[at-l] Great Western Loop

greyowl at rcn.com greyowl at rcn.com
Mon Apr 9 08:23:54 CDT 2007

Well here is a new adventure.  This is from one of my other hiking lists that I belong to,  THe great western loop sounds exciting.  I will be visiting his webpage often.


From: Andrew Skurka
To: Andrew Skurka
Sent: Friday, April 06, 2007 10:58 PM
Subject: Great Western Loop Starts MONDAY!

Hello all -

Shortly after this Monday's sunrise I will finally begin my hike of the Great Western Loop from Grandview Point on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Yahoo! The numbers about this expedition speak for themselves: 6,875 miles, 12 National Parks, 75 wilderness areas, 5 long-distance trails, 675 self-made miles across the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, 1 telephone every 129 miles, and 0 hikers who have completed or attempted it. This will be the most challenging and difficult hike that I have undertaken, and in some respects also the most rewarding - over the next ~7 months I will get to experience the magnificence of many of the Lower 48's most pristine and cherished backcountry areas, including places like Yosemite, Crater Lake, Pasayten Wilderness, Glacier, Wind River Range, San Juan's, and Gila Wilderness.

Sadly, the experience of hiking the Great Western Loop appears that it will perhaps become less great in the future. If you have not already, I would encourage you to read up on the current and projected effects of global warming on the West's wild lands. Can you imagine Glacier National Park not having anymore glaciers, or Joshua Tree National Park containing just 10 percent of its current Joshua tree population, or the ski season at Tahoe and Snoqualmie starting after the holidays and ending before February vacation, or grizzly bears in Greater Yellowstone again on the brink of extinction? I wish I could say that these were unfounded gloom-and-doom predictions of some hysteria-desiring left-wing amateur researcher, but by all credible accounts America's wonderful West is likely to offer a notably different outdoor experience within a generation.

For more information about the Great Western Loop, about global warming's effects on the West's wild lands, and how I think we can help mitigate these effects by becoming better environmental stewards, you can visit my recently re-launched website, www.AndrewSkurka.com. Soon after the hike begins, the website will also feature semi-weekly ~5-minute long "captain reports" via audio Podcasts; photo and video galleries that will be updated about every 2 weeks; and written updates from my (very nervous) mother, Karen.

I hope all of you are enjoying the warmer weather and are looking forward to some great trips this summer. Perhaps I will see you out there!



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