Chisholm Trail – Odyssey 2023, Hike On

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The old Chisholm (cattle drive) Trail came into prominence shortly after the Civil War. Wild, unbranded (longhorn) cattle were abundant all across Texas. There, and at that time, they often brought less than $2.00 a head. But in Kansas, they’d sell for upwards of $40.00 a head! Problem was—getting the cattle from Texas to Kansas! Thus, along came the cattle drives. In less than two decades (1867-1884) tens-of-thousands of Texas longhorn cattle were herded up, then drive up the Chisholm Trail to railheads in Kansas. But that was all short-lived. The trail’s demise soon came about due to the extension of railroads and westward expansion/homesteading (fences).

Ahh, and although having such a short lifespan, the coming about of that old trail spawned an entire culture, literally a way of life. For it was there that America’s love affair with the wild, wild, west began. The cowboy (cow boy!), that romantic, rugged lifestyle, it all started on the Chisholm Trail—and as they say, “The rest is history.”

And what’s going on here with Nimblewill? Didn’t he say, after completing his Route 66 trek back in 2017, that was his last hike? Then in 2021, after finishing his Bama2Baxter trek, didn’t he say that was his last, last hike? So now, here we go again, is this Nimblewill’s last, last, last hike? Yes, true! Here’s what’s happening:

First of all, shortly after Odyssey 2021 was completed, Nimblewill received a message from Bart Smith asking if he’d like to go on a hike through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, along the old Chisholm Trail. A bit of backfill here. Bart has not only hiked all 11 National Scenic Trails, but he’s also done our 19 National Historic Trails as well, all 30 trails. Now, with the Chisholm Trail slated to become America’s next National Historic Trail, we’ll, Bart’s just got to go hike it! Anyway, Bart & Nimblewill have hike many-a-mile together, soooo…

And second, the old Nomad has crisscrossed the old west on foot, up, down; back and forth. He was raised around cowboys, his memory is of those times, the nostalgic old black & white western movies, where the stagecoach wheels always turned backwards. Well, and again, sooo…

Oh, hey, and to top it all off, Barry Riddle will once more be providing support, just like he did during Odysseys 2017 & 2021! Again, sooo…

Anyway, won’t you come join Bart & Nimblewill? You can follow along day-to-day right here (daily journal entries & photos)! This Odyssey 2023, Hike On, the old Chisholm Trail, Nimblewill’s last, last, last hike, is destined to become another excitement filled adventure…

Locations of interest

  • Texas
    • Menger Hotel. San Antonio, across from the Alamo. 
    • New Braunfels.  Trail crosses Guadalupe River.
    • Austin, crossing Colorado River, Capital building not far from trail.
    • Round Rock, landmark, Chisholm Trail Crossing Park.
    • Salado.  Water source along the CT and Stage Coach Inn.
    • Waco.  Suspension Bridge built in 1870 crossing the Brazos River.
    • Clifton.
    • Fort Worth.  Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.
    • Bowie. Red River Station, Chisholm Trail Memorial Park.
  • Oklahoma:
    • Red River Crossing.
    • Monument Hill. Has many trail ruts. 
    • Duncan.  Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, ruts still visible in town.
    • Silver City Cemetery,  All that is left of the town that was built in part to support the Chisholm Trail on the banks of the Canadian River.
    • Yukon. Site of water spring cow camp and today Chisholm Trail Park.
    • Hennessey.  Baker’s Ranch Station.
    • Enid.  Government Springs Park.
  • Kansas:
    • Caldwell.  Ghost Riders Silhouettes, Border Queen museum.
    • Wichita.  Old Cowtown Museum.
    • Newton.  “known as bloody and lawless, the wickedest city in the West” Kauffman Museum. 
    • Abilene.  Location where cattle were transferred on to rail cars and sent to the East Coast markets.  The end of the line for the Chisholm Trail.

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