Latest News & Articles


*Thinking of having a gender-reveal party? You may wish to think again a la this Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast.

*Purged my office of loads of old files and assorted junk. Ahhh! I feel much better. It's true that clutter is stressful.



*Ever wonder why New Zealand is home to such crazy adventures? My article on HowStuffWorks explains it all.

*A small church in Oshkosh, Wis., is home to the one of the world's largest, permanently displaced Nativity collections.  


*Trails are great, but you can hike in cities, too, as this Midwest Living article on urban hikes demonstrates. 


*This is book-talk month! Check out my schedule of appearances to talk about the Ice Age Trail and my book Thousand-Miler.


*A summer trip to no-cars-allowed Mackinac Island was the impetus for this article on the island's bike culture.

*This month my husband and I thru-hiked the 215-mile New England National Scenic Trail. It was really rocky!

*Did you know you can take an alpine slide down the Great Wall of China? Read about my journey in this Minneapolis Star Tribune piece.


*The book "Great Hiking Trails of the World" was just published, and three of my hiking photos are in it!

*HowStuffWorks now has author pages, so you can see a lot of my recent stories on my page. Yay.

*I was one of three travel experts who came up with Wisconsin's 20 best attractions, featured in a USA Today Readers' Choice poll.

JULY 2017

*There's a cool, semi-abandoned shrine in Lake Wales, Florida, that makes an interesting stop.

*Need a challenge? Hike the Manitou Incline near Colorado Springs!

*This article I wrote on funeral procession laws and etiquette for generated a staggering number of comments and shares on the website's Facebook page.

JUNE 2017

*Traveling south on I-94 from the Twin Cities toward Chicago? Here's a great spot to hop off for some touring. 

*Getting the Ice Age Trail more publicity, this time in Midwest Living.

MAY 2017

*Cheryl Strayed, author of the popular hiking memoir Wild, told The New York Times that my book Thousand-Miler is on her summer reading list!

*Hiked another week on the Florida NST, and then knocked off my first 250 miles of the North Country NST. Only 4,350 miles to go on that one!

APRIL 2017

*Last fall I hiked Tiger Leaping Gorge, a trail in China that's famous with foreigners. Here's what it was like.

*Thousand-Miler is being well-received. The Associated Press ran a story about it that was picked up everywhere, including The New York Times. Cool!

*Fan of dietary supplements? Here's what you should know about them.

MARCH 2017 

*At Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism. Lots of talk about importance of sense of place. But of course! 

*My book Thousand-Miler was published a few weeks earlier than scheduled! Order your copy through the Wisconsin Historical Society Press or Amazon.

*An excerpt of my first book, the memoir Thousand-Miler, was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Wisconsin Magazine of History. 

*I'm returning to the Florida Trail to hike another 300 miles or so from roughly the Ocala National Forest to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in the eastern panhandle. Story research!

*Looking forward to the coming debut of Bindu Trips, a travel itinerary-building website. I have created itineraries for Wisconsin Dells and Spain's Vía de la Plata pilgrimage trail (Camino).


How Solitary Confinement Works

You'll never misbehave after reading this piece I penned on solitary confinement for the website How Stuff Works. Interestingly, they assigned me a piece on empathy shortly after.

Scenes from Wisconsin's Snowshoe Beer Mile
Perhaps the world's first snowshoe beer mile event was held in Eau Claire, Wis., in 2016. Temperature: 2 degrees. It was a balmy 40-something during the 2017 event, which posed its own issues. Read about both races in this Runner's World article.  

Sanctuary in southwestern Wisconsin

The Kickapoo River Valley is the perfect place to relax and take in some stunning landscapes, as you'll see in this piece written for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

Sledding at Great Sand Dunes National Park
No, you don't do this in a desert locale. The biggest sand dunes in the U.S. are in Colorado. Read about this fascinating park in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

Midwest Traveler: Devil's Lake may be Midwest's best climbing spot
I'm afraid of heights, but I tried my hand at climbing and was surprised at how enjoyable, albeit tough, it was. See what you think after reading my piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune  

How easy is it to spot a moose on Isle Royale? You'll see what it took for my hubby and me after reading this story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune  

D.C. shines in the off-season
When I went to Washington, D.C. in February, I discovered a pleasant surprise. Read about it in this article I wrote for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Island Disputes
Think the U.S. and Canada are fast friends? They are, save for one tiny rock. Intrigued? Take a gander at this piece in Islands magazine.  
This story won the 2016 Lowell Thomas gold award for Best Short Travel Article. 


Blog Index
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THOUSAND-MILER: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail

In thirty-six action-packed days, Melanie Radzicki McManus hiked 1,100 miles around Wisconsin, landing her in the elite group of Ice Age Trail thru-hikers known as the Thousand-Milers. In prose that’s alternately harrowing and humorous, Thousand-Miler takes you with her through Wisconsin’s forests, prairies, wetlands, and farms, past the geologic wonders carved by long-ago glaciers, and into the neighborhood bars and gathering places of far-flung small towns. Follow along as she worries about wildlife encounters, wonders if her injured feet will ever recover, and searches for an elusive fellow hiker known as Papa Bear. Woven throughout her story are details of the history of the still-developing Ice Age Trail—one of just eleven National Scenic Trails nationwide—and helpful insight and strategies for undertaking a successful thru-hike.

Among other fascinating tales from the trail, Thousand-Miler also includes the never-before-told story of the Ice Age Trail’s first-ever thru-hiker, Jim Staudacher, the story of ultrarunner Jason Dorgan's record-breaking thru-run, and the experience of one young, female combat veteran who embarked on a thru-hike as a way to ease back into civilian life. Their collective experiences shed light on the motivations of thru-hikers and the different ways they accomplish this impressive feat, providing an entertaining and informative read for outdoors enthusiasts of all levels.

(Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017)

Purchase your copy at your favorite local bookstore. Thousand-Miler is also available online through the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and







"Melanie Radzicki McManus turns her sense of adventure and keen descriptive voice — not to mention her physical stamina — to a vital stretch of geological wonder. Anyone who wants to hike the Ice Age Trail, or anyone who loves the outdoors but has never heard of this little-known gem, needs to read this book."

KERRI WESTENBERG, Star Tribune travel editor

"Many dream, some attempt, and few succeed at completing a trek of the entire Ice Age Trail. This remarkable journal of the sights, sounds, challenges, and joys lets anyone experience the unique journey of a Thousand-Miler."

MIKE WOLLMER, Executive Director of the Ice Age Trail Alliance