Odyssey 2015: California National Historic Trail (CNHT)

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map-californiatrail-largeFrom Sea to Shining Sea, from Atlantic to Pacific; undoubtedly, America would not exist as the nation we know today had it not been for the indomitable courage and will of our emigrant pioneers–those brave souls who toiled (and died) plying the Oregon and California Trails. They went west in the l840s and ‘50s in countless thousands; they settled the west. And in so doing, Manifest Destiny, man’s last best hope, became reality–these blessed United States of America.

“Born a hundred years too late.” Ah yes, a common lament we’ve all heard from family and friends. But how about 150 or 200!

Comes now the old Nimblewill Nomad.  Had he been around 200 years ago, he’d most certainly have become a member of the Corps of Discovery. Did his best though, considering how time works. In 2004, lagging a bit behind, (yet 200 years to the day), Nimblewill began his outbound journey with Lewis and Clark. And in 2006, again 200 years to the day (and exact hour), the old Nomad commenced his return.

150 or so years ago? Well, Nimblewill no doubt would have joined that legion of restless souls, those pioneers that journeyed ever west o’er the Oregon Trail. Ah, but last year, lagging behind again just the least, he followed in their footsteps, in their shadow.

So now, for Odyssey 2015, to return again to that eventful time in American History, Nimblewill Nomad will journey west once more, with the pioneers–o’er the California Trail.

On this journey, Nimblewill will have company, real-time company–another misplaced soul (misplaced in time), a hiker trash friend, Bart Smith. Since they’ve both trekked the Oregon Trail (which follows the same track as the California Trail to Parting of the Ways, Raft River, Idaho), they’ll return once more to Parting of the Ways, from there to continue their respective journeys, this time along the California Trail–to Sutter’s Fort, Sacramento.

california_historic_trail_auto_tour_road_markerOdyssey 2015 began on May 28th. This trek, across Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and California, will no doubt prove adventuresome, packed full with the spirit of both past and present. So, why not join Nimblewill and Bart as they journey back in time, to complete their respective treks o’er the California National Historic Trail!

2014-nn-businesscard-imageNimblewill Nomad with his great, great grandfather (lad in the wagon)
On the California Trail

HOW THE WEST WAS WON [12-99]

I yearn for the days of the dust-blown haze,
When the West was an infant child.
When the brave, the few, joined lots and threw
Their cares to the wind and the wild.

Through bone-weary pain, through mud and rain,
They traveled, a-trustin’ God.
As dear-loved kin and many a friend
Were set to rest in the sod.

“On to Californ’”, “On to Oregon,”
Through ruts worn weary and long.
‘cross rivers deep, scant rest or sleep,
Passed this destined, fateful throng.

On mules, in prairie schooners;
On buckboards ‘n walkin’ tall;
Through Indian lands, their fate in the hands
Of the wagonmaster’s call.

Through prairie grass, up mountain pass,
They journed toward the Promised Land.
‘n along the way, set adrift, they lay
Their past in the shifting sand.

No turning back, thru rut and track,
The wagon trains moved on,
Toward the western sky, with dream-filled eye,
On the trail to a brand new dawn.

Yet to this day, do the brave there stay!
Born new from the pioneer age.
A dream fulfilled, as God had willed,
Past the land of the purple sage.

And oh what I’d give to have journed…’n lived
On that trail with those brave and strong.
Now history, times wild and free,
For those days do I yearn and long.

Ahh!

Those were the days, e’er time-dimmed haze,
When the West was an infant child.
When the brave, the few, joined lots and threw
Their cares to the wind and the wild.

[N. Nomad]

Beyond

COPYRIGHT © 2005, 2014 by N. NOMAD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Odyssey 2014: Oregon National Historic Trail (ONHT)

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map-oregontrail-large

oreg_logoNimblewill had long pondered concluding his long-distance hiking “career” with the past-year’s journey, Odyssey 2013. However, after much encouragement from family, friends, and fellow intrepid (and with the Lord’s continued blessings–good health, stamina, and resolve) he’s decided to keep trekking on.

covered_wagon_horses_lg_nwmAnd so, for Odyssey 2014, he took another journey back through time, as he thru-hiked one of the greatest trails in the annals of American history, the Oregon National Historic Trail.

And that trail? Well, first there were game traces, then Indian trails. Then came the mountain men, the trappers, the missionaries, and finally the pioneers.  From the 1840s through the 1850s, over three-hundred thousand emigrants wearied their way from Independence, Missouri, to the great valley of the Willamette, in the Oregon Territory.

In addition to Missouri and Oregon, the trail passes through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho, a distance of some 2,200 miles. From the Midwest to the Far West, its deep, furrowed ruts epitomize the pioneering spirit. To the eye, the tracks appear hollow, yet to Nimblewill they are known to be filled with romance and adventure, sorrow and joy, triumph and tragedy–transcending time. In many places those old ruts still mark the land and can be walked today, as did the pioneers nearly 200 years ago.

Nimblewill plied those tracks as he crossed the prairie, forded the rivers, climbed the mountains, entered the valley. He saw and told of the landmarks, visited and photographed the many historic and hallowed places along–all while passing countless graves marking his passage. It was destined to be a journey of true adventure and intrigue.

