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Part 1 | ‘Around Wisco – Hiking the Ice Age Trail’ – featuring segments in Washington County | By Cameron Gillie

Washington County, WI – Cameron Gillie is a photojournalist from the Madison area who just self-published a book, ‘Around Wisco – Hiking the Ice Age Trail.’  His 2-year adventure details the people he met and places he saw while hiking the nearly 1,200 miles of the Ice Age Trail across Wisconsin. Below are some of the segments featuring familiar parts of Washington County, WI. Enjoy the first of this 3-part series.
Cameron Gillie at the halfway point of the Ice Age Trail.
The small towns of rural Wisconsin are full of friendly, warm people. Even the smallest towns will surprise you with interesting characters and their stories. A stop in a tiny grocery store for a soda might wind up in an hour-long conversation.

I’m originally from a small town in Northern Minnesota. I’ve always joked that it takes forever to get across a city because of traffic, and it takes forever to get across a small town because you have to stop and talk to everyone you encounter on the way.

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It took me 113 days over two years to complete the trail, in part because I kept stopping and having so many of these hour-long conversations.

As expected, Wisconsin has many cafes and bars, but there was also the unexpected, like a monastery in Saint Nazianz where I was a guest for the night. There was a small sunrise wedding I happened across in Devil’s Lake State Park. I met a girl and her mother walking her sheep down the road, getting them ready for the Portage County Fair.

There’s been a Lukes barbershop in Kewaunee for 100 years. Lynn Lukes is the third generation carrying on the tradition of cutting hair. The shop was started by his grandfather Adolph, and then taken over by his father, Leo. The barbershop is filled with an accumulation of all three generations of Lukes collectibles. It looks as though it’s part barbershop, part museum. (photo by Cameron Gillie www.aroundwisco.com)

Another day I met a New York Times best-selling author passing through town, sitting at the next table to me in a coffee shop in Kewaskum. You never know whom you will meet crossing the state on foot.

Click HERE to see coverage of Sarah Krebs of Jackson, WI running the Ice Age Trail.

You never know who you might be sitting next to in a coffee shop until you start a conversation. Do neighbors in Washington County, WI recognize this location?

I opened doors and talked to strangers. When in a small-town cafe ordering lunch, you’re likely talking to the owner. You meet hard-working people who love their communities and their neighbors. Your backpack is always the conversation starter. Ask them a few questions in return, and you might wind up hearing all about their lives and the rich history of their town.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I’m a photojournalist, and I set out to tell the story of Wisconsin’s landscapes, communities, and people by backpacking the nearly 1200-mile-long Ice Age National Scenic Trail with my photography. My book chronicles my journey as I explored Wisconsin on foot.

ABOUT THE BOOK: On the trail, I followed my curiosity and photographed what intrigued me. Of course, there are scenic photos, but as a photojournalist, I also photographed the people and places that interested me. The book is an eclectic collection of photographs, but any journey as epic as hiking across an entire state is bound to be composed of a wide range of unique, eclectic, experiences.

CLICK HERE to learn more about or to order Around Wisco: Hiking the Ice Age Trail.

This is the first in a series by author and photographer Cameron Gillie that touches on the beauty of the Ice Age Trail and the interesting people that make up the great state of Wisconsin.

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