The man from Boulder walks the Old Spanish trail
It's not an ordinary sight in Emery County. Two llamas, a man and a dog trailing through backroads, desert and mountains on a quest. Loch Wade is the man, the llamas are Jasper and Chalcy and the dog is McDuff. The journey is part of a dream to walk the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe, N.M. to California. Wade is making the trip in increments and last year he walked from Abiquiu, N. M. to Moab. This year he began at Moab and is walking to Cedar City, a journey of approximately 330 miles.
"I've always been interested in the Old Spanish Trail. I've read a lot about it. Probably nobody has packed that trail since John C. Fremont did around 1850. I decided it was about time someone did. I hope to write a book about my adventures.
"I left Moab on Feb. 7 and have been traveling right along. The weather has been great, it's not hot which is good for me and good for the llamas. We traveled through the open desert after we left Moab. We stopped in Green River and then cut across the Swell at Lost Springs. Traveled along Cedar Mountain and then on the road to Castle Dale and followed it all the way to SR-10," said Wade.
Wade plans to travel near the highway and down to Fremont Junction and on to Cedar City. It will probably take another three-four weeks to get there.
Wade said they travel at a leisurely pace and they aren't in a big hurry. He's off work in the winter and his wife "allows" him this time to make the trip. He won't be able to visit the Fishlake cut-off trail because of the weather, and will follow the road past Salina, Richfield and along Highway 89 to Marysvale and into Parowan. He will mainly cut through the open desert along the way if he can.
Wade is from Boulder and he said when he arrives in the desert near Cedar City that will be far enough for this leg of the journey and he'll call his wife in Boulder to come and pick him up with the horse trailer.
Wade travels 12-13 miles a day, but while traveling across the Swell he made good time and was able to log 20 miles. He was happy to see Castle Dale and a bit of civilization, his plans in Emery County included a stay at the local motel, a hot meal and a shower and a trip to the laundromat to catch up on the laundry.
Wade takes good care of the animals and he let's the llamas browse along the way as needed. They begin each day with a healthy breakfast of grains and each night he stakes them out so they can browse as needed. Wade said the animals especially enjoyed the salt brush on the way across the Swell.
Wade thinks what's he's doing might seem a little unusual to some folks, but it's the right thing for him to do and he's enjoying his trek with his friends and spending time in the great outdoors along the Old Spanish Trail.