No typo. My longest walk so far was 51 days from Amsterdam to Bilboa. It was a over 1600 km and a bit over 1000 miles.
I gather your web site is about promoting local day walks in groups around where people live. My personal focus (or obsession really) is doing long trips on foot, mostly in Europe. The wrinkle in my case is I don't like trail walking through wilderness, as most long distance walkers seem to do (Appalachian Trail, etc.). I prefer walking from town to town on roads, and Europe is best for this. One way to describe what I do is I cycle, but without a bike. In other words I would walk the same kind of routes someone cycle touring might take. People usually assume traffic would be dangerous, but this is rarely the case. After all, if a road is safe enough for cycling it's even safer for walking, since you're facing traffic and can easily step off the road if there is no shoulder to walk on. I do walk on some trails, rails to trails and canal towpaths, and a lot of dirt roads and small single lane paved roads which are common in Europe, and have very little if any traffic.
I see from your profile that we have some things in common. I am an engineer with a background as a software developer. I formed a company many years ago with a partner and we sold civil engineering software to businesses and state DOTs. I retired in my late forties and began my walking in my mid fifties. I generaly do two trips a year. A big one in Europe in the spring and a smaller one in North America in the fall. I just got back from walking from Lubec, Maine to Boston. I've now done half the US east coast. I just need to walk New York to Jacksonville next fall to finish Lubec to Key West. If I do this in one go, it would be my longest walk. On this last trip I met Jim Gregoire on Highway 1 going north in Maine to his finish in Lubec. He's now completed the coast.
I would love to get other people doing what I do. I'm sure there are other fit, retired people who are done with trail hiking and carrying huge backpacks, but still love to walk and might enjoy walking as a way of travelling. I only carry about 3 kg of gear and stay in comfortable hotels. While I have done a number of Camino de Santiago routes I often navigate my own route using a smartphone and also book hotels along the way with my phone. Lately I've switched from Google Maps to Maps.me, which has excellent walking directions and shows more small roads and bike paths than Google. I used Maps.me for the first time on my walk last spring from Geneva to Pamplona, Spain.
I have a web site www.roadwalking.com that is an attempt to visually get across what I do and how I do it in case anybody else is interested. I tried to limit the amount of writing in favour of images, and in some cases short videos of my trips. My thinking is a picture is worth a thousand words. A focus was to show how very little gear and clothing can provide all the necessities of protection from the weather, if the right choices are made. Since it's hard enough on the body walking long distances for days on end, I want to make the experience as comfortable as possible.
For my trip next spring I plan to walk up the west coast of Italy from Sicily to Nice, France. Should be about 1400-1500 km.
Thanks, Paul. We look forward to working with you on the East Coast River Relay next fall. FreeWalkers has been such an amazing partner on all of the work on the East Coast Greenway. Thanks for your support!
I have to take my hat off to you for starting such a great organization!
Kathy and I had such a great time yesterday, it as great meeting everyone and walking for the first time with our friend Joyce. AND the 16 miles were a breeze, which makes us think that maybe we can do a 30 mile walk.
We look forward to our future walks with your organization.
We have a really busy schedule to remainder of this year and the first half of 2017, but we are looking forward to our next walk.
Two of the guys did it and completed it in 13 hours. Sadly I was unable to participate as my flight back from the Midwest was cancelled and I did not get home in time to hike. Those guys walked 6 hours in cold rain so I give them lots of credit!
June 17, 2017 - This event combined the history of the Roebling family (built the Brooklyn Bridge and many others) and their rise and fall and the town they created that represented an immigrant's dream 100-years ago.
Our 34 FreeWalkers continued another 13 miles to Trenton to experience a unique festival called Art All Night which offered a huge stage to experience live visual and audio art along with caravan of food trucks for 24-hours straight. The entire day was a unique and interesting experience in history and art.
Hudson River Loop
June 10, 2017 - It turned out to be a great day for a great event. Our largest event yet with 125 participants. Many making it all the way to the end of 30-miles. If there was any particular challenge it was the heat building up but with some breeze to help as it reached the mid-80s.
This year to accommodate more challengers we expanded the support providing improved signage and a support stop near the GWB. Our thanks to the Hudson River Walkway Conservancy, East Coast Greenway, Shorewalkers and Metrotrails for helping make this a huge success for FreeWalkers and our United Walking effort.
May 20, 2017 - Rain at the crack of dawn did nothing to stop 40+ FreeWalkers' at this 8th annual premier long distance event. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, mostly, and we had 11 finish the maximum 50-miles.
The walk from Metropark station to Penn Station NYC is a diverse challenge with many obstacles which draw the best of our long distance walkers.
April 15, 2017 - With a good temps but overcast skies 23. FreeWalkers walked the 12 miles from New Brunswick to Metropark station. This year's events included a new free bagel stop at Ruthie's in Highland Park and a great personal tour of the newly renovated Thomas Edison Center in Menlo Park.
