A long walk to Canada

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They made it: Freewalkers Ken Kurland, Loredana Delucchi, and Nancy Jonap crossed over to Canada on August 6, 2018, completing their walk from New York City through weekly segments for the last handful of years. They're shown here in St. Stephen, Canada, with John Ames, tourism, heritage, culture, sport, and parks minister; Allan MacEachern, mayor of St. Stephen; and a very friendly local moose.

Three FreeWalkers complete their trip up the 'American Camino' from New York City to St. Stephen, New Brunswick along the East Coast Greenway

In early August 2018, Nancy Jonap, Ken Kurland, and Loredana Delucchi completed the final leg of the East Coast Greenway walk they've been taking over recent years, from New York City to Canada. It wasn't always easy, of course, but they shared their appreciation for the Greenway for enabling their journey. "Without the East Coast Greenway, we would have never experienced one of the most beautiful adventures of our lives," says Delucchi.

Portland Press Herald story on why Ken Kurland walks

Read earlier accounts of their walk

She remembers one girl she talked to along the way who had no idea the Greenway existed and that it goes right by her house. "With shining eyes she said, 'My mom is walking the Appalachian trail right now. One day I can bike the East Coast Greenway!'" Delucchi says.

Below is the letter Delucchi gave to St. Stephen Mayor Allan MacEachern, who welcomed the group to Canada.

FreeWalker Loredana Delucchi handmade this bear and presented it to the mayor of St. Stephen, just across the river from Calais, bearing a Canadian penny in its pouch.

August 6, 2018

Handmade by me with love, this bear’s name is Gratitude. In his small pouch he carries a Canadian penny.

Thank you, Mayor Allan MacEachern, for being so gracious in allowing me to return a Canadian penny that magically appeared in my life.

I was on a walk with a group called FreeWalkers. We had been walking the East Coast Greenway for several hours and just as I was saying, "Wouldn’t it be nice to keep walking all the way to Canada?’"my friend, Ian Hochstead, picked up a coin from the ground and said, "Look Loredana! It’s a Canadian penny." I took that as my ‘go ahead sign’ and right there decided I was going to walk the Greenway from New York City to Canada to return the penny.

I’ve done the walk with my friends Ken Kurland and Nancy Jonap. Together we have traveled through paths of magnificent beauty and experienced many unforgettable moments. Today, like the thousands of pilgrims who walk El Camino and are happy to arrive in Santiago, we are filled with joy to have arrived in St. Stephen — Canada’s chocolate town. This was our ‘American Camino’ and we couldn’t have dreamed of a sweeter ending, in every sense of the word.

With the Canadian penny you will find a New York City subway coin – also no longer in circulation. The coin is an invitation for residents of St. Stephen to explore the East Coast Greenway to New York or even further, to Florida.

I commend you, Mayor MacEachern, for your actions to connect the Canada’s Great Trail with the East Coast Greenway in the U.S. The international connection of these two trails is a beautiful gift you are giving to current and future generations. And what a great destination St. Stephen will be for those who will be traveling these amazing paths!

I wish you and everyone in St. Stephen a joyful future. May you all continue getting out and enjoying the great outdoors.

With sincere gratitude,

Loredana C. Palmerini Delucchi

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