Backpacker Radio 72 | Luke “Strider” Jordan on the North Country Trail & Great Plains Trail

Today we are joined by Luke “Strider” Jordan.  Strider has a couple of very impressive treks on his resume, including the North Country Trail, which is more than twice the length of the Appalachian Trail, as well as the 3,100-mile Great Plains Trail, which runs from Texas to North Dakota.  We also discover the wild world of naked pooping, a fan-submitted poop paradise on the John Muir Trail, and another edition of Backcountry Matchmaking.

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00:02:00 – Gardening Updates!

00:04:18 – QOTD: What is the proper poop dress code?

00:10:00 – BPR Merch!

00:12:11 – Intro to Strider (Has hiked the North Country Trail and the Great Plains Trail)

00:12:47 – Where does your interest in backpacking come from?

00:17:30 – Did you have any mentors that told you how crazy it was to start with the NCT?

00:19:24 – How road walks affect the NCT.

00:20:40 – Where the NCT goes!

00:21:30 – Mosquitoes in the upper peninsula

00:27:09 – Support for the North Dakota section

00:30:15 – Inspiration from Andrew Skurka and Nimblewill Nomad

00:31:15 – “We Build Trail in Low Places” – NCT music video on vimeo

00:32:59 – Did Strider meet all 8 people who live in North Dakota?

00:34:40 – Is Strider affiliated with the NCT?

00:36:15 – How big is the nonprofit team at the NCT?

00:38:08 – Plans to move the road walks to trail?

00:41:40 – Snow in Minnesota

00:49:39 – Patent Pending: A Dinner Knife that Attaches to Your Shoe to Make Ice Skates

00:58:18 – Any issues with deer ticks/ticks in general?

01:02:45 – What’s it like having celebrity status as a thru-hiker on a less-traveled trail?

01:07:30 – Ohio and the Buckeye Trail

01:15:00 – Blazes in the NCT Backcountry

01:17:13 – Hiking with maps instead of a smart phone

01:17:40 – How many people have thru-hiked the NCT?

01:19:00 – Stopping his trans-Ozark trail

01:22:00 – Hundreds of tiny ticks in Strider’s ankles

01:28:11 – How is New York?

01:31:30 – Could you do the Finger Lakes section as a wine hike?

01:40:08 – Strider met Ron Strickland

01:44:00 – James Lunning did five scenic trails back to back

01:46:10 – Is Strider the only person to have thru-hiked the Great Plains Trail?

01:54:00 – Starting in the desert was a new experience

01:57:30 – You need a support crew to get through New Mexico

01:59:00 – What is there to look forward to walking through Kansas?

02:00:00 – What is the wind like?

02:06:00 – Have you done the cave tours in Wind Cave National Park?

02:23:30 – If you want ______ you should hike the Great Plains Trail

02:25:00 – Where should people go to help out with the NCT or GPT?


Trek Propaganda:

Pupdate: Harper is Huge and Misbehaving

Triple Crown of Things That Make You Uneasy (?)

Mail Bag!

5 Star Review

Backcountry Matchmaking:

  • Jeff aka “Chef Boy R.D.”: @Pieceof_jake
  • Kate “Stickerz”: @katieb3th11
  • Buckeye: @therealjyoungs

Buy Chaunce’s book!

Find Strider on Facebook: @StriderNCT



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Comments 2

  • Clay Bonnyman Evans : Jun 14th

    Fascinating episode. I’ve heard Strider’s story before, but thanks to BR for giving him a lot of room to really describe his unusual hiking experiences.

    I confess I could have done without the “tick ankle” anecdote, which will live on in my nightmares in perpetuity. Brrrrr!

    Finally, re Lyme disease: Zach is right that symptoms mimic much of the overall fatigue of long-distance hiking, but there is a crucial difference: Hiking won’t give you a fever, but Lyme will.

    I was absolutely destroyed by Lyme in Pennsylvania. I could barely drag myself 5 or 6 miles to the next shelter, and was either shivering violently or feeling like I was on fire. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I was too dumb to realize what the problem was until a local weekend hiker mentioned the possibility of Lyme and gave me a ride to a doc-in-a-box, which wouldn’t treat me because my temp was 103; I had to go to a hospital.

    Because a blood test will not show antibodies for the Lyme spirochete (Borrelia bacterium) for at least 4 to 6 weeks, the doc at the hospital provisionally diagnosed me based on a) symptoms (including that all-important fever), b) circumstances (living in the woods) and c) a red area that wasn’t a bullseye, but might have been the result of a tick bite (studies show that 20-30 percent of people will *not* get erythema migrans, the characteristic rash). Luckily, the cure is a course of basic antibiotics, so docs in Lyme country don’t hesitate to prescribe based on provisional diagnosis, with the advice that you get checked later for the antibody.

    Re wildlife on the Great Plains Trail in Nebraska and South Dakota: Bison! Pronghorn. Eagles galore. Frogs, snakes and lizards.


  • Chris : Jun 29th

    This might be my favorite episode ever! Thanks for the huge amount of time devoted to Strider and the NCT! It seems like 90% of BPR is all about Triple Crown stuff, which is awesome, yeah, but the NCT is amazing in a whole different way. I may be biased, since I live in an NCT trail town in the UP, but I think this was hands-down the most interesting interview I’ve heard yet! Thanks for doing this and your podcast is incredible! I’ll stop leaving comments about how you guys need to cover the NCT all over your comments. Also talking to Akuna about his plans was cool too. Hope he gets to do it next year. I’ll buy him a beer at once of our awesome breweries when he rolls through. Also poop stories.


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