Hike 100 Challenge 2017 on the North Country Trail

Photo submitted to Times Observer Hike 100 participants enjoy the North Country Trail near Henry’s Mills in 2016. (Photo taken by Tina Toole)

In 2016, the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) celebrated the National Park Service Centennial Anniversary with a 100-mile hiking challenge on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST). Over 5,000 people attempted the challenge with nearly 1,500 individuals from 26 states completing it. In 2017, the NCTA will again offer the Hike 100 Challenge with an extra Build It Challenge to celebrate the 4,600 mile National Scenic Trail and the stories of its thousands of volunteers and hikers.

Anyone who hikes 100 miles on the NCNST during calendar year 2017, in aggregate or all at once, will be eligible for a special patch and certificate. In addition, the NCTA will be offering prizes and free resources for those who sign up for the challenge, and a special grand prize drawing for those who complete the Build It Challenge. In the Build It Challenge, participants can complete two simple activities to help spread the word about the NCNST and get more people involved. More information about the challenge and the opportunity sign up is available at www.northcountrytrail.org/hike100challenge.

“We’re blown away by the response to and the stories built by participants in the 2016 Hike 100 Challenge. So many people are getting turned on to the NCNST. I love how people are using the Trail to make their own adventures and create their own stories-and how Hike 100 is making a space for them to do that. We’re excited to continue with a 2017 version, and we can’t wait for more stories to start pouring in,” says NCTA executive director Bruce Matthews.

“p1″>The North Country National Scenic Trail’s superintendent, Mark Weaver, said, “I committed myself to the ’16 challenge, and I must say its benefits cannot be overstated.  You’ll not only see some great scenery whether you’re out on the plains of North Dakota, the shores of Lake Superior or the Adirondack Mountains, you’ll also come back a little healthier, a little stronger and a little clearer of mind.  I’m ready to hit the trail in ’17 for my second 100 patch.  I hope you’ll do the same.  Maybe we’ll run into each other out there!”

The local Allegheny National Forest (ANF) Chapter of the NCTA will be conducting monthly hikes to help introduce hikers to the NCT and allow them to complete the “Hike 100” and “Build It” challenges. Hikers will also be given information on completing all 95 miles of the NCT in the ANF to be eligible to get a patch from the AOC. The ANF chapter will schedule their guided hikes over the next few years to encompass all of the NCT trail miles in the ANF.

Guided hikes will be held on Sunday afternoons or Saturday mornings. To carpool, hikers can meet in Warren at the parking lot on PA Ave just east of Warren Tire Center and across from Bradley St. Sunday meet times will be 12:30 PM and Saturdays will have a 10 AM meet time. If it is not convenient to meet in Warren, hikers may meet at the designated trailhead at a time to be announced.

Dates are as follows:  Sunday, March 19, Sunday, April 23, Sunday, May 14, Saturday, June 24, Saturday July 22, Sunday, August 27, Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, Oct 22. Hike locations will be announced closer to the dates in the newspaper, on the ANF NCTA Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ANFChapterNCT/    and on the NCT PA Meet-Up group page, https://www.meetup.com/North-Country-Trail-Hikers-of-PA/.

Questions can be directed to anf@northcountrytrail.org.

The North Country National Scenic Trail is the longest in the National Trails System, stretching 4,600 miles over 7 states from the middle of North Dakota to the Vermont border of New York.

The Trail traverses through a National Grassland, 10 National Forests, more than 150 federal, state and local public lands; near three of the Great Lakes; past countless farmlands; through large cityscapes; over many rivers; and through the famed Allegheny and Adirondack Mountains.