ABOUT THE THOUSAND-MILER
Hello! 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 (+6,800 miles 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, folks! As of February 2020, I’ve hiked about 4,400 of those 18,000 miles via thru-hikes of the Arizona, Florida, Ice Age and New England Trails, plus about 1,000 miles 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 2020: 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.
COMING (POST-COVID-19): ICE AGE TRAIL HIKING WEEKENDS!
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.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
I awake with a start. In the predawn darkness, I strain my ears. Soft snorts and the sound of hoofs scuffling in gravel carry through my tent walls. Oh, no – javelinas! The Rio Grande Village campground here, in Big Bend National Park, is full of warnings about the hairy, piglike beasts. Officially called peccaries, the animals are known to snuffle around the campground in search of food, sometimes destroying tents and backpacks in the process.