Charles Updike was interviewed by Risa Olinsky, FreeWalkers Vice President, on what makes him walk and what it means to be a FreeWalker. Charles won the Outstanding Leadership Award this year.
Risa: How did you find and get involved in FreeWalkers?
Charles: As a solitary walker who would cover as much as thirty-five miles in a day, I was gradually losing interest in mostly traveling the already familiar routes close to home. I wanted to be able to go longer and to new vistas. In googling about for hiking routes near me in New Jersey, I stumbled onto precisely what I did not know I needed and more than I would have thought existed: a walking event of forty miles and an organization of beautifully peculiar people afflicted with a bit of the same itch I needed to scratch.
Risa: How has participating with FreeWalkers motivated you to walk longer distances and different places and/or in any other way?
Charles: Joining FreeWalkers on forty and fifty mile walks forced me to determine how to effectively manage such distances, so that walks of thirty miles or less are now more casual and recreational for me. FreeWalkers events have exposed me to some portions of New Jersey I only knew well from afar through my research work, and places beyond as well. And, somehow, I no longer find quite as many days to walk alone, which is not such a bad thing.
Risa: What would you describe as your most exciting experience with FreeWalkers? And why?
Charles: Long challenges and walks close to home have always appealed to me most. I now enjoy sharing my neck of the woods with FreeWalkers whenever I can, and have also found special delight or satisfaction in my three longest journeys with FreeWalkers: DC to West Virginia, Philly to Frenchtown, and Boston to New Hampshire.