Warrior Hikers Michael Maziarka and Miles Vining have crossed into Washington County. The pair were spotted seeking shelter from Thursday’s downpour on the steps of Jim’s Place in downtown Slinger.
“We are hitting the Cedar Lake segment today,” said Maziarka. “Earlier we did the Monches segment and Pike Lake segment… really, really beautiful areas.”
Maziarka, 24, speaks with enthusiasm and energy and he wears a strong tan line at his shirt sleeves – a tattoo from Mother Nature’s sun as he and Vining, 24, have been on the road (or the Ice Age Trail) since starting out up north on May 20.
“It’s going pretty good,” said Vining. “We’ve had some rain but I love the heat; bring it.”
The pair camp out a majority of the time and are hiking to raise awareness for Warrior Hike. “Since I’ve been in the service and going to college this tour allows me to slow down for a while,” said Vining. “I’ve been writing a lot of things down and reprocessing a lot and that helps.”
Maziarka echoed Vining’s thoughts. “I’ve always aspired to doing a thru hike,” he said. “I’m accomplishing a couple things including slowing down my life and doing something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Another thing Maziarka has realized during the hike is what’s important. “When you slow down this much, a lot of things you thought that mattered really don’t,” he said. “So instead I’m going to be able to focus more on what does matter – things like my wife or going out with friends for a beer.”
“This helps makes me rearrange my priorities,” Vining said.
On Friday the pair plan to start on the Ice Age Trail in the area of Highway 33 or Highway D across from the West Bend Elevator.
The pair will finish the trek on August 6 in Sturgeon Bay.
The Warrior Hike is a program designed to help combat veterans transition from their military service.
You can learn more about Warrior Hike HERE and follow these vets on the Ice Age Trail trek on the Warrior Hike Facebook page HERE.
A couple of tidbits about the hikers:
-Normally the pair will hike six days a week.
-Their longest day was 25 miles hiked. Normally they average
-Their packs were provided by Warrior Hike and they weigh about 25 pounds.
-A majority of the time the pair camp – sometimes in a picnic shelter in a county park. Vining sleeps in a hammock and Maziarka is a “ground dweller” and sleeps in a tent.