Nimblewill began this journey by setting out from Independence, Missouri on April 28. On Sunday morning, August 24th, he arrived End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Oregon City, Oregon, successfully concluding his thru-hike o’er the Oregon National Historic Trail — 117 days, 2,109 miles.

“This proved a long and very difficult journey. Thanks to all for your encouragement, support; the success of this hike I owe to you!”

Nimblewill Nomad

HOW THE WEST WAS WON [12-99]

I yearn for the days of the dust-blown haze,
When the West was an infant child.
When the brave, the few, joined lots and threw
Their cares to the wind and the wild.

Through bone-weary pain, through mud and rain,
They traveled, a-trustin’ God.
As dear-loved kin and many a friend
Were set to rest in the sod.

“On to Californ’”, “On to Oregon,”
Through ruts worn weary and long.
‘cross rivers deep, scant rest or sleep,
Passed this destined, fateful throng.

On mules, in prairie schooners;
On buckboards ‘n walkin’ tall;
Through Indian lands, their fate in the hands
Of the wagonmaster’s call.

Through prairie grass, up mountain pass,
They journed toward the Promised Land.
‘n along the way, set adrift, they lay
Their past in the shifting sand.

No turning back, thru rut and track,
The wagon trains moved on,
Toward the western sky, with dream-filled eye,
On the trail to a brand new dawn.

Yet to this day, do the brave there stay!
Born new from the pioneer age.
A dream fulfilled, as God had willed,
Past the land of the purple sage.

And oh what I’d give to have journed…’n lived
On that trail with those brave and strong.
Now history, times wild and free,
For those days do I yearn and long.

Ahh!

Those were the days, e’er time-dimmed haze,
When the West was an infant child.
When the brave, the few, joined lots and threw
Their cares to the wind and the wild.

N. Nomad

2014-nn-businesscard-imageNimblewill with his great, great grandfather (lad in the wagon)
On the Oregon Trail 1845

The Last Rose of Summer

Odyssey 2013: The Nimblewill Nomad’s Great American Loop (GAL)

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gal-map-animation

Great American Loop 1998-2013: The path here (as hiked in sections by Nimblewill Nomad) was created by connecting certain existing trails, portions of trails, and roadwalks together. As shown, this amalgamation forms a continuous route around all four sides, and to each of the furthermost corners, of the United States. The eastern, northern, western, and portions of the southern sections have been accomplished through treks the Nomad made between the years 1998 to 2012, and the remaining miles needed to close the southern gap is what this years odyssey is all about. Starting at Hachita, NM, roadwalking 1,555.5 miles to just east of Milton, FL will close that gap and bring about the completion of the Great American Loop (GAL).

At 9:30 Friday morning, June 28th, the Nimblewill Nomad reached the intersection of FL-87 and US-90 east of Milton, Florida, to successfully complete Odyssey 2013, the Great American Loop (GAL). A trek of 1,555.5 miles, entirely a roadwalk, and a very difficult go at times. Thanks to all who offered their support and encouragement — true blessings!

Odyssey 2013 was destined to go down as an extraordinarily grand affair, perhaps Nimblewill‘s final adventure, one he chose to call the GAL (Great American Loop).

Over the years, having envisioned no grand scheme, with no predetermined design or plan, dawned on the old fellow a year or so back that he was well on his way to trekking down the outer fringes of the entire lower 48. Yup, a path clear around our beautiful US of A–all four corners, all four sides.

If you’ve followed the old intrepid’s wanderings even the least over the years, you’ll know how he likes to connect places, hook them together, by trail, roadwalks, bushwhacks, whatever it takes. His very first long trek pieced together road and tread, a trail spanning near the breadth of the eastern North American continent. It’s since become known as the ECT (Eastern Continental Trail).

In 2004-’05, a young, ultra long-distance hiker named Andy Skurka became the first to hike an amalgamation of roads and tread known as the C2C (Sea-to-Sea Route), a trail crossing the upper reaches of the United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 2007, not content, Andy kicked up a cloud of dust that hasn’t settled to this day. He hooked the Continental Divide and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails together, then to hike that amalgamation in one continuous trek, a trail he’s named the GWL (Great Western Loop). Since, and to chime in the least, Nimblewill has cobbled together his own versions of the GWL and C2C.

And so, as for the GAL, of the near-countless miles around and across the lower 48 Nimblewill has hiked over the years (the byways and trails), connecting 18,257 of them now track the entire GAL–now including the 1,555.5 miles from the Continental Divide Trail in New Mexico to the Florida Trail in the Western Panhandle. So, as to this last segment of this last and final leg, as to the completing of it to close the loop that is the GAL? Well, that’s what Odyssey 2013 was all about!

This section of the website features a map of the GAL, how everything connects and fits together. The legs are divided up in Eastern, Northern, Western, and Southern sections, with each of the 4  offering clickable links to dates and mileage information, along with links to daily journal entries for each of the four legs. As usual, this odyssey section also contains a list of Nimblewill‘s sponsors, his gear, and his itinerary, along with his journals, photos, and videos from along the trek.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by…”
[Robert Frost]

God Bless the USA

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