An 11-week trek across Wisconsin didn’t stop Mike Maziarka from enjoying time with family over the July Fourth weekend.
Maziarka, son of Jim and Ginny Maziarka of Baraboo, is taking a Warrior Hike on the Ice Age Trail through Warrior Expeditions. He’s taking the trek with fellow veteran Miles Vining of Indiana. Both Maziarka and Vining are Afghanistan War veterans; Maziarka having served in the U.S. Army and Vining in the Marines.
Last week they were joined by Maziarka’s dad and his sister Kristen of California.
“Props to them for coming out and enjoying a beautiful section of trail in the Mecan River segment of the Ice Age Trail,” Mike Maziarka said. “Beautiful fields of wildflowers and raspberry bushes in the early stages of ripening.”
Jim Maziarka said, “It was a great day for a hike. I felt privileged to join and support them in this effort.”
The entire family gathered for swimming and and a cookout at Devil’s Lake on July 3 as the hikers made their way to them. Maziarka’s nephew, Bowen LeMay of West Bend, proudly donned a Warrior Hike uniform complete with hiking poles. The men were well-fed and -watered as they enjoyed the support of family members and a cool dip in the lake.
The hikers have surpassed the 600-mile mark with another 500-plus to go. They recently passed the Madison area on the trail.
Maziarka said most of the people he and Vining have come across on the trail are unaware that the Ice Age Trail is more than 1,000 miles long. He said they “wonder where the trail could possibly go” throughout Wisconsin. He and Vining spend time educating people about the trail and what a “through hike” means; essentially, hiking a long-distance trail from beginning to end.
The men will finish the trek Aug. 6 in Sturgeon Bay after passing through Fort Atkinson, West Bend and Two Rivers.
The Warrior Hike is a program designed to help combat veterans transition from their military service.