KING’S COVE, NL — Tom Walsh says he’s not much of a walker.
The 63-year-old King’s Cove man doesn’t do it a whole lot on a day-to-day basis.
But this past Christmas Day, he told the Packet he wanted to set a personal challenge to walk from his home in King’s Cove to Bonavista hospital to visit his 93-year old father, Lewis Walsh.
That isn’t to say he didn’t do his due diligence before leaving.
For safety’s sake, Tom checked the weather and informed several people he knew might be on the road, Route 235, the day he was doing it. And he also advised that everyone must take care when walking on the highway.
“I don’t take no chances with the weather for some foolishness like this,” Tom said with a smile.
Before he left on his 30-plus kilometre trek he took an extra pair of joggers, a couple changes of socks, some water (which froze solid before he could drink it) and a couple of chocolates in his pocket.
The journey took him about six hours, leaving around 10:30 a.m. and arriving around 4:30 p.m. just as it was getting dark.
While several cars stopped or slowed down to see if needed a ride, he waved them all along.
He didn’t have to walk to Bonavista. His sister could’ve given him a ride that day to the hospital. Their father, who is originally from Plate Cove West, was admitted a couple of days before after feeling ill with the flu and was expected to be discharged shortly after the holidays.
Tom says it was a hard journey that stemmed from people he heard of years ago who would walk for charity.
Eli Pardy, an old friend of his dad’s, would do walkathons for charity — walking about 20 miles a day.
Years ago, Pardy even stayed with them overnight before the last leg of a walk to Bonavista.
That feat stuck in Tom’s head leading up to the days before Christmas this past year.
Over the journey, he got a few muscle cramps, and while he knew he could “abort the mission” at any time when someone drove by, he stayed the course and saw his dad at the hospital. Tom’s sister gave him a ride back to King’s Cove that evening.
Tom says he has no agenda or cause for doing the walk. He just decided to challenge himself.
And when he sees young people out in the community and walking, he says it’s certainly a good thing.