Archived Story

North Country hiker tells story in area [UPDATED]

Published 7:48am Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Updated 9:49am Tuesday, May 27, 2014

For Luke Jordan, a trek of 4,600 miles was just one of the first steps in the larger journey of his life.

Last year, Jordan hiked the entire North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches those 4,600 miles from Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota to Crown Point in eastern New York. He was in Pelican Rapids last week and Fergus Falls on Monday to pass on some of the lessons he learned during his six and a half months on the trail.0523.Luke.Jordan.Trail.Talk.2

“I knew I was going to do something,” Jordan said of his time after graduating from St. Cloud State, where he studied ecology and natural resources. “I wanted some adventure after college.”

That search for adventure led Jordan, then 23, to the nearest end of the trail in North Dakota. The southern Minnesota native started his journey battling through snow and cold temperatures. Passing through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, the excruciating hike took its toll physically and mentally. Slowed down by tired legs, heat and mosquitoes as he made his way past the halfway point of the trip, Jordan persevered, using stops in towns along the way to spread awareness for the trail, a resource he found many people didn’t know they had so close to home.

But with all he put into the hike, he received just as much.

“For most hikers it’s a life changing experience,” he said. “I certainly grew. Not being around people allowed me to know myself better.”

Jordan stays dedicated to promoting the trail’s upkeep and use, along with the activity of hiking.

Speaking to groups of boy scouts in Fergus Falls Monday evening, he not only shared his experience on the trail but also current updates on the trail and its future. Jordan works with the North Country Trail Association and is still active in its planning and promoting its use. The trail comes through Otter Tail County as it stretches through Maplewood State Park, connecting the area to the rest of the north region of the country.

While using the trail doesn’t have to alway have to be something life altering, Jordan said the recreational opportunity for those close to the trail can be just as rewarding.

“It allows people to get in touch with nature, which is harder and harder to do these days,” Jordan said. “It gives access to places you wouldn’t normally be able to go.”

For more information on Jordan’s future speaking engagements in the area and to schedule him to present for a group, contact Ron Spangler at 218-205-8652 or or Allan Schroden at or 218-736-4280.

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