The Nomad carries a small digital camera (see Gear List) with him to capture the people, places and breathtaking scenery found along the trail. Every couple of weeks he sends home his camera media card so online photo albums and videos can be created to share with you. Be sure to check back often to view these images and experience the journey through his eyes.
Nimblewill Nomad – Odyssey 2013: GAL (Part 1)
April 20, from Hachita, New Mexico to May 9, Sheffield Exit 325, Texas
Another year, another odyssey, but not just any odyssey. This year the Nimblewill Nomad is spending near 80 days, and 1,555 miles, entirely road-walking. This hike will connect the Continental Divide Trail to the Florida Trail, closing the entire southern side of a four sided, all four corner, amalgamation of trails/hikes that he has coined the “Great American Loop”, or GAL for short.
Starting out in Hachita, New Mexico, trekking a bit east to find the recently moved/current location of the now Continental Divide Trail, he heads out along I-10 toward Columbus, then on to the Texas state line. Once in Texas, he makes his way through San Jose, Fabeus, Fort Hancock, Arroyo Macho, Sierra Blanca, Van Horn, Kent, Sotol Hill, Balmorhea, Fort Stockton, Bakersfield, and heading for Ozona.
The desert offers its own special challenges, dealing with long intervals between water sources, extreme heat building up on the tarmac during the days, and the endless horizons that all look the same for days on end. The Nomad works to keep his spirits up, which is made a bit easier by the kind folks he meets along the way, those who anonymously pay for a meal, those who drive ahead and stash water for him at specific exits, those who follow his journals on his website and then drive out to hunt him down to take him food and water, or to offer him a nights shelter in their homes, and so many other kindnesses. He calls it “trail magic”, and it seems to follow him wherever he goes.
Nimblewill Nomad – Odyssey 2013: GAL (Part 2)
May 14, from west of Junction, Texas to May 26, Eagle Lake, Texas
The Nomad begins this video segment just west of Junction, a third of the way through the GAL, and yet not halfway across Texas, reciting the words to the song “Cool Water”, written by Bob Nolan in 1936 and recorded by the Sons of the Pioneers in 1947. On down the road he then gives us a birds-eye view of how intense the roadwalk can be when the shoulder narrows along US-290.
A little further along, standing outside the Texas State Capital, in Austin, the Nomad shares a look at the beautiful grounds and building, then moves inside to the rotunda to give us some architectural images. And as he moves yet further down the highway, he spans a bridge to cross the Colorado River for the third, and final, time this roadwalk, as it takes him into the town of La Grange, Texas.
Finally, a peaceful beginning to a Sunday morning, on Hwy 102, heading toward Eagle Lake. No noise, no wind, and lots of birds singing their early morning songs. In the calm and peace of his surroundings, to bring this segment to a close, the Nimblewill Nomad pauses in this serene setting to recite one of his poems, “A Path by the Side of the Road”.
Nimblewill Nomad – Odyssey 2013: GAL (Part 3)
May 30, from Gulf of Mexico, San Luis Pass, Texas to May 31, Galveston, Texas
The Nomad begins this segment arriving the Gulf of Mexico, The wind is strong this day and it’s hard to hear what he’s saying, but he shares with us his first views of the Gulf. At one point he pauses to question a Freeport City Limit sign, population 12,708, yet the sign is on a pole back-to-back, one side says “Entering”, the other side says “Leaving”? More video of the beach area, with the Gulf waters rolling in to shore, as he moves on down the road to cross the San Luis Pass, where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Intercoastal waterway.
The next day brings the Nomad to Galveston, again with lots of wind noise, and waves crashing into the shoreline, it is hard to hear everything he has to say, but the images pretty well speak for themselves.
Nimblewill Nomad – Odyssey 2013: GAL (Part 4)
June 3, from Bolivar Peninsula, Texas to June 8, Algiers, Louisiana
This video segment begins on an Intercoastal Waterways Bridge at the northern end of the Bolivar Peninsula, in the Gulf of New Mexico, heading toward High Island, Texas. A young man from New York flew to Texas to meet up with the Nomad, to spend a couple of days with him on the trail.
The Nomad finally gets out of Texas and pauses to give us a peaceful view of the ridge area, known as Grand Chenier, in Louisiana. A little further along he stands on a bridge at the Superior Canal, waiting for a tug to cross, until the bridge closes and he can be on his way again. Back on the highway emergency lanes, the Nomad is now traveling US 90 through Baldwin, Idlewild, crossing the Atchafalaya River Bridge, and then on to Morgan City. This video ends as the Nomad boards the Canal Street/Algiers Ferry, in Algiers, Louisiana, to cross the Mississippi River, bound for downtown New Orleans.
Nimblewill Nomad – Odyssey 2013: GAL (Part 5)
June 19, from just past New Orleans, Louisiana to June 23, Alabama State Line
This video segment begins just past New Orleans. Although the Nomad arrived New Orleans on June 17th, he didn’t take any pictures during that time as he was a bit dazed from his brush with the law (read about it in his journal). However, a bit more composed by the 19th, he again begins sharing glimpses of his travels with his camera. Here we see him standing on a bridge spanning the Intercoastal Canal in Louisiana, as he spends his last day hiking in that state. Next he stands in the middle of the Pearl River Bridge, where the Louisiana/Mississippi State Lines meet, and with one step, he has put yet another state behind him on this journey. A little further along, another bridge, this one spanning St. Louis Bay, and then on down the road to beautiful Christian Beach, in Mississippi. Yet another bridge, Memorial Bridge, spanning Biloxi Bay. The next bridge he passes over might be less spectacular in stature, but the air boat tour going on below provides great delight for the Nomad. And finally, putting yet another state behind him, the Nomad takes that last step on the state line, to pass from Mississippi into Alabama.
Nimblewill Nomad – Odyssey 2013: GAL (Part 6)
June 25, from Mobile, Alabama to June 28, East of Milton, Florida
This video segment consists of the last few days on the trail for Odyssey 2013. Starting out in Mobile, Alabama, crossing a bridge where the Alabama/Florida State Lines meet, passing through Milton, Florida, the Nimblewill Nomad is but a few short miles from his goal, as he treks eastward away from Milton, to the Intersect of US Hwy 90 and State Road 87 where (in the year 2000) he made the turn to head to Key West, as he hiked the Florida National Scenic Trail. At this intersection again, and at this time, he has successfully connected his hike in Florida to the Continental Divide hike, completing the Southern Leg of the GAL. On this date, June 28, at 9:30 a.m., the Nomad then concluded, completed, and connected the Great American Loop!
God Bless the USA