Our Stories

Hiking all of the North Country Trail in Pennsylvania: Kenneth Holst

Categories: Hiking Stories, Pennsylvania

Fewer than 20 people have completed the entire North Country Trail. But every year, many hikers challenge themselves to attempt longer and longer distances on the NCT, many of them checking off new-to-them sections, accumulating more and more unique miles. Check out our Long Distance Hiking Page for details on our Long Distance Hiking Recognition program. 

Kenneth Holst shares his journey of hiking all the North Country Trail miles in Pennsylvania.

It all started with a 7-mile hike:

I decided to start hiking at the age of 54. Why? Because I’m not getting any younger. But as a kid I loved being in the outdoors and exploring. I was in Boy Scouts. I loved hiking and camping.

But when I got older I just lost interest. Too many other things to do. I was raised in Texas then moved to PA about 20 years ago. A friend introduced me to the North Country Trail in Pennsylvania.

My son and I took a 7 mile hike from the Ohio/Pennsylvania line and that’s when I decided to start hiking more.

I found the NCTA Wampum Chapter and joined. I don’t do a lot of trail work, but I support all the men and women who do. Without them there would be no trail. Thanks.

I bought the maps for Pennsylvania and started planning my attack on the trail. I hiked all the off-road stuff up to Hwy 80. Then I started hiking from the New York State line south. Trying to make those overnight hikes because of the travel from Southwest PA to North PA.

In January 2017, I decided to do all the road hikes. Miles were adding up.

Before I knew it I had one hike overnight left to do. My last hike was from Henry Mills to Kelletville, 28 miles.

265 miles completed in PA. Woot. Some of it twice.

Someone asked me what my favorite hike was. My answer. Every inch of it.