Day 1 – Slow and Steady

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Monday, May 29th, 6:40 AM – Departed from Monaco Air, Duluth International Airport, Duluth, MN.

Conditions: Temp – 57* / Wind – WNW at 10-20mph /  Sky – Low overcast, occasional drizzle and light rain. Morning weather conditions persisted throughout the day, with showers becoming more frequent throughout the afternoon.

4:10 PM – Arrived Scanlon, MN. 20.8 miles, 53,200 steps, 564 miles remaining.

Today was the big day! The first day of a 585-mile walk through Minnesota and Wisconsin. I don’t mind saying, I’m glad the day is over. This walk has been in the planning stages for several months now, and it was simply high time that it got underway. My neighbor Don used the word “trepidation” to describe the feelings experienced before departing on a trip of this magnitude. I don’t think I cold have come up with a better descriptive term. 

All in all, the day was a great success. I chose a slow and steady pace that enabled me to reach my destination, I don’t seem much worse for wear and I didn’t die! As an added bonus, I was also able to make a few observations throughout the course of the day that seem worth mentioning. While they may seem obvious, I believe it’s important to throw them out there for the benefit of anyone who might be planning a similar adventure.

  1. 21 miles is a really long way to walk! Again, some of these may seem obvious…
  2. When driving our personal vehicles, we may perceive the road we’re on to be relatively flat. Don’t fool yourself. Flat sections are indeed rare, and account for only a tiny percentage of a day’s walking.
  3. Walking in cold, blowing rain – regardless of how well prepared you are for it – is quite low on the fun-o-meter. It is best avoided.

Now that I’ve made mention of some of the less desirable parts of  the day, it seems only fair to spend some time talking about the things that made it amazing as well. 

When my partner Jill offered to walk a bit with me towards the very beginning of the day, I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted. But when she joined me after I had walked the first four miles alone, I was so thrilled to see her again! We got to say goodbye twice. That was a very good thing…

While the intermittent rain throughout the day was somewhat annoying, it brought something positive as well. Combined with new growth in the fields, forests and at the roadsides, its fragrance was intoxicating. The air was so heavy with the smells of an early summer rainy day, it appeared almost to have weight and texture. It is still in my senses as I write this, and will be carried with me for a very long time. 

Lastly, at the end of my long day of walking,  I had a surprise visit from my good friend Jeff. Out on his motorcycle, he stopped in to check on me and/or my condition. We got to chat for a bit while I inhaled some much needed food. Independence is a wonderful thing, and I look forward to spending time with my thoughts on this journey.  But it sure was nice to see a friendly face, even if I am only one day out. Thanks for checking on me, Jeff. It meant a lot…

Tomorrow promises to be another interesting day. In theory, I’ll move even more miles than I did today. We shall see. One way or another, I look forward to the challenges, the adventure and all of the events and occurrences that cannot be anticipated. A big thanks to everyone who waved at me through the course of the day, and who slid their vehicles over a bit to give me just a little more room on the side of the road. Very cool. See you out there…

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