The National Trails System Act of 1968 established two national scenic trails, the Appalachian (AT) and the Pacific Crest (PCT) and called for studies of 14 other routes. Since that time eight National Scenic Trails (NSTs) have been officially designated (most recently through enactment of the 2008 National Trails System Act), including the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT). Presently, of the eight, only those originally designated, the AT and the PCT, are anywhere near completion.
The NCT has a long and winding history. No one really knows who dreamed up the idea. Seems the earliest anything appears in writing, at least as can be found, is 1965–as documented in The Early History of the North Country Trail. Those concepts show varying distances for the trail, around 3,000 miles, give or take. Even as recently as 2008, in that act, the NCT is described as being “…a trail of approximately thirty-two hundred miles.” What the final distance might end up being (as it continues growing in leaps and bounds with each passing year) is anybody’s guess. When the dust finally (and literally) settles, it’ll probably extend for a staggering 4,600 miles or more. To date, 1,800 miles of tread meet required standards and have been “certified off-road.” What this means is that less than half the trail is (currently) forevermore protected. The remaining miles, around 2,800, share treadway with other users, with a fair number ending up on county back roads, and state and federal highways.
And so, onto this trail will the old Nimblewill Nomad venture. Odyssey 2009 began on March 22, in North Dakota on the banks of the Missouri River at the Knife River Indian Villages NHS, one of the most significant of sites along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in North Dakota. From there he’ll hike the short distance north to Lake Sakakawea State Park, the official beginning/terminus of the NCT.
And why would Nimblewill want to trek the NCT you might ask? Well, seems Nomad’s ultimate quest, before heading on up that final treadway in the sky, is to hike all eight NSTs.
Of the eight, he’s hiked all but two, those being the NCT and the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. So he’s decided that 2009 is the year to take on the NCT, good Lord willin’ the old fellow is now 70.
The NCT will present great challenges for Nimblewill. Being such a very long trail as it is, around 4,600 miles, and being primarily latitude-oriented along the northern tier of states, successfully thru-hiking the NCT will require both great endurance, as to continual long-mileage days, and in addition, the likely need to withstand harsh, winter-like conditions, no doubt on both ends of the journey.
So, now an invitation from Nimblewill Nomad, to all dear friends–to follow along as journals, video/audio segments and photo albums are posted. Also, and if you would, please keep him in your prayers for a safe and successful conclusion to this latest great adventure.
Yesterday Once More
The Triple Crown Award is recognition of the dedication, commitment, and achievement of those who have completed the three major National Scenic Trails; the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. ALDHA-West is the only organization that officially recognizes the accomplishment of these few intrepid hikers. At the ALDHA-West Gathering, held each fall, the Triple Crown honorees are recognized and awarded plaques noting their achievement. To view the list of all who have accomplished the Triple Crown, please visit the ALDHA-West website.
Having hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1998 and the Continental Divide Trail in 2005 and 2007, upon completion of his 2008 Odyssey of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Nimblewill Nomad was added to that short list of intrepid who’ve completed the Triple Crown, the three premier U.S. trails. With his PCT hike coming to a close on September 15, 2008, the Nomad headed to the ALDHA-West Gathering, held at Lake Wenatchee, WA, September 19-21. During this gathering he was recognized for his achievement and received an award plaque. (See photos/video below)
Message from the Nomad: “Achieving the Triple Crown was the greatest accomplishments in my life. Receiving the award will remain the most intensely emotional time in my memory. Thanks to Richard Nopack Anderson for his sponsorship, and a special thanks to Jackie YogiMcDonnell, organizer of the Triple Crown Award program.”
The above photo is of the Nomad accepting his Triple Crown Award at the 2008 ALDHA-West gathering. This photo courtesy of Mad Monte Dodge.
The photo displayed on the screen in the background was taken by Will Richard, the official SIA/IAT photographer and one of Nimblewill Nomad‘s very kind sponsors. The photo was taken of the Nomad at Belle Isle, Newfoundland on his final day, Odyssey 2000-2001, at the conclusion of the 5,400 mile journey, the first known and recorded trek o’er the entire Appalachian Mountain Range. The little mound on which he’s standing is at the northernmost point in the Appalachians, on Belle Isle, in the Labrador Sea.
The above photo is of those present to receive their Triple Crown Awards at the 2008 ALDHA-West Gathering.
Left to Right: M. J. “Nimblewill Nomad” Eberhart, Bert “Wildcat” Emmerson, Clint “Lint” Bunting, Anitra “Nitro” Kass, Garrett “The Onion” Christensen, Jessica “Wildflower” Winters, Li Brannfors, Eric Ryback.
This photo also courtesy of Mad Monte Dodge.
* Some Triple Crown recipients were not available for photo. View complete list for 2008.
* Dick “Nopack” Anderson was the Nomad‘s sponsor at the award ceremony. Since he was not able to attend, he wrote a short speech that was given. That speech and other photos are available through 2008 article on the IAT/SIA website.
Nomad Awarded Triple Crown
The 2008 ALDHA-West Gathering, held this year at Lake Wenatchee, Washington, was attended by over 80 hikers, including many of this years’ thru-hikers and 8 new Triple Crown recipients.
Nimblewill Nomad started the events Friday evening, after dinner, opening with insights, poetry and prose on the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the long distance hiking experience. Other events were presented by some who spun tales of their adventures, demonstrated trail stoves and cooking techniques, recipes, photography, and a panel discussion on The Evolution of Long Distance Backpacking.
But the main event of the weekend was the presentation of the Triple Crown awards. Eight incredibly diverse hikers accomplished the feat of completing the AT, PCT and the CDT, among them the Nimblewill Nomad. The recipients stood and received their award plaques to the thunderous applause of the other hikers. This video was taken by Kevin Bear Spotter Clayton, as the Nomad received his award.
When You Wish Upon a Star
On April 21st Nimblewill Nomad embarked on yet another journey — o’er the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT). Starting at the Mexican border, he hiked north, along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT), across California, Oregon and Washington, through the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, numerous national forests and wilderness areas, the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, to the Canadian border and the completion of this odyssey. This year’s journey also included a successful thru-hike o’er the John Muir Trail located in California.
The Nomad started this hike with Dan Sheltowee Rogers and Kevin Slider Reardon, however early in the journey there were unexpected events that caused these fellow thru-hikers not to be able to finish the trail together. For the entire trek, the Nomad was assisted by Gordon Smith, also a long-distance hiker, who, along with sister, Sue Ellen Lockwood, transcontinental trekker, now deceased, has provided trek support to hikers for many years.
This journey has proven to be very special, for upon completion, September 15th, the name Nimblewill Nomad has been added to that short list of intrepid who’ve completed the Triple Crown. You can find out more about this achievement by visiting the Triple Crown 2008 section.
Be sure to check out the very detailed map of the magnificent places the Nomad visited this journey, his Itinerary, Gear List, Journal entries, and some pretty amazing photos and videos.
Of particular interest, take a look at the Nomad’s completely revised Gear List. For previous odysseys, his pack consistently tipped the scales at or below ten pounds, (food and water excepted). For this odyssey, and with the aid of some great new sponsors, Nimblewill was able to reduce his packweight to below seven pounds!
A Long Time Ago