There is a reason for everything and we feel we have defined our reasons for undertaking this hike in the list here.
- To bring attention to Fresh Water and the need to understand and protect one of the two greatest and most important resources on earth (the other being air).
We believe this is the next great issue for the world and bottled water will not solve it. What we see is what we have and will always have. The quality of it depends upon each of us. As Benjamin Franklin said, "When the well is dry, [then] we know the worth of water.” Lake Superior is the “canary in the coal mine," according to Jay Austin, a climatologist at the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. Based on historical data of the temperature and water levels of the Lake, it is 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was a century ago and “most of that warming happened recently," within 25 years or so, according to Austin.
- To create a scientific and historical benchmarking record that can be used as a standard for future looks at the land use and current status of Lake Superior’s shore. See Research.
- To emphasize the benefits of keeping active as an aging American - both for health and for a continuing commitment to the significant issues that will affect future generations. As Americans in their sixties who have dedicated their lives to nature and environmental education, this walk is meant to demonstrate to our peers as well as other age groups that aging does not necessarily prevent you from undertaking challenging and lofty adventures/tasks.
- To set an example for our grandchildren and future generations.
We want to make a bold statement and set a strong example; to let them know that we are thinking about their future, and want to make every effort to ensure that their future will include healthy natural resources. And as in #3, we want to demonstrate to them, that dreams are possible – not always easy, but if one is committed and puts effort into them, they can come true. We also want them to understand that as U.S. citizens, we should demonstrate our commitment to future generations we will not live to see.
- To meet the people who live on the lake and talk to them about their lives and changes they’ve seen.
One would assume that they above all others are concerned about the Lake’s current and continued health. They have stories to share about changes they’ve seen occur on and in the Lake.
The support team will set up meetings with newspapers along the way, as well as interviews for local radio and television spots. In some communities we hope to give talks to the public using our adventure as a means of conveying our concerns and the challenges for water resources in the future.
There will be school groups monitoring our progress by internet, and a Hamline University on-line course for people who want to interact with us and share our knowledge and our observations of the lake.
- To document the physical changes in our own bodies.
Related to #3, we believe this walk could also serve as a body of information related to geriatric medicine and health. Walking has been overwhelmingly described as the best form of exercise. It is something everyone, of every age can do, but especially for seniors it is a form of exercise that does not require special equipment or fees or locations. It is beneficial in almost any distance. A hike, such as this one is an altogether different physical challenge and we would like to document changes in cardiovascular health, bone density, body mass index, weight, and blood pressure. It will also determine the effect on old joints.
- Finally – many people dream of undertaking one big adventure in their lives.
For us that adventure will be a walk around the greatest of all lakes, the largest of lakes with 1/10th of the world’s freshwater; a hike equal to walking from Duluth to Miami.