Luke “Strider” Jordan has been sailing along and is having a grand adventure as the first ever GPT thru hiker. He has conquered Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, and as I write this, he is already half way through South Dakota. As mentioned, the best way to track him is through his Facebook Page: Strider NCT
He has great photos and a riveting play by play as he fights hurricane force winds, hops fallen trees, battles with loose dogs, and meets lots of “trail angels” who are excited just to meet him and offer what help they can.
Here’s just a taste from the Nebraska chapter:
Today will be a shorter day so I sleep in an extra hour and enjoy another hot breakfast at the motel before hitting the road. I pass by Scottsbluff once again and take the road through Mitchell Pass along many historic routes. This road is not only the official auto tour route for the Oregon Trail, but also of the California, Mormon Pioneer and Pony Express Trails. Many of these trails have been mostly swallowed up by modern agriculture so these auto tour routes are often all that remains. Just north of the pass a group of bikers pass me on the road and one of them slows down as he rides by. “Are you Strider?” He asks. Apparently the article Steve interviewed me for was already in this morning’s paper and my giant pack must give me away. He wishes me luck.
When I arrive in Mitchell the same thing happens, I pull in to the Subway for lunch and a car pulls up right next to me and a man gets out and walks over to me. “Are you the hiker? Great story in the paper!” We chat for a few minutes and then he hands me 20 bucks. “Good luck, and safe travels.” I thank him for his donation and then he speeds away. Inside the subway the woman behind the counter also recognizes me. “You must be the cross-country hiker. I’ve had four people come in today talking about you.” Amazing!
After lunch I hang around for awhile figuring out my next move. The only place to camp around here is the county fairgrounds down the street, but I was hoping to get a little further today so tomorrow isn’t such a long haul to Agate Fossil Beds. I head into the local bar for a drink. Just as I enter another guy pops in with the owner of the place, Loren. The guy hands me a $20 bill and wishes me luck. This is amazing, folks around here are really excited about this hike. Afterwards Loren sits with me and chats for a bit, he hasn’t read the paper yet so he wasn’t aware of the trip I was on. Later some more folks come in and one of my drinks gets covered. Around this time some regulars start coming in and I get invited to join them at their table. Hence Loren introduces me to Taylor as he asks a few questions. Soon after someone familiar looking walks in and I meet Tanner. I immediately realize he reminds me of my friend Trevor back home, almost a doppleganger: same black sweatshirt and baseball cap, same age, Tanner just has more facial hair. I end up making good conversation with the three local friends til after dark. I find out there is a dog show in town and the fairgrounds is the staging area, it looks like that route isn’t going to work for camping. Then Tanner offers a place at his house just north of town, he has a sofa that never gets used. I accept his offer so we pay our tab and head out. Fine folks here in Mitchell.