I’m Melanie Radzicki McManus, freelance travel writer, speaker and author of Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail. I’m also The Thousand-Miler. Someone who hikes a lot – 7,200+ miles (11,587 km) and counting – and wants to inspire and encourage everyone to give it a try.

Scores of studies show that being in the outdoors is wonderful for your mind and body in many different ways, from lifting your spirits to speeding healing post-surgery to making you more compassionate. I can attest all of that is true, which is why I’m on a mission to spread the gospel of the trail.

So here at The Thousand-Miler, you’ll find stories and photos about my past travels, many along hiking trails, all spanning the globe. You’ll also find the trail journals I’ve kept during many of my excursions, info on my favorite gear and stories of what I’m learning as I transition from day hiker to serious backpacker.

Today, my goal is to hike all 11 National Scenic Trails. That’s more than 18,000 miles (29,000 km), folks! As of March 2021, I’ve hiked about 4,800 of those 18,000 miles (7,725 km) via thru-hikes of the Arizona, Florida, Ice Age and New England Trails, plus about 1,400 miles (2,250 km) of the North Country Trail. Sure, I’ve got a ways to go. But I’m off to a great start.

And on the docket for 2021: thru-hikes of the Natchez Trace and Potomac Heritage Trail. (National Park Service personnel think I may be the first person ever to thru-hike the Potomac Heritage Trail!) Please follow along on my adventures via my trail journals, photos and articles. And if you see me out in the woods, my trail name is Snowshoe.



My first hiking program at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis., was a great success. I’m now in discussions with other groups around Wisconsin to hold similar hiking weekends. Stay tuned!


Read about all of the places I’ve traveled (and hiked!), from the U.S., Spain and Italy to Israel, China, New Zealand and beyond.


Need an engaging, enthusiastic speaker? I’m your person for talks about hiking, women in the outdoors, solo travel and more.


Check out my photos from popular and remote locales. They’re for sale, too.


Planning a hike on trails I’ve conquered? Read my daily diaries to help you prepare.



I didn’t expect to be hugged today, let alone three times. And by strangers. But that’s what happened after I snagged one of the 10 coveted campsites at White Sands National Monument last October, then offered to share it with some people who just missed the cut.

None of us knew that, weeks later, White Sands would become the country’s newest national park. Defense legislation signed Dec. 20, 2019, by President Donald Trump included a provision to turn this national monument into the 62nd national park, putting it among the likes of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone.

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved