Man’s winter thru-hike a first for the Ice Age Trail

Mike Summers was in good company last week as he relaxed in a leather conference chair, munched on a supreme slice from Tano’s Pizza and sipped a Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer.

At the end of the conference table was Tim Malzhan, 59, who thru-hiked the 1,200-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail more than 25 years ago. Across the table to his right was Luke Kloberdanz, 40, who hiked the trail in one continuous trip in 2003. And seated directly across from Summers was Dave Caliebe, 34, who in 2010 thru-hiked the trail that winds through Wisconsin along the terminal moraine created by a glacier that receded more than 10,000 years ago.

The trio all work for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, a nonprofit based in Cross Plains that builds, maintains and promotes the trail. Malzhan, Kloberdanz and Caliebe all did their hikes in summer and fall. But on this day, they gathered in the Alliance’s conference room to welcome and refuel Summers, a skinny, bearded 26-year-old from Portland, Oregon, who is attempting a winter thru-hike of the trail, something never before accomplished.

He started the trip at Potawatomi State Park near Sturgeon Bay on Dec. 22, 2016 and is hoping to be at the trail’s western terminus at Interstate Park near St. Croix Falls by mid-March.

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