Walking Across Continents and Around the World

Ole Oleson and Helene Viel

Around the World in Stages

The Walking Man, Gary Hause, is walking around the world in stages. He's made it across America in 87 days and across Europe in 147 days. Next leg is to tackle Asia. For his Europe trek in winter 1999/2000, he took along a small computer and emailed dispatches.

O Canada!

I attended a Canadian Volkssport Federation Annual General Meeting when Ole Oleson was elected President.

He said he was happy to serve, but they had to realize that he wouldn't be serving forever, he had plans to walk through Canada touching all three oceans.

Ole Olson and Helen Viel left Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean on 30 March 2000 bound for St. John's, Newfoundland by way of the Pacific coast, in the longest sanctioned volkssport event ever. Their journey began on ice roads along the Arctic Ocean and they made 561 kilometers in the first 15 days, harrowed by icy winds that cut like razor blades. Their support vehicle is a travel trailer. Volkssport walkers were welcome to come walk with them at any point for 10 kilometers to earn IVV credit. They made it - three weeks ahead of their schedule, finishing on Tuesday, November 13, 2000.

Around the World

Some people make the ultimate sacrifice in their attempts. Dave and John Kunst left Waseca, Minnesota with a pack mule named Willie Makeit on June 20, 1970.

Only Dave returned, on October 5, 1974, the first person verified to have circled the land mass of the earth on foot. John Kunst was shot and killed by bandits half way around the world in Afghanistan on October 21, 1972. Dave continued after recovering from his own wounds from the attack, joined by a third brother, Pete.

They crossed India and on to Australia. By this time they were on their third Willie Makeit mule and when that one died in the Australian desert, an Australian school teacher named Jenni Samuel volunteered to tow their wagon with her car. She and Dave fell in love and were married after the walk ended, 21 pairs of shoes and 20 million steps from the beginning.

Crossing Continents with a Cross

John Edwards is an evangelist and has walked the length of Ireland and the length of Britain. Now he feels called to walk the length of the USA from Los Angeles to Washington DC carrying a 12-foot cross, beginning in April 1999 and planning to reach DC in October. Given his previous experiences, he may well make it. On his previous excursions, he averaged 25 miles a day. His experiences along the way are listed on The Voice of the Addict Online.

Arthur Blessit is the current champion for walking around the world carrying a full-scale cross.

A Walk Across America

Peter Jenkins gave many people the walking bug from the account of A Walk Across America in the '70s. His books are classics, with his journeys being explorations into the lives of common people in many situations as well as grueling days on the road through all climates.

Since walking across the USA, he has walked through China and other destinations.


Long distance trails lend themselves to the challenge of thru-hiking. The Appalachian Trail on the east coast of the USA is the most accessible and well developed in many areas, but still a great challenge. Readers thoroughly enjoyed Bill Bryson's recent bestseller on his attempt, gloriously failed, to thru-hike the AT, A Walk in the Woods. The Appalachian Trail is 2000 miles of rugged hiking, and 2500 people attempt it each year with only 1 in 10 succeeding.

Colin Fletcher inspired many walkers as well with his journeys the length of California in The Thousand Mile Summer and through the Grand Canyon A Walk Through Time.

His The Compleat Walker is the bible for gearing up and training for long distance hiking.

The Pacific Crest Trail is more rugged, attains higher altitudes and has fewer facilities than the AT, with 2650 rugged miles from Mexico to Canada. People take the challenge for various reasons - as a personal challenge, as a charity fund-raiser. The Pacific Crest Trail Association website links to their journals.

Related articles
The Walking Man Gary Hause walks the world in stages.
Dave Kunst EarthWalker14450 miles from Minnesota and back.
Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hikers Journals

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