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Please help i need a route
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Matthew McCameron
(imstukinabox) - F
Please help i need a route on 03/26/2010 20:51:28 MDT Print View

Please help me someone i am planning a trip to california from st. louis and want to hike it. Does anyone have any sugestions as to what route i should take i want to leave april 14

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Route to where? on 03/26/2010 21:51:02 MDT Print View

Matthew- are you looking to walk to California from St Louis? It appears that way from you post- if so there are a number of ways you can go....
What exactly are you looking for?

Jeff Patrick
(callmeammo) - F

Locale: Sacramento
Jack Kerouac on 03/26/2010 21:53:14 MDT Print View

Read The Road to psyche you up. If you are planning on hitching some of it anyways.

Otherwise I'm of not help.

Matthew McCameron
(imstukinabox) - F
to pan for gold on 03/28/2010 10:50:11 MDT Print View

my goal is to get to southern california so i can pan for gold i want to go as far north as needed to be in a comfertable climate i know i have to go through the desert but i need the fastest way through i also want a route to see the scenery if possible

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Please help i need a route on 03/28/2010 11:06:26 MDT Print View

I wasn't aware there was much gold panning in southern CA, but you might consider part of the American Discovery Trail. It's a mix of roads, manways, railtrails, and hiking trails and passes through STL to San Fran.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Please help i need a route on 03/28/2010 13:47:44 MDT Print View

I can't really tell if you're serious...

Do you want to pan for gold in California or do you want to go backpacking for almost a year? You could probably get to Cali for much cheaper (counting a year's worth of backpacking expenses) if you hitched, or even bought a bus/train/plane ticket. It could also be a good deal faster (for a similar experience to hiking), if you took a bike.

In any case, I'll try to answer you seriously. If you're starting in St. Louis, then as was pointed out, the American Discovery Trail, which at that point is the Katy Trail, is where you'd probably be starting from. From St. Louis, it follows the Missouri River on a wide gravel trail that goes through plenty of towns. West of there and through Kansas, the ADT alternates between dirt roads, paved roads and bike trail. I have never been west of the Katy Trail's terminus and don't have direct knowledge of the type of terrain, but judging from the descriptions, it seems pretty much like you're going to be going across a lot of private property and through a lot of non-scenic cornfields, but I could be wrong. While camping is generally not a problem on the Katy Trail (even near towns you can just go down to the river), I don't know about the ADT when it's on actual paved or unpaved roads. Stealth camping is potentially possible anywhere, but do you really want to dodge into someone's cornfield every night while trucks rumble past you in the mornings? (I hope this is an exaggeration, and I admit I'm not fully informed.) Other possibilities would be state parks with their pay-campgrounds or motels in the towns. I don't know about the ADT, but most people who put in serious miles on the Katy Trail are bikers, who can cover much wider distances between camping spots and often choose to stay in towns.

I'll stop before I get to the Rockies because the possibilities open up much more at that point and I'm no specialist at east-west hikes through Colorado, Utah or Nevada, but it still seems like the best route from St. Louis to California would be by bus, at least until you clear the Great Plains. From St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean, if you follow the ADT, the route is 3290 miles long. I'm not trying to discourage you: that sounds like the trip of a lifetime! I'm just mentioning that depending on your physical condition and how cheap you are able to find food and lodgings, it could take you anywhere from 6-12 months and $1500-3000+ to do a hike which isn't going to be all that great to begin with through the first 1000 miles. And then when you get to California, it will be winter. Plus, you're doing all this to go gold panning, which wasn't exactly the most lucrative enterprise last time I checked. At the least I'd think you'd want to spend those months overcoming the learning curve because chances are you won't strike it rich, much less break even, right away.

In any case... that could indeed be a great backpacking trip, one that I've looked at doing before actually. But trying to make money panning for gold could also be a lot of fun if you knew where to go and the methods to use. I'm just looking at the whole thing from the point of view of my own one-track mind.

Edited by artsandt on 03/28/2010 14:06:00 MDT.

Mike McHenry
(mtmche2) - F
Debby Downer on 03/30/2010 15:44:20 MDT Print View

Man Art, way to rain on the parade (kidding) While everything Art says makes perfect sense (there has to be some method to the madness, right?). I would just grab your pack and start walking!

