Jim Abert is hiking Wisconsin’s entire 1,100-mile long Ice Age Trail this spring to support a project on a local segment of the trail.
“I’m doing it for two reasons,” he said, “the physical challenge and also to promote awareness of the trail and our important environment.”
Abert plans to begin the hike around April 15 and anticipates it will take him between 10 and 12 weeks to complete the hike.
His departure date depends on the weather, and he expects to hike 120 miles a week or 20 miles per day. He will take one day off each week.
His idea to hike the state’s entire National Scenic Trail began a few years ago after Abert retired and joined the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Mobile Skills Crew.
The crew builds and maintains trails.
“I had hiked the Ice Age Trail in Waupaca County and became more interested in the trail,” he said. “I went on the website and signed up for trail building. I was looking to do volunteer work. The idea to hike the whole trail probably came up after I started volunteering.”
There are 11 National Scenic Trails in the United States, and the Ice Age Trail follows the outline of the furthest advance of the last glacier in Wisconsin.
Abert views the trails as national, environmental treasures and suspects many people do not realize there is one in the state.
This year, the alliance’s Mobile Skills Crew will work on numerous projects throughout the state, including one in Hartman Creek State Park.
The project, scheduled from Oct. 13-18, will involve rerouting a 1.5 mile segment to relocate the Ice Age Trail off an existing ski trail, thus allowing year-around use by hikers and snowshoers.
“There will probably be 300 to 350 volunteers show up to do this,” Abert said.
When he hikes the Ice Age Trail this spring, he wants to raise money to help fund that trail building event.
Abert is seeking pledges of a penny, dime, dollar or any amount to support the project.
Contributions are tax deductible, and people may mail checks to the Ice Age Trail Alliance, 2210 Main St., Cross Plains, WI 53528 and reference “Abert Hike” in the memo or visit www.iceagetrail.org/donate/honorary-memorial-gifts and name Abert as the honoree.
Abert plans to hike the Ice Age Trail from east to west, beginning at Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay and ending at Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls.
About 650 miles of the 1,100-mile trail are completed segments of the trail, while the rest of it is on roads, he said.
The 63-year-old Abert believes he is physically prepared for his venture.
He runs and has done about four half marathons.
Abert is also working with Aaron Allie, a local personal trainer.
“He has me working on my posture, strengthening my core, ankes,” Abert said. “I’m doing yoga, too.”
Abert plans to go to the March 27-29 Mobile Skills Crew retreat in Marathon County and then hike home from there as another way to train for his hike.
While the idea of doing this hike was in the back of his mind for some time, he did not tell anyone until earlier this year.
Then he said he was going to do it.
“It’s just going to be me. I plan to ‘Tweet’ from time to time. Anyone who donates to the cause, I feel they are entitled to see where I am. I plan to take pictures and let people know where I’m at, for safety,” Abert said. “I’m very anxious to start.”