2002-2008: The Nimblewill Nomad’s Great Western Loop (GWL)


gwlmap-smThis page is a “me too” page, pure and simple. Who wouldn’t enjoy a moment or two basking in the light of one of this era’s greatest young long-distance hikers! And that great young fellow is none other than Andrew “Andy” Skurka.

Andy’s latest accomplishment, one in a long string of accomplishments, has come to be known as The Great Western Loop (GWL). How many of us can say, or might possibly ever say, “I did that!” So, now for the record, the old Nomad says, “I did that!”

But, honestly folks, there’s very little to compare other than the name. Andy’s GWL covered 6,875 miles, Nomad‘s only 5,000 and change. And Andy hiked his GWL as a thru-hike. What passes here as Nomad‘s GWL is an amalgamation of sections that comprise four separate treks.

Anyway, Walt Whitman is known to have said: “If you done it, it ain’t bragging.” So, out of great respect and admiration for Andy, here’s Nimblewill Nomad’s GWL.

The Nimblewill Nomad’s GWL Segment Details

Northern Leg – 610 Mile
From: March 29, 2006 – Bridge of the Gods, Cascade Locks, Oregon
To:     April 23, 2006 – Rogers Pass, Montana

**Accomplished during Odyssey 2006: Journey of Discovery, Return: Lewis & Clark National Scenic Trail, Fort Clatsop, Oregon to St. Louis, Missouri

Eastern Leg – 1,947 Miles
From: July 5, 2005 – Dearborn River, near Rogers Pass, Montana
To:     September 3, 2005 – Silverthorne, Colorado (off CDT due to health)
From: August 14, 2007 – Silverthorne, Colorado (returned to finish CDT)
To:     October 2, 2007 – Pie Town, New Mexico

**Accomplished during Odysseys 2005 & 2007: Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Waterton Lakes, Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico

Southern Leg – 652 Miles
From: October 7, 2002 – Pie Town, New Mexico
To:     November 6, 2002 – Campo, California

**Accomplished during Odyssey 2002: From Sea To Shining Sea, Cape Hatteras Light, North Carolina to Point Loma Light, San Diego, California

Western Leg – 2,154 Miles
From: April 23, 2008 – Campo, California
To:     August 24, 2008 – Bridge of the Gods, Cascade Locks, Oregon

**Accomplished during Odyssey 2008: Pacific Crest Trail, Campo, California to the Washington/Canadian border

Total Distance = 5,363 Miles

My Way

Odyssey 2002: From Sea to Shining Sea “Nimblewill’s first Transcontinental Trek”

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On April 11, 2002, Nomad departed from the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, bound for San Diego, California. As he left Cape Hatteras he headed for DC, and from there he went up the Mt. Vernon Trail and connected with the C&O Towpath in Georgetown. He then continued on to Harpers Ferry, winding his way westward.

Nomad reached the beginning of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail Saturday, July 20th at Arrow Rock, Missouri. It took 80 days and nearly 1700 miles to get to that point. Some 40 days and 870 miles later, he stood at the old Mission of San Miguel in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

On Saturday, November 9th, at Old Point Loma Lighthouse, overlooking the Pacific at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, California, Odyssey 2002, “From Sea to Shining Sea” was successfully concluded–a trek that covered 3,524 miles and 159 days.

America the Beautiful


Odyssey 2000-2001: Appalachian Mountain Range

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Well, the old axiom is certainly true—you can take the boy out of the country, and oh yes; you can take him out of the woods, too.  Ahh, but from that day forth and forevermore, is the adventuresome spirit deep in the heart of that lad ever truly far away!  And so it was surely destined to be…that the old Nomad would venture forth again, returning to the country and the woods, back to that mysterious, ever-winding, far-off trail.  For on June 3rdNational Trails Day, even earlier perhaps if the ice goes off the tundra in those mystic, far-away Chic Chocs, will he be standing in the sea at the base of the spectacular Cliffs of Forillon, Cap Gaspé, Quebec Province Canada.   From there will begin an incredible journey: “Odyssey 2000,” a trek o’er the backbone of the entire Appalachian Mountain Range from the Gulf of St. Lawrence where the most-ancient of the Appalachians plunge dramatically to the sea, thence, and from there, way down south to near Porter Gap, where these venerable old mountains spend their winter in Alabama. This trek would be the first recorded southbound thru-hike o’er these ancient and spiritual mountains.

At the end of his intended trek, Nomad learned that he hadn’t actually hiked the entire Appalachian Mountains.  Friends pointed out to him that the Long Range Mountains of Newfoundland are actually a part of the Appalachian Mountain range.  Not being one to leave things undone and itching for new ground to stomp, Nomad later flew to Newfoundland.  He then put a new feather in his cap as the first to hike ALL of the Appalachians, as he completed the journey through the Long Range of Newfoundland.

You Gave Me a Mountain

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