Walking for Water

Man can go a number of days without food, but he cannot survive without water – clean water.

Television programs of old westerns and the like show family members – usually the women and children – hauling water from a river or lake up to the cabin. But those shows cannot reflect the amount of actual work involved in such a venture.

A single gallon of water weighs nine pounds! Imagine carrying five or even 10 gallons of water every day.

James Leitner

Environmentalist and outdoors-man James Leitner is walking across the United States – a total of 3,200 miles – carrying a “light” backpack of gear weighing 38 pounds while pulling 10 gallons – 90 pounds – of water to raise awareness about the need for clean water and to raise money for areas like Tanzania where clean water is desperately needed.

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James began his journey on May 17 in Princeton, New Jersey and will spend the next four to six months crossing the country, including a stop in Canada, and passing through numerous cities including Buffalo, Flint, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, and ending his journey in San Francisco. James has chosen to walk through the Rocky Mountains instead of adding an additional six to seven hundred miles to his journey to walk around them by passing through the desert.

Planning to walk six to seven hours a day, James is not worried about traveling solo. He is used to walking alone and plans to avoid walking on major highways and freeways. James said that he has loaded up plenty of his favorite tunes, has a Sudoku book – with the hardest puzzles he could find — and a few books to keep him occupied in his downtime. James is also carrying a couple of personal solar panels to keep his devices charged.


Obviously, with a cross country trip with no trail car, James cannot carry enough food for the whole trip. He said that he will carry enough food – including plenty of his favorite peanut butter – to last a few days at a time and shop along the way. James said that his diet will consist of around 4,500 calories per day. He is also depending on friends along the way for a soft spot to sleep and hotels when possible.

The journey is a long one, but James has planned out every step of the way and is no stranger to making long treks. He has completed 12 marathons in a 12-month period.

Once the journey is completed, James plans on flying back home.

For more information about what James Leitner is doing, to help out, or to just see how far he has progressed on his journey…


photos courtesy of HyPR


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