The First Leg

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One of the complicating factors associated with planning this long walk is that of the 3154 miles on the trail, there are 6 that are “un-walkable” for 364 days a year: those going across the Chesapeake Bay.  But … once a year there’s a sponsored Walk Across the Bay.  The southern span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is closed for about 6 hours, and it makes for a very nice 10K run/walk.

So, on November 8 of this year, I joined about 22,000 close friends on a gorgeous, sunny day to walk over the bridge.  A light breeze from the west was surely an omen of good things to come.

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Odd as it sounds, I had an overwhelming sense of realism as I started the walk.  While I won’t begin the full Long Walk Home for over a year, the Walk Across the Bay was, for all intents and purposes, my first leg.  Those 6 miles, when added to the 3148 I’ll complete in 2017, would make the long line from Atlantic to Pacific complete.  And while my walk across the Bay went west to east (from Westinghouse Bay to Stevensville) there’s no questioning that the path I trod was a critical link in the chain I would spend 7 months building.

I finished in one hour and forty five minutes.  In fact, it took longer to ride the shuttle bus back over the Bridge than it did to walk the span.  I was finisher number 18896 out of 21030.  I passed 182 other participants and I was passed by 565 (I didn’t count … that’s what the official web site for the Walk emailed me later that day!).  The walk itself was fine.  Nice views, but after about 45 minutes, quite honestly, it got pretty boring.  Sky above, water below … more sky above, more water below.  As I approached the finish I felt I’d checked an important box.  With about 200 more legs to go, I’d finished Leg One.

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