Ten thousand years in the making
Area writers publish ‘Adventures on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail’
For Hub City Times
Two area writers have collaborated to produce a book about their experiences walking Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail, a 1,000-mile footpath that traverses the state from St. Croix Falls in the west to Sturgeon Bay in the east. The trail, one of eight National Scenic Trails, was envisioned as a greenway to provide recreation for the state’s residents and visitors, while tracing the edges of the final glaciation in Wisconsin more than 10,000 years ago.
“Sylvia (Oberle) and I met through a poetry group in Marshfield when I was editing Central Wisconsin Boomers & Beyond magazine,” said Kristine Rued-Clark, who was intrigued by Oberle’s accounts of walking on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail.
“I wanted to write an article about Sylvia and the trail,” added Rued-Clark. “Sylvia told me that if I wanted to write about the trail, I really needed to experience it.”
After walking a short segment together — the Eau Claire Dells Segment in Marathon County — Rued-Clark volunteered to continue walking with Oberle, and they began walking partial segments of the trail every month or so.
“At first I was just walking with Sylvia to help her reach her goal. Once I’d walked across all of Taylor County, I decided I could walk the entire trail, too,” said Rued-Clark. Generally the two walked five to seven miles at a time. Oberle’s husband Gene acted as their driver and coach, planning each day’s hike and logging their miles. “He always insisted on buying us dinner on the way home,” added Rued-Clark.
Shortly after his 80th birthday, Gene suffered a heart attack and, due to complications from diabetes, endured dialysis treatments three times a week, yet he continued to drive, coach the trail-walkers, and log miles. He passed away in May 2010, and a month later the Oberles’ daughter Marie succumbed to breast cancer.
Oberle vowed to finish the trail in honor of her late husband and daughter, and walking the trail kept her going through her grief. When she completed the final segment of the trail in October 2011, Oberle wanted to write a book to educate others about this often-undiscovered treasure and to encourage families to begin walking the trail.
The book, “Adventures on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail: Day Hikes, Weekend Jaunts, and Family Vacations,” combines elements of a guide book with personal essays and is illustrated throughout with photographs. Armchair travelers and outdoor enthusiasts get an up close and personal look at the Ice Age Trail.
Oberle and Rued-Clark have highlighted a dozen segments of the trail with a few different suggested options of varying lengths for each segment, and they share their own experiences on these segments. Several poems inspired by the trail are also included.
The annual Hidden Studios Tour — Art along the Ice Age Trail sheds light on the mystery of the creative process of 19 artists in seven studios along the country roads of central Wisconsin from Waupaca to Amherst Junction to Almond. The tour invites visitors into their studios, with many providing demonstrations of their process. Oberle and Rued-Clark will be featured guests of the tour on Oct. 2-4 in the studio-home of jewelry artist Brenda Gingles. Find a list of all artists and a map to the studios at hiddenstudiosarttour.com.
The Marshfield Public Library will host a reading and book signing on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 1-2:30 p.m.