Long distance walking

6:58 p.m. on November 9, 2008 (EST)
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Perhaps the greatest pure walker of all time, Edward Payson Weston, started his walking career with a 453-mile trek from Boston to Washington D.C. in 1861. This walk took Weston 10 days and 10 hours. The 10 hours was significant because it caused Weston to lose a $10,000 bet for not arriving on time for Abraham Lincoln's inauguration. Nevertheless, President Lincoln gave Weston a congratulatory handshake which inspired Weston to compete in many pedestrian competitions, including six-day ultra-marathon races in Madison Square Garden, and Agricultural Hall in England, before huge capacity crowds. Weston was known to walk as many as 125 miles in a single day, and upwards of 550 miles in six-day events. When the media questioned his ability as a senior to continue walking, Weston showed America that walking was for all ages as he confidently trekked from Los Angeles to New York, 3600+ miles, in 88 days, averaging 41 miles per day - at age 71! Weston continued walking 25 miles a day well into his 80's. He died at age 90, two years after being struck by a New York City taxicab, which caused him to lose the use of his legs. By the way, when Weston was born in 1839, the average life expectancy in America was 40 years.

8:16 p.m. on November 9, 2008 (EST)
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That's a great story, though it has a sad ending.

Weston's wikipedia entry refers to "his professional walking career," which sounds like a good job to have, though maybe not with the deadlines hanging over you and gamblers attacking:


Anyway, I think we have a tendency to believe that current generations and their achievements are more "extreme" and so on, but when you take the time to look at history you'll find even more impressive feats.

Thanks for sharing!

6:44 a.m. on November 10, 2008 (EST)
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Not many men (or Women) walking 125 miles at age 71. I know a guy in the Grand Canyon who did 106 R2R's (23 miles with a 5000 foot descent and a 6000 foot ascent going across the canyon) in one year on his 86 birth year. He hikes up and down the canyon about three times a week and he's almost 90. His name is Maverick.
Alicia, are you Editor in Chief of Trailspace? Great Column!

1:48 p.m. on November 10, 2008 (EST)
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Yes sir, I'm the lucky one who's editor (and co-founder, co-chief, and co-bottle washer, etc.) of this very web site.

4:13 p.m. on November 10, 2008 (EST)
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Who's the other Co-editor, etc? I am suprised I had not heard of this site before I found it somehow online a few weeks ago. I also belong to summitpost.com

4:22 p.m. on November 10, 2008 (EST)
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The other half is Dave, whose official title is publisher, which means he does more of the behind-the-scenes programming and so on, while I handle the editorial side (News section, Blog, gear reviews, etc..).

We've been publishing Trailspace since 2001.

There's an about the site section here (though it probably needs some updating):

We're glad you found us, Gary!

5:51 p.m. on November 10, 2008 (EST)
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Pretty nice that you two both are outdoorists, I have yet to find a woman who liked the outdoors enough to ramble with me. I have been on my own all my adult life.
Do ya'll have kids, do they hike,climb or whatever?

7:05 p.m. on November 10, 2008 (EST)
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Yes, it is very nice to have a partner who enjoys doing the same things as you, and who you genuinely enjoy doing stuff with. It's probably something I take for granted.

We have two little kids who we take out as much as possible hiking, skiing, camping, backpacking and so on. They've both been getting out since they were newborns, and I hope it's something they'll enjoy for life.

11:09 p.m. on November 10, 2008 (EST)
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I would hope that they can. My parents were car campers. I grew up in the 1950 and 60's. We camped in the Catskills close to home in Sodus NY. I was born in January of 1956 and that first summer my mother tells me we were camping and we slept in a big old fashioned canvas tent. She woke to find me not laying beside her and looked and found I had rolled outside and was near the campfire.
I can remember in that video memory space in my brain, of watching the bears going thru the garbage dumps while the campers parked with their headlights all aimed at the dump in the dark to watch the bears.
My mother took me on weekly walks into the woods and orchards near our home in the countryside where we lived a couple miles from Lake Ontario.
My grandparents had been fruit farmers and my parents owned 4 acres where we grew 90% of all that we ate. We hardly ever went to town to buy groceries. And a trip to the city of Rochester was saved for Christmas time to shop.
I camped with my friends around the streams and ponds near our homes and in summer would ride our bikes to Lake Ontario to swim.
I took off the year after I left the Navy to hitchhike around the USA going thousands of miles as described in my trip reports here at your column. After a summer of being on the road and freedom I continued for 30 years to travel, backpacking and bicycle touring, camping and living and working in so many places I have forgotten most of them.
I have been all over the country many times.
I will be 53 in Janaury next and plan/hope to continue my travels somemore soon. My current job allows me to take four days off a week plus 24 days vacation a year. I used to work about 4 months a year on average from 1977 to 2007 mainly here in Jackson Hole during the summers. And taking the fall/winter and spring off hiking, biking and just seeing all that I could in the time I choose to be free.
John Muir once said, "Go to the woods and get thier good tidings, and your cares will fall away like Autumn leave's"

7:23 p.m. on November 11, 2008 (EST)
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Good for your parents, especially your mom for taking you on those walks!

I think that goes to show that what you raise kids to value has a lifelong effect.

3:58 p.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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I agree, Alicia. I try to take my four kids hiking every weekend. They look forward to that and camping.

BTW, I decided on the Osprey Jib for my son's (7-year-old) backpack. He has saved up for it (~$130), and we plan on purchasing it this weekend. He's crazy excited about backpacking and is wanting to hit the trails as soon as he gets it. So, Dad is planning a father-and-son backpacking weekend.

4:48 p.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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Yes,...spend time with your kids while you can!
Not only is it important just for raising children, but you will hopefully develop a common interest and continue to do things together for many years.
I have been hiking and camping with my son for 16 yrs. and he still loves to go, he is 21 now.
Same with my daughter although she is 3 yrs. younger.

Now, hopefully, they can start splitting the expenses with me!

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