Cross-country hiker passes through Rockford - – Rockford’s News Leader

Cross-country hiker passes through Rockford


A Massachusetts woman is on the journey of a lifetime, traveling across the country on foot.  Only a third of the way done with her journey, Nancy Fitzpatrick  entered Rockford city limits Sunday.

"For some reason when I turned 60, I was all of the sudden really aware that I wasn't going to live forever, and I decided to mark my 65th birthday with some kind of epic act," says Nancy.  

Nancy decided she would walk more than 35,00 miles, from Massachusetts to Oregon.  "I wanted something that would be physically active, and would give me a chance to reflect," she says.  

Nancy chose US Route 20 as her path of choice. "It goes from Boston to Newport, Oregon,  sea to shining sea. And it has a lot of history. The things that happened along Route 20 really tell the tale of our country."

Along for the journey is Nancy's husband, Lincoln Russell.  But he's not walking, Lincoln follows Nancy by car, helping to coordinate her route.

"I'm glad it's not my feet walking across America, it's hard enough driving across America," says Lincoln.

But he says, there's no place he'd rather be.  "To see America step by step, town by town, its a different kind of trip. It's really a privilege."

Nancy walks an average of 10 miles each day. Her Monday morning route begins at the corner of Marvin St. and Green St.

West State Street construction has forced all traffic, including cross country hikers, to detour a few blocks south. But Nancy's journey will soon continue west on US 20 towards Freeport.

She won't complete the walk all at once, she'll take a break on occasion to return home.  

"My mother is 89 and I can't just disappear for 2 years. And also I don't want to do this in a way that's not fun," says Nancy.

Nancy has been documenting her entire journey on her Facebook page and website.

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