Walk completed August 28, 2011


I could not have done a 1200 mile walk without a bunch of help. While it’s not possible to acknowledge everyone who made the walk possible, some folks deserve recognition.

First of all, thanks and credit go to my wife, Janet. Janet not only provided moral support and put up with books and maps spread out on every surface of our home for 18 months – including trails of maps running down hallways between rooms – but more importantly she was instrumental in my recovery after surgery. She often cajoled me to go outside and walk when I really wanted to sit in my recliner and vegetate. I could not have recovered as rapidly as I did without her help.

The medical team who convinced me to abandon my plans to attempt the walk in 2010 and who repaired my heart valve so I could do the walk in 2011 include, in alphabetical order, Peter Birnbaum, MD (consultant); Luis Castro, MD (cardiac surgeon); Edward Hanks, MD (cardiologist); Shamsuddin Khwaja, MD, (consultant); and Kevin Wingert, MD (primary care). Perhaps convincing me to defer the walk was the more difficult task, although I can’t offer an opinion on the difficulty of the surgery since I was asleep at the time. I am indebted to Dr. Castro for repairing the valve rather than replacing it, because that decision dispensed with the need for blood thinners which would have complicated the walk – not to mention my life. Having done the walk, I now know that their advice was well-given; I could not have done the walk in 2010 with my leaky heart valve.

George and Ann Smith provided incredible help with planning logistics, and provided a home away from home at just the right time. In the early days of the walk when I was really feeling the effect of fatigue, I often looked forward to the day when I would be meeting up with them. I am grateful to them for their help.

Ann Stewart also provided me a home away from home at two different times. Oddly enough, the refuge she provided after I completed the walk was the most valuable, because only then did I realize how physically and mentally exhausted I was. A full day relaxing in her lovely home helped me more than she or I realized at the time. Thank you, Ann.

Planning and execution would have been much more difficult were it not for the LEJOGers who came before me. They not only inspired me, but I found consolation in the blogs I followed in 2010 after having abandoned my own plans. Their personal emails and blog comments were especially welcomed during that disappointing time. Among them (alphabetically, and I know I’m omitting somebody) are Andy and Alfie, Steve Clifford, Richard Davis, Jack Frost, Don Gray, Geoff King, Daryl May, Mark Moxon, John Parsons, Pete and Gyp, Gary Qualter and Russ Whitmore.

Finally, I want to thank all of my friends in the Outback Hiking Club of Southern Utah who took me on stamina-rebuilding hikes following my surgery. They put up with my dragging along without so much of a hint that I was slowing them down or that I should take easier hikes. I like to think they did so for reasons other than my lost puppy look.