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It’s clearly Think About Hiking day—this morning, I first read this great Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette roundup of fantastic hikes to take this winter (or heck, anytime). And then had the great pleasure of listening to the recounting of Robert Kennedy being “bullied” into a 50-mile February hike by his older brother and boss from Washington, DC toward Camp David.

It’s a great story of Kennedy’s iron determination and commitment to his brother’s office, and it kicked off an American obsession with walking 50 miles that spread to Europe. But as his then-Administrative Assistant James Symington told how Kennedy’s Newfoundland, along for the hike, kept knocking Symington into the C&O Canal, I was suddenly imagining this hike taking place along the Hennepin Canal State Trail, or the I&M Canal State Trail.

What would it take for a walk along these historic waterways to inspire a state to get outdoors, moving under one’s own power? Maybe a challenge from our president could do it—I don’t really know. I do know that I’m feeling inspired. I’m going to get a 50-mile hike in this summer. Kennedy’s walk lasted 17+ hours—a long day, but only one long day. Maybe September. Maybe Tunnel Hill in October? I’ll invite you to join me, unless you invite me first.  

Courtesy Friends of the Hennepin Canal

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