Our Stories

Andrew Turner: NCNST Long Distance Hiker

Categories: Hiking Stories


Andrew Turner

Bellaire, Mich.
Central patch + Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Mackinac Bridge, 1000 Miles, 2000 miles, and 3000 miles

Photo by Angie

This is how I spend my vacation time, chipping off unique miles with the goal of full completion in the distant future. Maybe it has become an obsession at this point, but what an adventure it has been hiking along the North Country Trail! Sometimes I was day hiking, many were multi-day solo backpacking trips, and there have been a few semi-supported, long-distance hikes with the help of my family. As the year 2021 comes to close, I have now hiked in six out of the eight states this trail traverses and have completed three* states. That means it is finally time to submit for my entry into this club. Of the unique miles, 100% have been completed in an east-to-west direction, but there has been some overlap backtracking depending on my transportation arrangements for the specific segment of trail.

*As of 2023, Andrew has now completed four NCNST states.

The pure challenge and varied experiences were the biggest draws when it came to seeking out such a long-distance trail to tackle. Without the circumstances to allow me to complete a single season thru-hike, long distance section hiking is the second-best option. The North Country Trail is local to my area, crosses roads many times within 30 minutes, so the accessibility factor at first was a huge burden lifted when comparing it to other National Scenic Trails of interest. With the distance to the trailhead increasing more with each trip, the on-foot trail mileage on each trip has been increasing to make the travel time worthwhile.

I look forward to 2022 and beyond, which will likely include more Minnesota miles and even more of the Finger Lakes Trail section in New York. Maybe I can even knock out the Vermont miles, if I am lucky. At this time, I do not have much more to say other than to extend my gratitude to the volunteers who make this trail what it is and who keep the trail maintained to allow for me to continue my journey. We need more people like that, thank you.

Learn more about long distance hiker recognition at explorenct.info/NoCoLo/index.htm.