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THE START

The Walk organizers held a 2-day orientation at Patton’s Pit in Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades. Over 100 people, introduced themselves, the route of the walk was outlined and its organization discussed. Teams were established for food preparation, hauling and cleaning the porta-potties, transportation, security, special events; and leadership roles were defined.

The Walkers were a diverse group in age, background, education, and race. The youngest Walker, a 6-month old girl, went the whole 17.8 miles on the first day, although she did it in a stroller. The oldest Walker was a 77-year old man. (He went most of the way, taking only a few days off out of the entire 53. He couldn’t sleep on the ground because his arthritis would have made it impossible for him to get up, so he slept on the seat of his car.) A Miami High School environmental club came out the first weekend and returned for each of the next 6 weekends.

Most of the Walkers were from Florida, but some came from states as far away as Oklahoma, Vermont, and Oregon. They came also from other countries: Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.