So, after yo-yoing the River to River Trail back in April, I was then able to set my sights to the future. Two distinct adventures were ahead of me: A 300-ish mile trek in the fall, and the 1,100-mile Ice Age National Scenic trail in the winter.
After fixing a flat tire at the Devils Backbone State Park, the eastern terminus of the River to River Trail (and where I had left the car for those 2 weeks), I drove straight on up towards Rothschild, WI for the first few days of the Ice Age Trail Conference, making sure to stop in New Glarus, WI to visit the New Glarus Brewing Company, get a much needed shower, and sleep in a bed at a motel.
A short drive the next day and I was meeting and talking with lots of very interesting folks who absolutely love hiking trails. It was a nice change of pace after hiking for days on end. At the trail conference I felt at home in the hiking community. I got to share my adventures, network with some amazing people, learn about the conditions I will encounter on my Ice Age Trail winter thru-hike, eat a ton of great food, and even hike some small sections of the Ice Age Trail.
Even in April the trail remains snow covered and it even snowed lightly on one of the outings! Foreshadowing to a rough winter ahead I suppose.
The people I met and conversations I had rejuvenated my hope that I can accomplish my goal. The Ice Age Trail has a tightly-knit community of trail stewards who are more than willing to help out in any way they can. This will keep my doubts at bay as I move forward, or at least help. I suppose I'll let them know I'm coming through.