In about a week, a Massachusetts woman is expected to reach the eastern end of the Ice Age trail in Wisconsin, becoming the first female hiker to complete all 11 national scenic trails in the United States.
Arlette Lane, whose track name is “apple pie,” was roughly 200 miles off the 1,200-mile trail as of last week. Once she makes it to the east terminus of the trail in Sturgeon Bay, she will make history.
Lan said that “a lot of stubbornness” helped her complete the trip, which began in 2003 when she walked the Pacific Crest Trail.
“Start it, so you want to finish it,” Lan said. “It’s kind of like, how badly do you want him? How bad do you hate him? There were times when you were miserable, but you’re like, ‘Okay, you have to get better again at some point.'” “
During the early 2000s, she did eight national scenic trails, often climbing them with her husband, Rich Gambal. She hadn’t planned on doing the last three tracks until she met MJ “Sunny” Eberhart, whose track name is Nimpelwell Nomad.
It is the oldest park to have completed the Appalachian Trail and done all 11 National Scenic Trails. Encourage Lan to be the first woman to do so.
“You’ve already done a lot. Why don’t you do all of them?” He said because he told her. “He planted the seed, and I said, ‘I think I can do it.'”
While traveling on the Ice Age Trail, Lan was surrounded by open fields of wildflowers, songbirds, and the occasional patch of mosquitoes. She said that seeing Devil’s Lake and having her husband and friends join her on parts of the trail were some of the highlights of the trail.
Recently, Lan has met up with hikers who have invited her to stay in their nearby homes, so she doesn’t have to camp. Sometimes the hosts drive her through local towns, which Lan said she enjoys because it allows her to see more of the state.
The West Coast National Scenic Trails remain a favorite in Lan, despite the mountains and rolling trails
“You can actually walk and enjoy the scenery and not suffer too much,” Lan said with a laugh. “You have a lot of wildlife, especially like the Continental Divide Trail. We saw herds of elk, and the weather was absolutely fantastic.”
Smartphones and GPS technology weren’t there when Lan created the Continental Divide Trail, so using paper maps and making mistakes made it seem like a “big adventure”.
Laan is also evidence of the growing popularity of hiking, which consists of taking a long walk from start to finish.
Melissa Peric, director of marketing and community relations for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, said 15 people have already tried hiking the Ice Age Trail this year. Seven of these individuals are on the road now, including Lan.
“I think social media has a lot to do with the hiking career that has grown up,” Beric said. “The Ice Age Trail Alliance is headquartered right on the trail, so we are fortunate enough to have hikers come through it.”
He first discovered Driscoll Lane in a Facebook group for North Country Trail hikers. I found it interesting that Lan was hiking by herself through a lot of snow in very remote areas. Driscoll continued to follow Lan’s journey when she announced that it would end with the Ice Age Trail. The two eventually met in person, although it wasn’t planned.
“I was out for a walk in Taylor County,” Driscoll said. “I basically found her. I knew she was in the area, and I actually totally forgot about it. And then when I was hiking, I was like ‘Oh my God, this is Arlette.'” “
When Lan finishes her Ice Age trail on July 11, she will return to Massachusetts and work as a hiking guide in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She said she would probably take some short trips, but eventually said she wanted to do the Arizona Trail again. It might also set its sights on the tracks in Europe.
Her advice to hikers by walking is to start with a comfortable mileage goal and only increase the distance when you feel more confident. If you feel you want to quit, Lan said, you’d better take a day or two off and then reassess. Lan likes to say, “Prevent injury and keep having fun.”
As for the reason for its name “apple pie,” Lan said it reminds her of Dutch apple pie and the Netherlands, where it originally originated.
“I love treating myself,” Lan said. “The little motto is: Don’t let life or the candy tray pass you by.”