Nomad were also honored with patch presentations.
The memorable occasion was due solely to efforts of the planning committee, Polly Blazek, Chair, Dede Cromer, Carol Gottard, Peg Jopek and Letitia Koppa. Congratulations to all patch recipients, praise to the committee for an exquisite event and a special thank you to the Nimblewill Nomad in joining us for the celebration.
40 years of continued activity in supporting the Ice Age Trail here is quite an accomplishment. Thanks to all who contributed over the years to the trail and its continued presence here and elsewhere.