87-Year-Old Walks 320-Mile Rock River Trail

Oct 22, 2019

The first person to walk the entire Rock River Trail ended his hike on Tuesday in the Quad Cities. 87-year-old Lyle Lidholm walked more than 300 miles from Horicon, Wisconsin to Rock Island.

Zach Wilson has more.

After 320 miles, Lidholm has walked his way home. The Moline-born Korean War veteran began his hike on September 1 and averaged just over six miles per day.

Lidholm, who has lived in Wisconsin since he was four years old, says he met plenty of people along the way who offered him money, a meal, or a ride.

"One guy ran a sporting goods shop, and he looked at my boots and realized they had a little wear on them. So, he went in the back room and brought out a pair of boots worth 150 bucks and gave them to me."

Lidholm with a map of the trail.
Credit Therese Oldenburg

He first started hiking as a boy scout in 1944, but he didn't hike long distances until he retired in 1997. In 2000, he attempted to hike the 2,200-mile Appalachian trail, but ended his journey after 800 miles due to breaking his foot. A decade later, he successfully hiked the 1,200-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin: during the winter.

Comparatively, Lidholm says, this hike has been much easier. 

"The only thing was, I was held up by a nasty dog for about 15 minutes, then there was rain, and I made a few wrong turns. But, other than that, it's been pretty smooth."

He says he doesn't feel any aches or pains at the end of his trek. When asked whether this would be the last one, he left it open-ended.

"Oh, I'm a dreamer. So, we'll finish this one, and then we'll see."

If he is still in good physical shape, Lidholm says he would love to conquer the 300 miles between the Irish Sea and the English Channel.