Our Stories

Why Odin Supports the NCT

Categories: Hiking Stories, Minnesota, Support, Volunteer Stories


Odin Wallace first discovered the North Country Trail while exploring Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and Itasca State Park with his family.

Both places became favorite destinations and positive influence for their family. Little did Odin know that one day the community surrounding the NCT would bring healing and hope during a time of need.

Early in 2020, the pandemic forced Odin to abandon his Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hike after just a few hundred miles. He returned home, determined to still do a long hike, but this time on the NCT. When the stay-at-home order lifted, Odin headed out to the NCT. Along the way, volunteers left notes and trail magic, and followed his journey on Facebook.

“Hiking the NCT was so therapeutic for me,” Odin shared. “As a hiker that suffers from physical and mental health issues, the Trail offers a microcosm of the best each state has to offer. All along the Trail, you can experience not only the history of the community but the strength of the inhabitants. Each diverse portion of the Trail offers unique geography and specific individualism to the area. Some states claim they are ‘nice’ but everyone along this trail was exceptional in regards to being an ambassador for their locality. I was received similar to a family member on this entire journey and wanted for nothing. The NCT is and will always remain my favourite trail.”

The community showed up for Odin when he needed it most. After days of torrential rainstorms, a blister on Odin’s foot turned into an infection. He treated the infection, hoping it would heal. Then he tripped and fell while walking on a razor-backed ridge and injured a couple of ribs in the process. Odin let the community know he was looking for an economical place to rest for a few days. The Trail community responded generously by paying for a couple of nights in a hotel and offering rides. One couple even opened their home allowing him to rest longer and for his ribs to heal.

Odin returned to the Trail, but despite the rest, the infection wouldn’t heal. After a visit to a walk-in clinic and more treatment, Odin realized he needed to abandon his hike and head home. Now, months after surgery and recovery, the doctor has given Odin the thumbs up to return hiking. He plans in the future to head back to thru-hike Appalachian Trail and then head to the NCT Terminus in Vermont and hike home to Minnesota. The community will be cheering him on when he does.


The support you provide to the North Country Trail community is absolutely incredible. Whether you give monthly or annually, through membership or trail protection, through advocacy efforts or trail building, your actions are so appreciated by many. We will do our best to keep the Trail’s tread and status in top-notch condition, and to keep the Association’s programs like the Hike 100 Challenge running and improving. Thank you for choosing the North Country Trail and the North Country Trail Association.