The idea for the Lenape34 walk grew out of the success of the NJ2NY50 (aka, "The Big Walk"), a 50-mile walk which took place on May 23, 2010. Paul Kiczek, with the help of other enthusiasts, and the East Coast Greenway (a 3,000 mile marked, multiuse trail along the U.S. East Coast), charted a 50-mile suburban trail for the event from Metropark to New York City. The event utilized mostly the ECG and a section of the Liberty Water Gap Trail in Newark and Jersey City.
Steve Marano, the coordinator for the Liberty Water Gap Trail (a 130-mile trail running east-to-west across New Jersey), was one of 70+ participants in the NJ2NY50 walk, He saw an opportunity to bring attention and focus energies toward the LWGT with our group hiking/walking the Essex County 34 mile segment called the Lenape Trail.
The date we planned was the Columbus Day holiday which has significance for the discovery of America. But, no real discussion of our ancestry or origins is complete without thinking about those that lived in this land before we did - the "Indians" (or Native Americans). And for this area of the country they were the Lenape Indians, part of the Algonquin nation. Although they were known as a peaceful and wise tribe, after cooperating with colonists at first, they were eventually forced to move west to reservations and give up this land. While history cannot be changed, we can still show respect for the land they left behind in our care. Thus we have named the walk "The Origins Walk" to give thought and honor to all that came before us.
On Monday, October 11, 2010, Columbus Day, the FreeWalkers held our first LENAPE34 event. Over 60 individuals joined us, each with aspirations to reach their own goal. We started with 39 walkers in Millburn and ended with 7 walkers having reached the ultimate goal of 34 miles by the end of the day. Many walkers joined us along the way and most either reached or came close to achieving what they set out to do. See the Log for the LENAPE34 for more details on the actual event.
We hope our event has brought renewed attention to the Lenape Trail as a wonderful public recreational resource that deserves attention and recognition. Each year since, we repeat this walk on the official Columbus Day holiday. We welcome all to join us and share in the adventure of a unique all-day hike.All FreeWalker events, such as the LENAPE34, are a unique blend of personal challenge, physical endurance, friendly atmosphere and welcome acceptance of everyone.