Long Hike: 124,608 Steps In KEEN Durands

Grass and crushed gravel were the mediums. As well as some pavement when the trail connected through small towns.

This week in our ‘1 Million Steps’ project with KEEN and its new Durand boots our hiker hit not deep wilderness but the forests and rolling agricultural landscapes of a “rails to trails” route in rural Minnesota.

KEEN Durand boots photo opp along the Luce Line trail

The goal was to put down some miles. The test hiker, Chuck R. from Minnetonka, Minn., started in the little town of Cosmos and hiked east. Over two days he packed in 59 miles — 124,608 steps — in the KEEN boots.

Though the route, which followed the Luce Line trail, did not have the deep wilderness of other segments in our summer-long test, excitement came a few times along the trail. “A motorcycle buzzed me with its lights off late one night,” Chuck said. The biker was riding illegally on the ped-only path.

Chuck hiked late each night, once encountering a small crowd of bar-goers in a little town as a pub let out. “A few of them walked with me a bit down the trail,” he said. “They seemed quite happy.”

He camped at a halfway point on public land. Chuck grabbed breakfasts at small town cafes, talked to locals, stopped at historical sites, and tramped east on the long, straight trail. Here are a few more images from the Luce Line route.

Heading out onto the Luce Line
Grassy stretches went on for miles
History along the route
A quick rest along the crushed gravel trail

—Follow the GearJunkie crew’s quest this summer to hike 1 million steps in the KEEN Durand boots.

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.