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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Here are some of my favorite stories from the past.


Iceberg Alley (July 2015)
If icebergs fascinate you, head to Newfoundland's Iceberg Alley late spring or early summer. To find out what's in store, read about my experience iceberg-peeping in this Minneapolis Star Tribune article.




Bay of Fundy's ups and downs (August 2014)
Ever heard of the Bay of Fundy? Did you know its tides are the highest in the world? See what it's like to experience them on land and on sea in this Minneapolis Star Tribune article.






Trail Blazing (July 2014)

Do you have what it takes to hike/run 1,100 miles? For an idea of what it's like, read about my trek along Wisconsin's Ice Age National Scenic Trail. published in the July 2014 issue of Madison Magazine





 Touching the sky in the Canary Islands
(March 2013)
At Spain’s Teide National Park, on the Canary Island of Tenerife, hikers (and cable-car riders) can reach the clouds atop a dormant volcano.






Wandering in Wales (September 2012)
The newly created Wales Coast Path brings hikers past rocky seashore, fields of heather and a few wary cows.






New Zealand's walk on the wild side (February 2012)

1st place, Best Newspaper Article - International Destinations, 2013 SATW Central States Writing Contest





On the Backs of Giants (December 2010)
An elephant farm in Thailand works to boost the country's elephant population with help from adventurous visitors.

Gold Lowell Thomas Award, Best Environmental Tourism Article, 2011 SATW Foundation Excellence in Travel Journalism Contest



The House That Art Built (Winter 2010-2011)
Figurative sculpture and an art furniture collection were the real foundations for one suburban Chicago couple's expansive new home.




Pilgrim's Progress
(August 2010)
Helpful souls and good omens line the road to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.

2nd place, Best Newspaper Article - Foreign Travel, 2011 SATW Central States Writing Contest


Invasive Species
(June 2010)
Olin/Turville Point Park is plagued by an invader: a lascivious human one.

2nd place, Best Background, Analytical or Interpretive Story,
2010 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest 



Mr. Zagar's Opus
(August 2009)
Isaiah Zagar builds an evolving, sparkling mosaic masterpiece in downtown Philadelphia.





Inside Line: Whistler, B.C.
(June 2010)
Come here for some of the best riding on the planet. But venture outside the bike park for big-mountain epics and fistfuls of mountain bike culture.




"Oh, Baby!"
(July 2009)
Audrey Edmunds is rebuilding her life after her murder conviction was overturned.




Shop We Love / Express Service
(July 2009)
Yellow Jersey in Madison, Wisconsin, delivers speedy repairs for every cyclist.



Where Time Stands Still
(April 2008)
The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis will commemorate the upcoming 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

Won 2nd place for Best Newspaper Article on U.S./Canada, 2009 Society of American Travel Writers Central States Writing & Photography Contest.




Playful Paths
(March 2008)
Reawaken your inner child with a run along Santa Rosa Beach's hidden footpaths.




Into Plein Air
(Summer 2007)
More than twenty artists captured Florida's Forgotten Coast on canvas during the ten-day inaugural "paint-out."

4th place, Best Magazine Article, 2007 Mark Twain Awards, Midwest Travel Writers Association (MTWA)


Venture Out: 5 Cities With Big Outdoor Appeal
(July 2007)
These active getaways boast all the perks — chic restaurants, art galleries, and shopping ― and it's so easy to exercise outside.




Buddha's Guest
(January/February 2007)
A two-day stay in a Korean temple opens the mind and frees the spirit.



Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin
(August/September 2006)





Enlightened Traveler: There's No Place Like Kansas City
(May 2006)
This Midwestern town is sizzling.





Winter Advisory
(February 2006)
How to make cold-weather runs safe and even fun.





Rest Easy
(August 2005)
Recovery is an important but often neglected part of training plans.





A Touch of Scandinavia
(November/December 2002)
Most visitors to Wisconsin's scenic Door County skip modest Washington Island. They don't know what they're missing.




Western Preserve
(December 1999)
Writer Melanie Radzicki McManus discovers an old Texas ghost town that captures a modern spirit.