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What is The LENAPE34: "The Origins Walk"?

"The Origins Walk”, or LENAPE34, is a one-day distance walk along the Lenape Trail, a section of the Liberty Water Gap Trail that starts in Millburn, New Jersey and ends in Newark, encouraging public participation. Our objective is to walk about 34 miles through various woodlands, parks, communities and commercial areas that surround urban and suburban sections of our metropolitan region.

This is a joint effort of individuals and pro-pedestrian organizations to build awareness of recreational resources, health and fitness, livable communities and alternative transportation options. This walk is being organized by the FreeWalkers and will take place on the Columbus Day Monday holiday. We thank the Liberty Water Gap Alliance, the New Jersey Trail Conference, Essex County Park Commission and Montclair Bike&Walk for their assistance.

The Lenape Indians were the original inhabitants of this area we live in and occupants of much of the surrounding areas. They were a peaceful tribe that learned to live with the colonists who began to inhabit the land after Columbus discovered America. While the Lenape Trail is not a specific native american trail, parts of it were used and shared by natives and settlers. In some cases, it was the trail or road that helped establish the communities. In other cases, the unique geography of the area helped define what became urban and suburban versus what remains as a protected natural environment.

Why are you doing this type of event?

The event provides a way for the general public to participate together in a large-scale form of exercise while visiting a variety of communities and unique areas from a closer vantage point. In opening up more areas to pedestrian traffic we are demonstrating an alternative vision that can help guide future urban/suburban planning projects.

Distance walking and pedestrianism is as old as mankind. It is as a result of our dependence on automobiles and other forms of transportation that our society has changed the look of its communities. In more recent times, commercial business and roads have marginalized our communities and caused us to limit the use of self-propelled travel. There are health and societal implications to our past policies. The walk follows a national movement to consider pedestrian traffic (walking and cycling) in all community and transportation projects.

Finally, walking a long distance is a unique physical challenge. It takes time, patience and preparation. Each indvidual can set their own challenge and feel satisfied that they have accomplished something out of the ordinary.

Who can participate in the LENAPE34 event?

Everyone! The walk is open to any individual. Keep in mind that this is not a race and the main group of walkers expect to finish in 13 hours. This assumes being able to walk at a fairly brisk pace, with some rest stops along the way. That represents an average of about 3 mph or less due to the varied terrain. Advance groups may not wait for walkers that cannot stay with their pace.

To accommodate various skills and fitness levels, participating walkers can meet up with the walk at various designated points along the route. The Mountain Ave train station on Upper Montclair, for example, is along our trail and you might consider either dropping off or joining at that oint. We will be posting a schedule of times where we anticipate the group will be passing various locations so you can plan ahead. You might want to consider setting a shorter walk objective of, say, 1 mile, 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles or 25 miles. It will be the responsibility of the walker to find transportation back to their home or starting point. The route is designed to promote the use of public transportation, such as NJ Transit trains, to assist you in getting to the event and back home.

Does it cost anything to participate in the walk?

No. This walking event is open to the general public and is supported by the Liberty Water Gap Trail and other organizations and volunteers for the sole purpose of providing a rewarding physical experience to the participants and to build awareness of pro-pedestrian issues. Walkers should be prepared by bringing their own food and supplies or be prepared to pay for them along the way.

We now also ask for a voluntary small donation of $5-$10 per person that goes directly to support walks such as this. You should register as a participant when online registration becomes available. Registered participants get the latest event information and will be able to set their own walking goals. After the walk, the results will be posted in detail for registered walkers and tallied with others for the total miles walked that day.

How long does the walk take? Where do I start and finish?

The route will start at ore near the Millburn train station in Millburn, NJ and finish at Penn Station in Newark and so will be conveniently located near NJ Transit transportation for assistance. While final details are not yet available, you can expect the first 34-mile walkers to begin near sunrise and finish after sunset. We expect the lead group to finish in about 12 hours (assuming breaks along the way) and most others to finish within 13.5 hours. If you would like to walk a shorter distance we will have various other opportunities to join in along the route.

You should assume a pace of about 2.5-3 miles per hour on average. The trail is fairly well marked with Lenape trail marks (blazes) along the way. But, because of the changing terrain, following our map will be necessary. Some of trail we will cover for this walk is in high elevations (few hundred feet) near the first half of the walk and may be more strenuous than the 2nd half which is flat and mostly on sidewalk or pavement but may be in the dark. Overall, the entire walk is considered difficult due to its length and variety of surfaces. Also, due to the time of the year weather and amount of daylight should be considered in your plans.

What if I can’t make it all the way?

Walkers should plan in advance. They should know bus locations and train stations that are located along their route and also have a local taxi number available. Their will be no support available if a walker cannot finish their selected distance. Remember, that walking 34 miles is a difficult physical task that requires a great deal of stamina. If in doubt, you should consider one of our shorter distance goals and have a contingency plan.

There are no SAG support services planned. We ask that you still try to develop a self-sufficient plan or carpool with someone else for shorter segment walks. There usually is carpooling options among the walkers, especially in the first half of the walk. Check with us if you need or are willing to provide carpooling.

What happens if it rains or we experience other bad weather conditions?

The event will be cancelled if the weather is bad. At this time of the year, heavy rains may cause a cancellation. Check back at the event website for final details near the day of the event.

I’m not used to walking that long a distance. How can I train for the event?

While we expect many serious amateur athletes that already walk, run for recreation or even do marathons and triathlons, there are very few that have taken on this type of challenge. The main difference in a distance walk is the length of time and the number of repetitious steps. Most marathoners will complete a run in less than 5 hours.

While walking is a much less intense form of exercise, this is nearly one and half times the distance, twice times the length of time and many more times the footsteps. The most common reason to not complete the distance is exhaustion and/or blisters and foot problems. These can be avoided by proper hydration, nutrition and carefully considering the right shoes. Even so, walking this distance is a difficult task. An adult in good physical shape, perhaps as a recreational runner, should be able to complete at least 25 miles.

For a 34-mile walk, the best form of training is to practice walking by starting a planned program of walking near your home and slowly building, week by week, to at least a 25 mile loop. There is specific information on training for the event available on this website under "Tips" and look for more information in the weeks ahead. But, until then, why not start walking now?