Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Dog Team

Teddy Keizer called me last night. Who? Keizer is a total stranger, some guy from Portland, OR, whom I've never met. He got my name and phone number through some labyrinthine network of connections relating to the Ice Age Trail.
Keizer called me about a month ago wanting to know about "the best 30-mile sections of trail" in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. He said he plans to hike 30-mile sections of trail in all 50 states in honor of Bob Marshall, ecologist, forester and founder of the Wilderness Society. He starts in September and plans to complete the feat in 76 days.
I told him the only 30-mile hiking trail option in Illinois is the River to River trail and the best trail in Minnesota is the Superior Hiking Trail (ranked the second best long-distance trail in the U.S. in a Backpacker magazine survey; first place went to the Wonderland Trail). I debated at length about the best 30-mile segment of trail in Wisconsin because, thanks to my volunteer involvement with the Ice Age Trail, I have seen many quality segments. There is also a noteworthy section of the North Country Trail in Wisconsin that I've read about (and even have the maps for), but have yet to hike.

Keizer said he chose, upon my suggestion, a section of the Ice Age Trail in the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest, and wanted information about maps. I agreed to copy and send him pages from the Ice Age Trail atlas, along with a description from the IAT Companion Guide. Keizer said he would chronicle his journey at www.thedogteam.com and that I would be welcome to join him when he comes to Wisconsin. Portions of his journey are being filmed and will be in a three episode special on the Outdoor Life Network.

Our conversation was brief -- less than 10 minutes -- so I never got to ask him what trails he chose for Illinois and Minnesota. I'm also curious to know what 30-mile sections of trail he plans to hike in Delaware and Rhode Island.