West Bend native Michael Maziarka is participating in the Warrior Hike (WH) which encompasses the entire length of the Ice Age Trail (over 1,000 miles) in Wisconsin.
Maziarka is a U.S. Army Afghanistan War vet and is trekking the distance with U.S. Marine vet Miles Vining.
Today Maziarka and Vining are in Rice Lake, WI – Haugen to be exact, and will surpass 100 miles of hiking today, making this a milestone distance for both soldiers.
If there’s anything they’ve encountered on this long-distance, three-month gig it’s….ticks.
“We probably pick off 5 or 6 at a time every few minutes,” said Maziarka.
As the vets arrived in the small town of Haugen on Sunday, just north of Rice Lake, they were greeted by a local who learned that the men were passing through, hopped on his motorcycle and sought them out on the trail because he “just had to meet these guys.” (see photo)
Maziarka explained their time on the trail is more of the “down time” each week and he and Vining have had an enjoyable time getting to know each other and just talk – a lot.
Once a week they have an “off day” where they spend a night at the home of a vet, wash clothes, shower, clean equipment, etc.
Maziarka said keeping up with his blog is going to be a challenge as they continue to hoof it at a good pace on the trail, check in with the Warrior Hike organization, upload pictures (provided there’s a signal in the area), and visit with people they meet along the way.
If there is one word that sums up this week, Maziarka said it’s “generosity.”
They’ve shared a number of hefty meals, a few beers, a pontoon ride and great conversations with folks they’ve met along the way.
He also gives credit to his wife, Rachel (formerly Rieden – a Kewaskum grad) who “is the only person crazy enough to stick with me through being stationed in Georgia, a deployment to Afghanistan, and now this hike across Wisconsin.”
You can follow Maziarka’s activity on his blog HERE.
You can learn more about Warrior Hike HERE and follow Maziarka on the Ice Age Trail trek on the WH Facebook page HERE.