Today: Luke Jordan, who in 2013 became the fourth person to successfully thru-hike the North Country National Scenic Trail: 4,600 miles over 201 days. Jordan, aka Strider on the trail, grew up in central Minnesota and graduated from St. Cloud State University. He also thru-hiked the Great Plains Trail — a 2,200 miles path-in-progress from Texas to Canada, in 2016. Jordan will speak about both experiences at the Midwest Mountaineering spring expo April 26-28 in Minneapolis. 

Reading

“Thousand-Miler” by Melanie Radzicki McManus. It chronicles a journey over the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. I don’t get as much time for reading these days as I would like, but a few friends suggested it, so they loaned it to me. Much like my own book (“Thru and Back Again”), it is a personal story about real people. That’s the kind of story I enjoy most.

Following

I am deeply involved with the progress and development on the Great Plains Trail Alliance. I serve as a member of the board of directors and enjoy applying some of my existing trail knowledge to situations. It’s been a really fun and worthy project to be a part of and watch evolve over the last three years. The alliance has seen some tremendous successes in recent years in advocacy, fundraising and development. In 2018, the first official segment of the Great Plains Trail was opened with a ribbon-cutting event at Toadstool Park in the Oglala National Grassland in northwest Nebraska. Earlier that year, we had a guided hike with new partner organizations on a future segment of the trail in the Nebraska National Forest. The word continues to spread, with myself and other members of the board giving presentations to communities near the trail and at outdoors conferences.

Listening

While not related to hiking or traveling, I enjoy my weekly dose of the “Rooster Teeth” podcast. Though it is simple and involves nothing but four people sitting on a sofa chatting about anything and everything, it is immensely entertaining.

Doing

I am (really always) in travel and planning mode. I’m currently finalizing the plans for my upcoming journey on Route 66. The storied route is about 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica and considered the “mother road” of America. With its delisting in 1985 and some portions of the original route not replaced by interstates, some of the iconic places found alongside it are in danger of being lost.

This May I’ll be taking a three-week road trip to fully experience America’s “main street” while I still can, including visits to many of the national park sites close to the route. Additionally, I have some thru-hikes in my future, and I’ve been picking away at planning logistics and timing for those adventures. I hope to complete the Pacific Northwest Trail (1,200 miles from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean) in 2020.