The Way of St. James Walk 2014

22 Oct 2013


Happy Autumn and Happy Anniversary.

What we call Indian Summer in the flatlands of Indiana has begun – beautiful crisp mornings; golden sun bathing red, yellow and green tree leaves with a bright sheen; some gossamer spider webs still blow in the fall breeze their tenants MIA, and the final crickets’ song sounds. One year ago today, 22 Oct 2012, I began the first day of the rest of my life with open heart surgery. Nine months later in June you may know I was back at Mount Rainier for the Re-Do II Climb. A year after open heart surgery my wellness is A+; Thanks God.


Above is a picture of me pointing to the summit of Mount Rainier!

This is a brief update on my time since Rainier II. I expect this will be the last update until the next expedition – in 2014 to Spain…El Camino, The Way of St. James.


2 Trek 4 Kids, the mountains and I were recently featured in the news media. Information on sites is noted below.  

-WTIU is the PBS station at Indiana University in Bloomington. To see the video, Google WTIU, then Weekly Special, Indiana Spotlight, find me and the mountains, and then scroll to bottom to view the full episode – it takes about six minutes of screen time. I so appreciated WTIU’s contacting me and Sarah Curtiss’ creative profile.  

- aired a program a couple of weeks after WTIU. A Christian radio program that interviews many baseball major leaguers, other pro athletes, as well as amateurs, the station was interested in the mountain climbs and how they have served as my witness. Tom Rust did an amazing job. Google the sight – On the home page I show up between major leaguers.

- And “The Criterion,” the Indianapolis Archdiocesan newspaper, captured the spirituality of the mountain climbs and how this has informed my theology and life in an article back in August. We’ll try and get “The Criterion” piece on the 2Trek4Kids blog site under the “Media” tab. John Shaughnessy wrote a profound and rich article.


The Way of St. James, a trek across northwest Spain which requires a month and more of daily trekking (over 500 miles total), will be my next fund-raiser. It will be deeply spiritual as I trek where the Apostle James (New Testament) evangelized. My quest for the Seven Summits will preclude Antarctica’s Vinson Massif and Denali/McKinley in Alaska. In consultation with my Medical Dream Team and through my own pondering, prayers and prudence, I have imposed a ceiling of 14,000 feet for future expeditions. Heck, Colorado alone has 50 14teeners I’m told. Fundraising for youth obesity, and for children, continues; The climbing emphasis was re-imagined.

There are dozens of sites about El Camino on the internet. If you would like to learn more Google: Spain -The Way of St. James or visit Wikipedia, it has a detailed explanation about the trek. There is also a YouTube entry entitled “The Way of St. James – More Than Just a Journey” is a colorful four minute video.  


Speaking of Colorado, Lori Walton, RN BSN, who brought L.I.F.E. for Kids, the clinical weight management program model to our three southern Indiana hospital ministries, has re-located to Colorado. There she will continue to work with young obese patients through the Children’s Hospital Colorado in suburban Denver. Her new location is one of the top children’s hospitals in the United States. Thank you Lori for a-l-l you did for St. Vincent Jennings and Salem and Dunn – and of course for what you did at St. Vincent Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. May God bless you and your transition.


Some notes from my retirement, in progress six months on 25 Oct:

-I am now volunteering with Our Hospice of South Central Indiana in my community of Columbus, in a bereavement role. I continue my volunteerism with Wings for the Journey in Columbus, a group for moms and dads whose children have died. And I continue volunteering with Baptist Homes of Indiana’s Ministry on Aging.

 -I resumed trekking having taken the summer off. Yes my 22 pound back pack still has kitty litter – yes, fresh kitty litter. I cross-train – mostly on a bicycle; occasionally I play tennis.

-I listened to many of you, at whose urging I have commenced a book on the mountains – the working title is “Seven Mountain Story.” If you think I have a lot to say – Get this: The book already is at 157,000 written words :) . The esteemed Thomas Merton wrote a book called “The Seven Storey Mountain”…Hope you excuse my title Fr. Thomas. He was one of the great Catholic thinkers.

-And, drum roll, I have more time with my sons and their families, and the arrival of a new grandson is imminent.


You know I couldn’t write to you without kindly asking you to continue your support for 2Trek4Kids. May I ask you to please consider one more donation this year to help St. Vincent Salem or St. Vincent Dunn, in Bedford. Dunn has more kids enrolled than ever in its youth obesity program; the Salem program runs at near capacity. Your dollars are used primarily for scholarships to subsidize children enrolled in the program. We have been blessed by your past generosity. The expeditions to five of the Seven Summits and the two Rainier climbs have raised awareness of youth obesity and have raised $102,000 to treat it in southern Indiana. How about one more donation this year, please? I’ll not ask again…until El Camino next year :) .

Checks are payable to either:

-St.Vincent Dunn Hospital Foundation, 1600 23rd St., Bedford, IN47421.

-St. Vincent Salem Hospital, 911 N. Shelby St., Salem, IN, 47167.

Note 2Trek4Kids in the memo line. All donations are tax deductible.


God bless you, Walter