Homer's Travels: Cowboy Up ... Or Not

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cowboy Up ... Or Not

For those who have been paying attention, I was supposed to hike the Cowboy Trail this month.  Not only that, if I'd actually stuck to my original plan, something that rarely happens, I would have reached Ainsworth, NE today and the Wife would have been waiting there to pick me up.  I'm not in Ainsworth.

The first change in plans was driven by Anthony Bourdain.  His event was smack dab in the middle of the hiking window.  Looking at the calendar I changed the window to early October.  I started making calls to make hotel/bed and breakfast reservations.  I starting doubting my new plans when there were several no answers - not even answering machines or voice mail.  I didn't let this deter me as I went down the list of places.  Then I called a guest house in Atkinson, NE.

The guest house owner was very nice.  Turns out she was on a local board in charge of her section of the Cowboy Trail.  When I explained what I was doing she said "I think something is going on east of here concerning the Trail."  She then suggested I call a Nebraska Game and Parks (NGP) guy in Lincoln who's in charge of the entire trail.  I made the call and discovered that part of the trail was closed due to two bridges being out and one long section of rail bed (i.e. the trail right of way) having washed away leaving a river where the trail had been.  I thought about this a bit.  Made a few more calls to lodging and receiving more no answers.  *sigh*

The NGP guy had suggested that I could walk around most of the damaged areas but the idea of walking along a highway, the alternate route, didn't seem attractive.  If I skipped the damaged section all together I would be cutting the hike from 150 miles to 69 miles.  I ditched the entire plan there and then.

There's more to this than lack of accommodations and the need for unattractive detours.  Have you ever planned a trip that, as you got closer to the departure date, got less and less attractive?  The Wife feels that way about her summer workshops.  I do it all the time.  As it gets closer, it starts feeling like too much trouble even when it isn't.  There was a little of that when I decided to not do the Cowboy Trail.

There was one final thing that niggled me in the back of my head.  What if I failed?  What if I couldn't complete the hike?  What if I had to call the Wife to come and pick me up because I couldn't make it?  How would this impact me?  How would I handle this?  More importantly, how would it affect my Camino walk in Spain?  If I didn't make it I am sure that I would cancel my Spain trip.  I would regret this very much.  So, using some twisted internal logic, I am convinced that it would be better for me to go to Spain cold, without having done a similar long hike.  I hope I'm right.


  1. I always feel that way before any trip, mainly because as the start date of the trip gets closer, I get more and more nervous about getting everything done before I leave!

  2. I HOPE you're not looking for anything more than extreme envy that you're going to Spain! Coz that's all I got, mister! :D

    Maybe you'll get to do this trail another time, if not for anything else than to say "I'm a real Cowboy!"

  3. GH: The Wife and I always feel this way. The Wife is better at overcoming it than I am.

    Miss McC: :) Spain is going to be interesting. I just dread all the planning and organizing.

    I'm thinking about turning the hike into a bike trip.