Susan Robb and a group of 50 trail trampers walked more than 45 miles along our fabulous Regional Trails System over the course of four days, July 28th-31st. They trekked from Golden Gardens Park to Snoqualmie Falls – through urban, suburban, and rural King County.

The intention of The Long Walk, a time-based, participatory, and socially engaged art event was this: to experience a shift in the perception of time, a new understanding of the local geography, and the creation of an interstitial culture. A series of stories with reflections from participants about the journey will follow over the coming weeks.

First, this from Long Walker Tara Wefers:

When I happened upon a blog post about The Long Walk I thought it would be perfect for my friend to do. She was a walker, she would like it. It only took a visit to the website for me to throw my hat in, too.

Although I had reasons for signing up – like, I am new to Seattle so I hoped to discover how neighborhoods connected, introduce myself to the parks, immerse myself in the experience of the art of walking, and meet people who were interested in something similar – I was willing to simply, deeply engage a completely unknown experience with a bunch of people as an art project.

This is just a brief glimpse into what I received from the experience. Bottom line, it was so much more than I could have imagined or hoped for.

The design of the walk had me pay attention to the beauty of walking for hours with a stranger and discovering each other. I became aware of the intimacy of walking and conversation, silence, song, pacing, limping, bags, smiles and snacks. I revealed myself in ways I would not have at a gallery opening, over beers after work, or at a dinner party.

Creativity was invited out of the Long Walkers. The music, sounds, poems, photographs, videos, improv, and more that poured out of all was like a feast in dedication to this place – King County.

And the places I met! I now know where the road changes from pavement, to gravel, to pine-needles! I know there are generous communities called Duvall and Carnation! I stuck my feet in rivers, slept in parks, and walked on trails that would have taken me years to find.

For me, the entire event was an invitation to actively be awake, aware, considered and considerate, connected and creative. This I know: I am more alive as a result of it.

- Tara Wefers

Tara Wefers is originally from Portland, Oregon. Her professional background includes various executive positions from VP of Client Services to VP of Marketing to Chief Development Officer for industries ranging from hi-tech services to children’s museums to a sustainable quick-service restaurant chain. She has a Master’s in Transpersonal Psychology specializing in Creativity & Innovation. Tara focuses on working with organizations who desire to go beyond doing no harm – to actually doing good. She is also a photographer, fiber artist, and now…a Long Walker.

Photos © 2011, Long Walkers: Cath Brunner, Beth Sellars, Tara Breitenbucher, Paul Nelson, Christopher Hoff, Sarah Kavage, and Kolya Rice.