Sounds like an amazing trip. I've never heard of someone hiking this route.

David T
(DaveT) - F
little black cloud. on 03/30/2010 17:27:43 MDT Print View

I agree with Art that if you want to make money panning for gold in California you are about 162 years too late for that.

But don't let that stop you from discovering America, doing lots of walking, and ending up in California anyway!

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: little black cloud. on 03/30/2010 19:06:48 MDT Print View

I wouldn't say it's too late to make money from gold panning. Since gold is upwards of $1100 an ounce these days, you don't need to find a lot of it to start making money. My point was just that a continuous east-west hike through Missouri and Kansas sounds a little long and non-scenic; while the entire 3000+ mile trip seems really long for someone who just wants to get to the west coast and do some hiking along the way.

David T
(DaveT) - F
little black cloud. on 03/30/2010 20:19:41 MDT Print View

Perhaps I misspoke. Anyway, if you want to make money finding gold today, bring your haul trucks, ammonium nitrate, heap-leach cyanide plans, and probably do it in Nevada where the laws are less stringent. :)

Matthew McCameron
(imstukinabox) - F
well i think the bus is the option on 04/01/2010 16:26:16 MDT Print View

i have thought a lot about it and i think because of the desert the bus is the option i am going to go with and i was kind of leaning twards central cali, but the thing is i want to spent about 6 mos panning in the mountains im only looking to find a couple ounces (hopefully) but its something ive wanted to do for a while so rain is fine whoever wants to rain on the parade is more than welcome i was just looking for a route through the desert without dying but i think a bus would suit my purposes better faster but i will be in the mountains this year

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: well i think the bus is the option on 04/01/2010 16:34:27 MDT Print View

Look at the results of the Donner Party before you try to cross the Sierras at the onset of winter. Then look at the pioneers who tried to cross Death Valley. As they say, timing is everything.

I guess you know that just about all of the gold that could be easily found in California was found many years ago, and that is dried up now. For other places like the Yukon and Alaska, the gold rush was a little later, but still mostly dried up now.

You might want to think of a destination where there is a pleasant environment and alternative entertainment.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Please help i need a route on 04/01/2010 16:41:07 MDT Print View

Plenty of active claims being worked in the Six Rivers area in NorCal. A couple of ounces is not out of the range of possibilities. No claim jumping, so be careful where you pan. Know your geology.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Strike it rich at home on 04/01/2010 16:43:20 MDT Print View

I just learned that my neighborhood sits on the site of six gold mines in operation back during the first gold rush in Georgia. After the 500 year flood of last year I figure there are baseball size nuggets sitting on the stream bed down the road from my house.

So, instead of taking a leave of absense from work to hike the PCT, I decided to just strike it rich panning for a day or two and then just quit and hike full time.

Sound like a plan?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Georgia gold on 04/01/2010 18:02:30 MDT Print View

Remember inside turns, black dirt.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Georgia gold on 04/01/2010 18:36:02 MDT Print View

You might consider panning for gold in Central America - the cost of living is a wee bit less than in California and the weather less of an issue during the dry season. Plus, you might get to see a Jaguar.

Matthew McCameron
(imstukinabox) - F
no alternate entertainment on 04/02/2010 16:34:38 MDT Print View

there will be no alternative i will stay in the woods until i have atleast some gold to bring back with me i will eat fish and rice for the stent of the trip with a few other suplies with me but there will be no coming back empty handed so if it kills me out there so be it i have plenty of training in survival and hunting and gathering so i believe i will be fine but any advice on teqniques will be greatly apretiated

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: no alternate entertainment on 04/02/2010 16:39:15 MDT Print View

Carry along one book to read, Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer.


David T
(DaveT) - F
route. on 04/02/2010 16:53:36 MDT Print View


my only words of advice are make sure you can get back across the stream, and please stay out of abandoned buses.

(i guess the original post pre-dated April 1 by several days, right?)

Edited by DaveT on 04/02/2010 16:54:54 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: route. on 04/02/2010 17:59:34 MDT Print View

"i guess the original post pre-dated April 1 by several days, right?"

I think the length of this thread amply demonstrates there is no shortage of fools on any given day of the year. ;}