It’s always enjoyable, but sometimes challenging, catching up with Brenda Conklin. As my dad used to say, you won’t find any grass growing under her feet. Brenda is always walking. Somewhere. Her accomplishments include the Appalachian Trail, the Long Trail and the Camino de Santiago. I tried to meet up with Brenda and her husband, Preston, while we were vacationing in Maine in August. Alas, they were unavailable because she was, of course, on a hiking trail. This time in Wisconsin.
I just received an email from Brenda reporting on her latest adventures. She writes, “This summer’s hike was the third year for me on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail. I finished 112 of the 642 off-road miles, but I’m not interested in the 462 road-walking miles (total trail = 1,104 miles). Preston was my hike angel dropping off and picking up each day to enable carrying a day pack, not camping.”
Brenda explained, “The Ice Age Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails in the US and has land forms created by glaciation (eskers, kames, kettles, drumlins, moraines, hummocks, erratics). The 1,104 miles run from Sturgeon Bay on Lake Michigan to St. Croix on the Minnesota border. Because farms existed before the trail and farmers resist hikers on their property, 40% of the trail is forced out to roads. The terrain is up and down but very easy compared to New England (highest point 1,900′).”
Brenda and Preston got to enjoy some off-trail fun, too. She relayed, “Our trip, from August 9-September 9, included kayaking (in our inflatable) in the Minnesota Boundary Waters, a car ferry, beautiful scenery over the top of Lake Superior, and museums in Buffalo and Corning, NY, East Liverpool, OH, Chicago and Wheaton, IL, Spring Green, North Freedom, and Wausau, WI, Ely, Grand Rapids, Two Harbors, and Grand Portage in MN, plus the Baseball and Football Halls of Fame.”
Brenda shared some photos of her travels, including a lake, the aftermath of a hard working beaver, high corn, a trail-side logging operation, trail-side soybeans and Ice Age Trail steps. It’s fun living vicariously through Brenda and Preston’s adventures!