On The Road For Hope
August 23, 2008
Shortly after 8 a.m., under a bright blue sky and a temperature already approaching 70 degrees, the walkers set off from the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. With an honor guard of local members of the Knights of Columbus escorting the students through the center of the city, local residents paused to watch the procession pass.
Walking two-by-two, the participants discussed their summer activities with one another, and previewed the days ahead. Over the course of the next seven days, some 130 miles will be covered.
Each day of the trek, a local charity is presented with a donation raised by the walkers. Overnight accommodations are provided by churches, campgrounds and service organizations based along the route. Logistical support for the students is provided by the Office of Campus Ministry and student volunteers.
Many of the students have set aside a portion of their summer vacation to prepare for the walk by acclimating their body to walking with their travel pack — within which each participant must carry their personal belongings for the duration of the trip.
Within an hour, the group had already left the city of Lewiston and moved into the countryside. Traveling down a wooded side road, many passing cars would slow to wave, honk with encouragement, or flash a thumbs up to the walkers.
Road For Hope Walkers Enter New Hampshire: Wednesday, August 27
The Road For Hope walkers are quickly approaching the New Hampshire border town of Rochester. I met up with them as they took a break from their walk for lunch on Wednesday, August 27 in Lebanon, Maine.
Under the refreshing shade provided by a large tree, with a warm but constant breeze blowing through, the medical and support staff dolled out sandwiches, fresh water, and foot care.
Walkers unclipped from their packs, and shed their footwear. Although some have required basic medical care, all appeared upbeat and enjoying the time spent with their classmates under the bright blue sky.
The walkers reach their destination for today shortly after crossing the river into New Hampshire. Early tomorrow morning, their walk continues through New Hampshire as they move closer one day closer to campus.
After 130 Miles By Foot, Road For Hope Returns To Campus: Saturday, August 30
After walking for seven days, and covering approximately 130 miles, the participants in the 2008 Road For Hope have returned to campus. With a police escort up Saint Anselm Drive, screams and singing could be heard coming from the group before they were visible at the main entrance to campus.
Families, friends, and fellow students stood anxiously at the edge of campus for the arrival. With signs, flowers and cameras in hand the walkers were greeted as they briefly paused at the main entrance to the college for a photo. Singing, the group then proceeded past the Abbey Church, Alumni Hall and descended to the middle of campus where even more family and friends had gathered.
Visit our Flickr page for a sampling of images captured throughout the walk.