New Year’s Fun in North Dakota

hiking in north dakota

The Dakota Prairie Chapter (DPC) in North Dakota, kicked off the New Year with a weekend-long hiking adventure. As they said “goodbye” to 2016, they rang in 2017 and got a jump start on their Hike100 Challenge for 2017. The Chapter is also hosting a Dakota Challenge where North Dakota members of the NCTA are encouraged to hike all of the NCT in North Dakota over the next 4 years. Follow the North Dakota Chapters of the NCTA on Facebook here. Learn more about the DPC events and contact info here.

Here is a summary of the Dakota Prairie Chapter’s New Year’s weekend activity from Rennae Gruchalla. (photos by Connie Burns)

The Dakota Prairie Chapter sponsored a wonderful week end of hiking and camaraderie at Stiklestad Lodge near Fort Ransom, ND. Our first hike was a night hike on New Years Eve on the ND prairie. Because of the lack of trees, we were able to gaze into the starry sky, featuring a beautiful orange crescent moon. Because we were miles away from the nearest city, the night sky was brilliant! We had 17 hardy hikers on the 2-mile trail that was carved out by the manager of the lodge. We all met in the lodge afterwards to celebrate the NCT with several toasts and goodies.


On January 1st, we were able to record miles on both the Dakota Challenge, and the Hike 100 Challenge as we hiked a good part of the day on the North Country Trail. Several people joined the Stiklestad group to make 21 hikers, plus Sloan the Golden Retriever, and hiked 7 miles on the NCT. We met at Jerry Warner’s home (he led the hike and lives a quarter mile from the trail), and hiked a snowy out and back trail. Eleven hikers decided to continue to hike an additional 4 miles on the trail to make 11 miles, all on the NCT. The evening was wonderful, with a delicious pot luck supper, visiting around a roaring fire in the huge stone fireplace, and several folks taking advantage of the sauna and outdoor hot tub.

From Jerry Warner: “I believe I speak for all when I say I wished we had some nice soft fluffy snow so we could have put snow shoes or skis to use. But the soft snow we had prior to Christmas was beaten down and turned to cement like ice by the 1.5” or so rain we had on Christmas Day. A good portion of the hike was on a very icy surface. Then when the event comes to an end, we have nice fluffy snow again.  But we are hikers, and we will take as it comes.”


The next day we were met with about 6 inches of fresh, fluffy, snow. It was beautiful, but being ND folks, we know what can happen when the wind comes up, so we decided to forgo the Monday hike. When the roads were cleared, we all took off for home.

Even though the weekend was shortened, everyone had a wonderful time of hiking and spending time together. With much encouragement from participants, I have tentatively reserved Stiklestad for same time next year. There will be different hikes, some of which will be on the NCT, so mark your calendars.

Have fun playing and hiking in the outdoors, and remember, it’s not about the temperature, it’s about the clothes you wear.

Learn more about winter safety while participating in outdoor activities.

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