In April of 1977 I was 23 years old when I read a National Geographic article by Peter Jenkins detailing the first half of his walk across America. I remember being captivated by the idea of a long walk and have often thought back to that article in subsequent years, wondering whether I could do something like it. A few years ago I started thinking the time may have come to fulfill that dream.
Just eight months before that National Geographic article appeared, I had moved with my wife from Toronto to the USA to pursue graduate studies, fully intending to return to my beloved Canada after four years. Thirty-six years later, we are still here, living in Scotch Plains, New Jersey and we have driven the roads between Scotch Plains and Toronto countless times. What would it be like to walk it, I asked myself.
As I researched the possibility, I became aware of legendary walkers like Jean Beliveau, Gary Hause and Matt Green, and became increasingly confident that by drawing on their experiences I could actually execute my own long-distance walk, modest in comparison to theirs.
So after months of preparation, the time is finally drawing near. Just 18 days from now, on Wednesday, October 9th, I plan to leave my home in Scotch Plains and walk to my grandchildren’s home in Toronto. According to google, the journey is about 430 miles. If I can average around 15 miles per day, the trip will take about one month.
I will be pushing a slightly modified jogging stroller with all my gear in it, including camping equipment. As I go, I will update this blog, mostly with pictures, I expect. There are numerous logistics to a trip like this that I get asked about frequently. I expect the answers to those questions to appear over time in the blog, but if you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments section.
I am very excited, but also apprehensive. One can only do so much planning for a trip like this, and there remain many unknowns, or opportunities for serendipity, as a friend of mine likes to remind me. I will be alone in this endeavor, so I’m sure that an occasional comment on the blog will buoy my spirits.