1,700 Miles – One Step at a Time

pipe dreamsIn late September 2012, way up in Alberta near the huge tar sands pits that have expanded greatly there in recent years, Ken Ilgunas started walking south.  He kept walking for the next 1,700 miles until he reached Port Arthur, Texas in February of 2013.  He had walked the entire length of the infamous Keystone XL Pipeline.  His journey was part grand adventure and part environmental awareness campaign.  He also wanted to learn as much as he could about the pipeline, get to know some of the people who live along the way, and find out their thoughts on it.  It’s an impressive journey and a major accomplishment. 

The proposed route for the pipeline parallels the proposed route for the GPT pretty well in many areas.  It’s not until Kansas and Oklahoma that the pipeline route gets too far east to be on what most people define as the Great Plains.  So, given where he was, it not surprising that he developed a fondness for this amazing place, and the scenery that greeted him each day as he worked his way south, staying just a few steps ahead of winter.  In fact, while on his journey, Ken had a strong sense that some sort of long distance trail should exist here, so that more people could experience the joys of walking the plains.  I couldn’t agree more.

Ken is currently working on a book about his trek, which will actually be his second book.  He is also the author of Walden on Wheels, which is about how he tackled massive student loans by living in a van at Duke University.  Ken also has a blog called Pipe Dreams.  You can click the following link to learn more about his epic trek, as well as read his other writings, which are all very good:

Pipe Dreams


About greatplainstrail

Building the Great Plains Trail.
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6 Responses to 1,700 Miles – One Step at a Time

  1. An interesting idea for a magazine article would be to find out if the same politicians who support the Keystone Pipeline would also (monetarily) support the Great Plains Trail. Their only real justification for the pipeline is that it would provide Americans w/ jobs.
    The Great Plains Trail would provide much longer term jobs as well as health and environmental benefits.

    • This is true. I heard that as few as 20 or 30 permanent jobs would be created by the pipeline, the rest of the jobs would be temporary. The GPT has a much greater long term potential to create jobs . . .

      • JunkChuck says:

        You ought to get yourself some letterhead and write some to those politicians–their responses might get you some unexpected support or, at the very least, be of interest to a journalist or three, leading to some publicity. Love this blog, by the way, it’s so dignified and constructive compared to (cough) another blog I know.

        • Not a bad idea. Send one letter every day until they break, or at least bend . . .

          ps. That other blog you know is awesome. Mine is just single minded. I like the variety that you have the freedom to display . . .

  2. trailsnet says:

    Reblogged this on OTMTours and commented:
    It seems that any politician who supports the Keystone Pipeline should also be in favor of the Great Plains Trail for the same reasons plus many more.

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