April 8, 2017 - It was a beautiful day for a walk with a taste of spring. FourWalkers walked the 40 miles from Trenton and 29 walkers favored the shorter, yet challenging 28 miles from Princeton to New Brunswick.
March 19, 2017 - Eight FreeWalkers walked the 12-miles from Trenton to Princeton on a day when winter would not let go. Snow covered trail and cold temps slowed down the trek but sun and good spirits were plentiful.
March 4, 2017 - About 40 braved the mid-teens and walked across town to the tram. We explored the island and the FDR 4 Freedoms Monument and park. Eventually crossing the bridge to Queens for some middle-eastern sights, smells and tastes. Ending it all at the famous Czech Beer Hall.
February 4, 2017 - An event for history buffs and hardcore walkers. Our 4th walk along the C&O Canal in Maryland and West Virginia - just like Bobby Kennedy did in 1963. Chilly weather did not dampen the can-do spirit of 50 fellow walkers at our grand annual event.
January 28, 2017 - It's mid-winter and 75 hearty walkers show up at the Morristown train station. This year we went West to East and ended in a cozy bar called Coda. Special kudos to Madison Honda for their hospitatlity.
January 7, 2017 - The Midnight March was our first all-night walking event and first event for the new year. Six brave FreeWalkers played wannabe soldiers and stayed with the troops into battle.at daybreak. Read the entire story here See photos here
December 16, 2016 - About a dozen FreeWalkers braved extreme cold and outmaneuvered rabid fans of the famous Brooklyn neighborhood. Thanks to Nakis Pericleous for leading us to the holiday kingdom. See photos here
South Orange - Maplewood Walk & Year-end Party
December 4, 2016 - There were 35 FreeWalkers walking the grand and historic neighborhoods of South Orange and Maplewood followed by our year-end party and awards. Thanks to Risa Olinsky and David Ascher for a great day for a walk, celebration party and a start of the holiday season.. See photos here
Gobble-Gobble for MEND
November 25, 2016 - A crowd of about 40 walked off some turkey and at the same time helped the unfortunate in our communities by supporting MEND of Essex County - a food-bank charity that we support. Gobble-Gobble Walkers were asked to bring food and/or donate to help the hungry. See photos here
Stroll & Roll - Union County
November 6, 2016 - Familes and FreeWalkers enjoyed a great fall day in Echo Lake Park, Mountainside, NJ as we got about 200 participants strolling and rolling. Kids had as much fun as adults enjoying the games, mild temps and colorful leaves on our first-ever family walking event. Thank you sponsors and Risa Olinsky and Yohana Osorio for organizing! See photos here
Philadelphia Marathon Walk
October 30, 2016 - Charles Upkike led about 20 FreeWalkers along the route of the Philadelphia Marathon, know for its scenery - especially this time of year.
Legend of Sleepy Hollow Walk
October 30, 2016 - Rick Mohovich led about a dozen FreeWalkers around the Tarrytown area in a walk that passed through the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery of Wahington Irving fame.
Tour of Brooklyn - Coney Island
October 29, 2016 - 25 FreeWalkers walked from the New City waterfront to Coney Island on our annual tour of a different section of Brooklyn each year. Always popular and interesting, we enjoyed great weather and scenery as we walked the greenway trail, including under the Verrazano Bridge. Thanks leader Nancy Jonap! See photos here
Autumn on the Delaware Series
October 20-23, 2016 - Four consecutive days, 120 miles. Walking from York PA to Frenchtown. FreeWalkers walked in support of Jim Gregoire, a FreeWalker and man on a mission to walk the entire US East Coast. Charles Updike, FreeWalkers PA Regional director organized this series of walk to keep him company and provide a great reason to visit the Delaware River area. See photos here
Sailung Nepal Trek
October 3-16, 2016 - Two weeks trekking te foothills of the Himalayas. Sydney Frymire of Trek of Your Life (TOYL), a FreeWalker and experienced hiker and traveler organizes trips to Nepal which include a bit of volunteerism and plenty of incredible sights. See photos here
October 10, 2016 - On Columbus Day each year we brave the wilds of Essex County and travel through five reservations, 8 parks a dozen or so towns as we walk from Millburn to Cedar Grove, Montclair and Newark as we follow the Lenape Trail for 34 miles in our most diverse walk. See photos here
Endless Summer Walk
September 24, 2016 - Once again we tried our best to hold on to summer and made a 30-mile trek along the bayshore and oceanside from Matawan to Sandy Hook to Asbury Park. Great conditions again this year for a beautiful walk and one of our most popular. See photos here
Tour of Boston
September 17, 2016 - Fran Price, our FreeWalker leader in Boston, put together a great tour of the highlights of Boston. We walked from South Boston to Copley Square, mostly following the water and the historic trail.
See photos here
Providence - Boston Expedition
Providence to Boston July 23 to July 29 - Loredana, Ken and Nancy have finished thier 110 mile week-long expedition on the ECGA.