There are multiple events for hikers of all abilities this summer in the Whitewater area, and especially on the Ice Age Trail. The annual conference for the Ice Age Trail Alliance happened over April 15-17. Some of the highlights included the geology of the trail, as well as an ice cream social, a Q&A panel with several experts, and a career panel.
“It’s a virtual event that offers a heart-warming opportunity to mingle with the folks who are at the center of the [Ice Age Trail Alliance] family,” said Education and Outreach Manager Amy Lord.
Other ways to open yourself up to this family are the Trailtessa retreats. These are retreats designed by women, for women. Trailtessa retreats are a way to explore the Ice Age National Scenic Trail to find yourself.
“The relationship between land and people are intertwined. Care for people cannot be separated from the care for land,” said President of the Executive Board for the IATA, Robert Funk.
Starting May 4 begins a Virtual Happy Hour Workshop that goes through the end of the month, once each Tuesday. Each session includes a story to tell from different hikers. The first session begins with Kathy Vincent, who’s hiked the entirety of the Ice Age Trail with her then two-year-old daughter. These events are from 6-7:30 p.m. and will be recorded for other viewers to see.
Their May 25 events also include special presentations from Officer Alison Huber and Lt. Kelsey Servi about hiker safety tips for women – whether out on a stroll or for a long hike along the trail. The virtual happy hour presentations throughout May cost $25 to view all of them.
In June begins their Be Bright Summer Solstice Hike. This hike will take place on June 19 and 20. The solstice occurs June 20 but the Alliance encourages everyone to get with their “covid bubble” friends and hike for the longest days of the year. There’s no fee to just hike, so this event is completely free.
These events are helped by the Knowles Nelson Stewardship, and the Trail committee is hoping to reauthorize funding for the program for the next 10 years.
“During this Covid crisis, people needed to get out of the house safely. Parks are bustling, bike trails are busy, boat landings are full; nature is the remedy for cabin fever. These activities are available because of the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Fund,” said Funk.
While Hiking for any event, the Alliance encourages everyone to be as safe as they can during the pandemic. Some of these practices they encourage include social distancing. To help social distance, they recommend avoiding peak hiking times. On weekends, peak hiking times are 10 a.m. – 3 p.m..
To check out all of the Ice Age Trail events, or to find a trail nearby, visit iceagetrail.org.