Transcontinental walk

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A transcontinental walk involves crossing a continent on foot. If a walk does not technically cross the entire continent, but starts and ends in a major city right near two opposing sides of a continent, it is usually considered transcontinental. People have crossed continents walking alone or in groups.

Purpose[edit]

Some people have completed a transcontinental walk due to a whim or a bet. Others have attempted transcontinental expeditions for scientific study or exploration. Transcontinental marches have been organized to serve as a demonstration to attract interest in some topic.

Challenges[edit]

Depending on the continent to be crossed, different challenges arise. To cross Antarctica on foot, supplying provisions would have to be well-planned. Crossing any continent on foot is also a test of endurance and physical condition. People who do a crossing without support have to transport equipment, tent, food etc., on a carriage or sled. That is an extra challenge, compared to those who have car support.

North America[edit]

Charles Fletcher Lummis[edit]

In 1884, Charles Fletcher Lummis was working for a newspaper in Cincinnati when he was offered a job with the Los Angeles Times. Lummis decided to make the 3,500-mile journey from Cincinnati to Los Angeles on foot. He chronicled the 143 days of his journey, sending weekly dispatches to the newspaper. In spite of a broken arm and heavy snows in New Mexico, he finished the trip, and in 1892, his writings of the journey were published as a book, A Tramp Across the Continent.

John Hugh Gillis[edit]

In 1906, on a bet and a dare, John Hugh Gillis walked from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, British Columbia. He was the first person to cross Canada on foot.

Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament[edit]

In 1986, hundreds of people walked from Los Angeles to Washington DC in what is referred to as the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament. The march took nine months to traverse 3,700 miles (6,000 km), advancing approximately fifteen miles per day.

A Walk of the People - A Pilgrimage for Life[edit]

In 1984-85, about 12 people walked from California to New York City and then across Europe. Some participants of Walk of the People - A Pilgrimage for Life eventually rode a train to Moscow, Russia, after the 18-month project stalled in Hungary.

Australia[edit]

Australia has been host to a number of people who have walked across the country, who have completed the walk as either a personal challenge or to raise funds and awareness for charity.

Antarctica[edit]

Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition[edit]

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was an attempt from 1914 to 1917, to march across Antarctica, and was the last major expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

Europe[edit]

Trans-Europe Foot Race[edit]

In the Trans-Europe Foot Race, participants cross Europe on foot, although they are mainly running, not walking. It is a multiday race, and in 2003 crossed Europe from Lisbon to Moscow, with 21 finishers (not counting a wheelchair user). In 2009, it crossed Europe from Bari, Italy to North Cape, Norway in 64 days. It had 45 finishers. The participants have support with food, beverages and accommodation.

References[edit]

  • Thompson, Mark (2001). American Character: The Curious Life of Charles Fletcher Lummis and the Rediscovery of the Southwest. Arcade Publishing, New York, NY. ISBN 1-55970-550-7. 
  • Worsley, Frank A.: Endurance: An Epic of Polar Adventure W.W. Norton & Company, 1999 ISBN 0-393-31994-6