The trail spans 4,800 miles across eight states and took her 18 months to complete, averaging about 15 miles per day.
There's something about nature and the outdoors that heals something within you. Spending time with flowers, streams, the sky, ducks, butterflies and everything that nature encompasses can make you feel truly alive. Joan H. Young from Michigan proved her love for the same. Young, at the age of 75, made history by becoming the first woman to finish the North Country Trail not once but twice. The trail goes through eight states and spans a vast 4,800 miles.
Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota are all part of the trail. Young completed the journey for the first time in 2010, becoming the first woman to do so after slowly covering different sections for 20 years.
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This time, she finished the route in 18 months, averaging about 15 miles per day, reports My Modern Met. The multi-talented author of "The Lonely Donkey" was quoted as saying in an Instagram post, "It never felt all that epic to me. It was a string of hikes. I got to go hiking every day." Few people would attempt this trek twice, but Young has always been inspired by nature and enjoys backpacking with his friends.
"Already, there were so many changes to the route places since when I did them. I knew I wanted to do it again right away," Young told WCNC. "It takes a fair amount of planning to pull off a continuous hike on this trail, I mean, you need to be comfortable in outdoor situations," she added. She is also a budding botanist, so spending time outside inspires her. The North Country Trail is a relatively new trail, having been authorized by Congress in 1980. As a result, Young discovered differences the second time she attempted it.
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"This particular accomplishment is in a category all by itself," said Chris Loudenslager, National Park Service superintendent of the NCNST. "The whole notion that someone wanted to do it a second time, I think that’s unprecedented." WCNC also reports that Young's interest in backpacking began after her children had grown up.
"I was very interested in the outdoors as a child, I belonged to Girl Scouts, I lived in the country and really enjoyed doing outdoor activities. My best friend and I decided that we would try some backpacking, and see if we still liked it. So we hunted around and found some equipment that was pretty old, but still worked," said Young. "And we did a three-day trip backpacking trip on the North Country Trail, which I had recently discovered. And we decided we still like that activity a lot. So we began doing a hike every summer. And it took about three years before I decided that I really wanted to hike the whole North Country trail," she added.
"And we did a three-day trip backpacking trip on the North Country Trail, which I had recently discovered. And we decided we still like that activity a lot. So we began doing a hike every summer. And it took about three years before I decided that I really wanted to hike the whole North Country trail," she added.
Despite health setbacks, Young wasn't discouraged. "I hiked my last six miles into Timber Creek on June 18th. So it was 18 months and 18 days," Young shared. while what goes through her mind during a trial, she says, "I play silly games with myself, I sing songs, I'm an amateur botanist, and I look at the plants all the time. I think about how the trail has changed, and sometimes about the people who have really made a difference for this trail. I mean, everyone who has hiked significant portions of it has left a bit of an impact."