Our Stories

Susanne Klein: NCT Long Distance Hiker

Categories: Hiking Stories


Susanne Klein

Warren, PA
Central patch + Pennsylvania and 1,000-Mile rockers
Compiled by Joan Young

Provided by Susanne Klein

I moved to Pennsylvania from California at the end of 2013. I belonged to hiking groups that would conquer different mountains. There was always a different challenge and different views. Even though I continued to hike when I arrived in Pennsylvania, it was always the same trails, and even though some were tough and beautiful, it was never very challenging for me. At the end of December 2014, I was handed the North Country Trail brochure, and this changed my East Coast experience tremendously. My friends would sometimes jump on my hiking adventures, and the hikes would always end up at a local brewery, winery or restaurant. The food would taste amazing after the hikes.

In my first thousand miles, I’ve seen less-traveled parts of the states; I have hiked in New York, Ohio, Michigan (both Lower and Upper), and Wisconsin. Last year my goal was to finish Pennsylvania. This year, with my newfound hiking buddies, our goal is to start North Dakota, and I am so looking forward to that trip and adventure.

An excerpt from this essay ran in the Spring 2021 issue (40.2) of our quarterly membership magazine, the North Star.

In 2012, a program was developed to provide a modest award and incentive to people who hike a large number of unique miles on the North Country Trail. Many hikers love patches, so a central patch and rockers were designed to give to those people who hike either [at least] one complete NCT state or 1,000 unique miles. In addition, those who complete the entire NCT under muscle power are given a certificate, and an outer rocker. Those who hike (including snowshoeing or skiing) the entire Trail are said to complete an end-to-end (E2E) hike. If some portions are bicycled, an end-to-end trip rocker is awarded.

To date (Spring 2021) 53 people have been recognized as NCT Long Distance Hikers. We know there are other people who qualify for these patches, but have not applied for them. There are currently 19 known E2E hikers. Two people have completed E2E trips.

To see the complete list of NCT Long Distance Hikers and find out how to apply for recognition, visit explorenct.info/NoCoLo. There are also links to known essays, journals, and more by these hikers.