By Kendall Collins
Special to the Messenger
When Americans dream about their next adventure, usually they envision jumping in the car and driving to a fancy hotel with all the extras – fluffy pillows, room service, and relaxation.
Sleeping outside in the elements while walking over 70,000 steps per day does not come to mind for most of us, but for Ed “The Hiker” Talone, it is his “American Dream.”
Talone was curious from a young age about, “What is just around the bend?” His father took him for his first hike in 1966 and he has yet to stop exploring.
With a hiking career spanning over 40 years, 800 trails and 70,000 plus miles, Talone has seen it all. On his most recent trek, Talone is walking the southern part of the Ohio & Erie Canal Southern Descent, starting near his home in Portsmouth and ending near Baltimore, Ohio. On his route, he passed through Lockbourne, Groveport, and Canal Winchester.
“Canal trails and rail trails are my main interests right now,” said Talone. “I have already walked the nation’s most scenic paths including the Appalachian Trail.”
Carrying a large backpack, a 20-year-old map, a canal book and his AM radio, he has everything he needs to stay on track.
“I don’t use GPS or have a lot of technology. I still have a flip phone,” he said.
Talone enjoys the serenity of hiking alone and the disconnection from the world around him.
“It is all mental,” Talone said. “Every hike is different, no two hikes are the same. My favorite aspect of hiking is seeing all the interesting places and small towns like Lockbourne that I would’ve never had the pleasure to visit.”
Talone has hiked through every state in the continental U.S. and completed many trails spanning across Canada. He shared memories of his longest hike to date that began in Key West, Fla., and spanned north to the tip of Canada. The journey took over nine months and was close to 5,000 miles, with a few pit stops in between. In the future, he plans on hiking across Europe for the first time with “extra time to enjoy all the wonderful foods.”
From Lockbourne, Talone headed northeast to Groveport and see Ohio and Erie Canal Lock 22.
While in Groveport, Talone even attended a Groveport City Council meeting. After spending the night in Groveport, he traveled to Canal Winchester and then headed to the locks in Lockville where he connected with the Fairfield Parks Department. From there it was on to Baltimore.
When asked what he thinks makes a good hiker, Talone said, “I believe it’s the ability to deal with the elements. If you love to walk, you deal with it. There is beauty everywhere, you just have to look.”