Author Melanie McManus picked a cold day to hike the Harrison Hills segment of the Ice Age Trail, but she enjoyed a warm welcome to Langlade County first.
Hours before hitting the trailhead west of Antigo on assignment for Backpacker magazine, McManus was interviewed by local radio host Gary Hartl about her book, “Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail,” and than lingered to visit with trail supporters and sign copies.
“I was hoping it would be around 35 or 40 degrees McManus said of her November hiking plans. But, an avid outdoor enthusiast, she said she was prepared.
McManus was joined at the microphone by Joe Jopek, a longtime Ice Age Trail advocate instrumental in developing the National Scenic Trail in Langlade County and across Wisconsin.
McManus didn’t just hike the 1,100 mile trail, she ran it, setting a new record of completing the distance in 36 often pain—filled days as she battled everything from blisters and banged knees to cellulitis and bloating.
At age 52, McManus became one of the trail's elite Thousand-Milers and has since completed the journey again, traveling from east to
west this time instead of west to east.
One of just 11 National Scenic Trails, the Ice Age Trail winds across Wisconsin, from St. Croix Falls on the west to Sturgeon Bay on the
east. In between it covers a wide variety of terrain, ranging from fairly urban settings to the wilds of the Harrison Hills and Kettlebowl regions .
The trail roughly follows the location of the terminal moraine from the last Ice Age. It passes through 30 of Wisconsin's 72 counties, from the northwestern part of the state to the Lake Michigan shoreline in the east.
Langlade County boasts 50 miles of the trail, among the most in the state, divided into five segments: 13-mile Kettlebowl, 12-mile
Lumbercamp, 9.5 mile Old Railroad, 12-3 mile Highland Lakes and 12-mile Parrish Hills.