ó Luke Baylor walks more than 50 miles every week.
miles every day to work at Amazon.com in the South Lake Union
neighborhood where he works as a technical writer and another
3 miles back home to the Fremont neighborhood, where he lives
with his cousin and his cousinís wife. A visit to his sisterís
house on the other side of Lake Union takes him another 5
miles, and a round trip to see friends who live near the cityís
Green Lake adds 8 more.
Baylor logs 20 miles a day ó but heís not walking alone.
Heís among 10 percent of Seattleites whose feet serve as a
primary mode of transportation.
are always interesting things going on when youíre walking
if youíre willing to slow down a little bit and take
everything in," he said. "At first it was a little
unnerving because I was a little anxious about it, like
God, itís going to take forever to walk this far.í But you
just accept the fact that all you have to do is put one foot
in front of the other for a while and eventually youíll get
37, estimates that he has been walking long distances for the
last five or 10 years. Itís a natural extension of his love
for foraging, the practice of finding wild fruits, berries,
nuts, mushrooms and other edible plants. "I would be
walking and lose track of time and realize that Iíd walked
20 miles harvesting fruits," he said.
Baylor, foraging takes the shape of walks around Seattle, as
well as longer backpacking trips to places like the Hoh Rain
Forest, a national park in western Washington State, where
Baylor likes to hunt for mushrooms, even in the rain.
realized how much he was walking, Baylor got a pedometer and
began to challenge himself to walk more. Itís a real-life
version of David Sedarisí New Yorker article "Stepping
out: Living the Fitbit Life." Like Sedaris, Baylor
measures how many steps he takes daily on a Fitbit, a wearable
digital device that tracks physical activity.
say, "Hey, I walked 10 miles that day, why donít I walk
12 the next day?í" Baylor said. "And then take two
days off and walk 15.
is so committed to using his feet that he recently donated his
car to a cancer charity. Gas money now goes toward buying new
shoes, which wear out every few months.
heís been sporting a pair of strappy Chaco hiking sandals,
which have performed better than his previous hiking boots and
are ideal for summer.
probably walked 500 or more miles on them," he said.
on the soles has been worn down under the pressure of Baylorís
extreme walking habits. He once walked 40 miles in a day (at
his estimated rate of 3 miles an hour in the city, thatís
more than 13 hours), but doesnít remember much about it
except that his knees were sore, his feet were wet, and his
backpack was likely full of mushrooms.
attributes his health, especially his mental well-being, to
think it slows down the pace of my life overall," he
said. "Itís like meditating. I used to walk fast, but
these days I like to walk slower and try to clear my mind and
be relaxed, think about things I need to think about. I think
itís really good for mental health. Thatíd be my plug for
it. Walk for mental health."
others agree. Seattle, along with Boston, Washington, D.C.,
Pittsburgh and New York, is one of the top five cities with
the most foot commuters. The reasons to walk to work are
varied. Some like walking because itís an inexpensive and
reliable way to get to work, and some enjoy the easy exercise.
Others just really hate traffic.
think itís really good for everybody," Baylor said.
"I would recommend everyone spend at least a little bit
of time every day walking."