190 Miles East on the GET

Moving slow and safe. New places seen a new. Heating up. Long stretches of an arid land lie ahead. Dangerous out here alone. What torturous agony. Poked by Agave, clawed and entrapped by Catclaw. Can’t go forward can’t go back. Swarmed by bees. Over two dozen stings. Eye swollen shut. Off route and stuck in  hell. Let me out! Two feet away – the route. Back on track. Heaven. And tonight, sleep beneath the stars. Diamonds

  • tj20317_051216_092546_1033229.jpg
    Swarmed, Eye Swollen 

of light cooling and soothing. Rest. Sweet bliss.


Joshua Tree Resupply

I have been travelling East to West and West to East, back and forth – across the wide open, arid space of Joshua Tree National Park. In my camper, of course, placing water and food caches across the ninety some miles I am going to backpack.

This to me is ironic, seeing as on the 800 Mile Arizona Trail, I relied on just a couple of public locker box water caches. (These boxes were contributed by volunteers from the Arizona Trail Association).

Additionally, In 1984 and 1985 my x-wife and I hiked the entire length of the Canyon Country existing on only natural resources! Perhaps, the providence of a living God, saved us from turning into desiccated corpses laying on the desert floor. I called that trip, Walk the River Grand – From Source to Sea – Down the Colorado. That was over 30 years ago. The ultimate uber Canyon Country hike. Sixteen months from Rocky Mountain National Park to the Sea of Cortez. Look in the future for a book on our journey.

At any rate, I marvel at how dry Joshua Tree is. First I drove the long dirt road, and buried a cache of water, and cans of soup and fruit at Covington Flats. The next day I again drove a dirt road, and buried some water on the Eagle Mountain Road. Next I left food and water at the Porcupine Wash Trail head. The following day I drove the Geology Tour Road and placed a cache at the Pleasant Valley Trail head. Lastly, I left a cache at the Ryan Camp Ground.

Tomorrow I will start hiking on the California Riding and Hiking Trail from Black Rock Camp Ground, East towards Covington Flats. From their I will hike on the same to Ryan Camp Ground. It is of some interest to me that the CRHT, farther South, was once used for some long stretches of the Pacific Crest Trail. Often, a lot of two track road hiking, which I hiked on in 1972. Ah, the seventies – the glory days of the PCT!

Next, I continue on to the Pleasant Valley Trail head, where I embark on series of cross country wash hiking: Fried Liver Wash, Washington Wash and Porcupine Wash. I will finish on the Black Eagle Mine Road and the through the Big Wash hiking corridor, also cross country to the Eastern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park.

My long time friend Harley “Snuff” Walker is going to pick me up there, which will help avoid a very difficult hitchhike back to my truck at Black Rock Campground.

When I arrived at the Park, the weather was beautiful, hinting of spring and making me wish I had a sombrero. Quickly things changed, with wild winter weather – hollowing wind driven rain, turning to light snow.  It is supposed to warm up, which leaves me with the question?  Do I go ultra light as I did on the Arizona Trail? Or do I carry a warm sleeping bag and tent? I think I will go safe and pack for comfort.

Yours truly, always wandering in beauty,

Glider/David Kiel




Joshua Tree National Park

After completing the Pacific Crest Trail on September 13, 2015, I came back down to Arizona to hike the section of the loop between the Arizona Trail and the Continental Divide Trail on the Grand Enchantment Trail.  Seemed like a good idea, but I got down here too late and an unseasonably cold, wet and snowy winter has me thinking otherwise. The GET in these sections climbs as high as 10,000 feet and up there the snow is feet deep.

So I am headed to lower elevations and warmer climes to continue hiking in the Mohave Desert. The next link in the loop is a short 100 mile traverse of Joshua Tree National Park. I have been wanting to do this hike for years, so I am quite excited to be on the trail again. That this is a part of the loop is just fitting with my goals.



Going Loopy in the Wild West

State of the Great Loop

I feel that I have some explanations about my goals hiking in the Canyons and Mountains West.

My goal is to emulate Andrew Skurka’s Great Western Loop hike in sections.  Andrew did the most incredible thru hike ever, travelling near to 7000 miles in about six months, on what he calls the Great Western Loop – a melange of the great trails in the west. He is one of my hero’s, right up there with John Muir, Henry David Thoreau and others. Google it for details at http://andrewskurka.com

PCT 2014

My design is a far different style of hiking doing  the loop in big sections over a period of years. The scope of my hike is a bit longer with more time spent on side excursions and explorations.  I will probably hike over 8000 miles by the time I close the loop.

Thus far I have completed the Pacific Crest and the Arizona National Scenic Trails, a traverse of Joshua Tree National Park, a section of The Grand Enchantment Trail between the AZT and the CDT and a section North on the CDT from the Gila Wilderness to Northern New Mexico.   This is a distance of about 4500 Miles.  Only 3500 miles to go to close the loop!

If you are paying attention you will note that The Great Loop does not include the whole of the PCT and the AZT.  I elected to hike the entire length of these trails, just because I was there. To  be  honest, to say I am hiking the Great Loop is just a way of creating a goal for myself. Also to create a concept for those following my eccentric excursion , a means to view my progress. In reality, just like so many hikers on the long trails these days, I am simply just out hiking a lot of trail.

I have been using another journal site where you can find more details at:  http;//trailjournals.com/glideon

I will keep you posted as to my progress in more detail shortly.

But for now, always remember to keep gliding on!  Yours on our nations incredible trails,

Glider aka David Kiel