Typically, we walk to the store or to school and work as long as it is not too far, the weather is nice and we have the time. But on Sept. 30, one woman will journey on foot from her home in Evanston, Ill. to The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay.
“A couple years ago my mother moved away from Door County, after having lived there for almost 20 years, and I found myself questioning what my own connections were to this place,” said Siobhan Drummond. “I have driven this route a hundred times in my life, and I wondered what it would be like to get out of the car and walk. I started playing around with the idea and the more I looked at how it might be done, the more curious I became.”
The 275-mile walk will take 27 days, including a few days of rest along the way. Drummond will hug Lake Michigan’s shoreline, passing through Milwaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc on the way north. She plans to walk about three miles per hour, covering approximately 12 miles per day.
“When I first started planning this walk, I wasn’t thinking of it as any kind of physical challenge,” said Drummond. Originally veering away from the idea of “training,” she simply began walking more. But as the journey approached, Drummond began refining her practice to include fast-paced walks with a hiking club in Chicago, a core strength class and using a weighted backpack during her travels around town. She even completed the Door County Half Marathon in May.
With the training in the books, she now turns to other challenges she expects to face upon hitting the road.
“There are other things that are going to be very different,” said Drummond. “Being away from home for a month, living somewhat in public, being technically temporarily homeless with none of my usual responsibilities. But I’m also anticipating being surprised. I may learn something altogether different, something I’m not yet capable of expecting.”
Drummond has participated at The Clearing for 12 years, and two classes she took recently helped birth the idea for this walk. A watercolor journaling course with Marilyn Brandenburger and a writing workshop with Robert Vaughn pushed her interest of great walks and pilgrimage even further until she hatched this idea of her own.
Upon reaching The Clearing on Oct. 26, Drummond will participate in Walk to Work Week, helping to clean up The Clearing and prepare for the winter season. In addition to donating her time, Drummond is also using the walk to raise funds for The Clearing’s Forge/Metal Studio Fund.
There are three days in the journey that Drummond invites anyone to come and walk with her: the 10.1-mile leg from Zion, Ill. to Kenosha, Wis. on Oct. 3; the 10-mile leg from Cedarburg to Port Washington on Oct. 10; and the 10.2-mile stretch through Peninsula State Park on Oct. 25.
Those interested in joining Drummond for these legs can visit her blog at walktoworkweek.wordpress.com/route and click on the correct day. The blog also has a donation page where all donations will go to the Forge/Metal Studio Fund. Drummond will be covering all of her own travel expenses.
Jackson Parr will walk with Siobhan Drummond upon her arrival in Fish Creek near the end of her journey. Read a feature on Siobahn’s journey in the Oct. 30 issue of the Pulse.