The Mighty Mississippi!

Announcing the Great River Trail Trash Trek

I’m hiking the Great River Trail this summer, and picking trash up all along the way. For five days and four nights, I’ll be walking the trail, camping nearby, enjoying the mighty Mississippi, and cleaning up all the litter I safely can.
Want more details? Please read on!

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I have previously mentioned my intention to hike the Great River Trail this summer, but this post is the official announcement. Barring dramatic changes in plans or circumstance, I’ll be setting out the morning of June 27th, and finishing the evening of July 1st. I won’t just be hiking, however. Along the way, I’ll be picking up any litter I can safely gather and carry, and disposing of it appropriately.

Picking up litter
I like to leave a place better than I found it.

So, it’s happening, and I’m excited; the Great River Trail Trash Trek is official.

“Wait a minute Wade,” you might be saying, “what is the Great River Trail?”

That’s a good question, especially from my friends and readers not familiar with the Quad City area. The Great River Trail runs sixty miles in Illinois, largely along the Mississippi River. Starting in Savanna, the trail is made up of paved rail-trail, sidewalks, bike lanes and paths, and a stretch of road shoulder on the Great River Road, before terminating in Rock Island. I’ll be hiking it all in five days and four nights.

So, now you might be thinking, “Right on! That sounds awesome. Why did you decide to do this?”

Thanks for hypothetically asking. Of course, one reason I’m hiking the trail is my desire to take a nice long hike. I haven’t done any weeklong trips since my early twenties, and while this won’t be exceptionally long or arduous in theory, I’m eager to see if I’m up to the challenge of walking sixty miles in five days. I don’t think I’ll have any problems, but I won’t know for sure until I walk it.

In addition to wanting to spend a week outside hiking, I’m eager to pay my respects to the area in which I’ve taken up residence. The Midwest, the Quad Cities, and the Mississippi River have been very good to me, and I want to return the favor. I look around and see tons of people doing amazing stuff, and I want to take the opportunity to do a little good myself. So I’ve decided that this is going to be it.

I know that walking the length of the Great River Trail and picking up garbage along the way won’t make a drastic change in the world, but it’s one way I can leave the place better than I found it. It’ll leave the riverbank a little cleaner, and hopefully people will try to keep it that way.

It’s going to be awesome, and I’m very excited. Now, here’s where I’m at with planning and preparation…

If you’ve read about my winter camping trip, then you know that my old backpack just doesn’t fit me anymore. I guess I finally grew up! To remedy this situation, I’ve pre-ordered a Taboche backpack from one of my favorite outfitters, Cotopaxi, and I’m looking forward to its delivery in the beginning of June.

I’m working on getting the places I’ll be staying lined up and reserved. Hopefully that will all be taken care of in the next week or so. Once that’s all lined up, I’ll be sure to let you all know my itinerary. There are other details to plan, such as food and water, or where I can drop trash, but so far everything is in line to work out well. I’m walking solo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean alone. Anyone is welcome to come out and join me on any leg of the hike, to help pick up trash and make some great conversation. Can’t make it out to where I’m hiking? That’s okay, take some time during that week to do your own trash pickup hike; take a bag and pick up some litter in a nearby park, forest, or trail.

Great River Trail along the Mississippi River
The final stretch will be an old friend; the bike path I take to get to and from work!

You don’t have to wait until I’m on the Great River Trail to pitch in; I’ll be picking up litter on every hike I take, and you can too! Add me on Instagram, tag me and use the hashtag #GRTTrashTrek every times you shoot a photo helping our environment! I’ll regram some, and may even set up a giveaway by the time of the hike!

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7 thoughts on “Announcing the Great River Trail Trash Trek

  1. Wade, I take yoga classes from your lovely wife, Clarissa. I live in Hampton, IL, just 2 blocks up from the trail. If you need a place to stay one night and Hampton would be a good stopping point for you, you are more than welcome. I have a spare bedroom since my son is staying up at college this summer.

    1. Thank you Steffanie! Right now my hope is to spend most of my nights camping, but I will definitely keep your offer in mind! I really appreciate your help and support!

      1. Well, you could always “camp” in my back yard….. which would be free. Camping @ Illiniwek – I believe there is a fee.

        1. I appreciate your offer! I may take you up on that, but since I’m encouraging people to come join me, I don’t want to take advantage of your hospitality! I will, if you don’t mind, keep you in mind should I find that Illiniwek is full when I arrive.

    1. Thank you Tay! I’m very happy to have your interest and support. Hopefully as I complete more planning and preparation I’ll have some more interesting posts to share about it!

  2. Good luck. I hope you are not to horrified by the amount you find, but if you are, perhaps the sense of achievement will be all the greater. You are also reminding me that I want to do the same over here in my local community – thanks.

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