Keeping Up With Clayton

Keeping up with Clayton -- Welcome to this blog space...where fans and friends of Clayton Klein may gather to share the adventures of this inspiring nonagenarian. A native of Michigan, Clayton loves to spread the word about the beauty of our state and the health benefits of walking. Follow along. I know you'll come to appreciate his creative spirit and positive outlook about living life to the fullest, no matter what your age

Following the Footprints of Clayton Klein

From Paradise on the shores of Lake Superior (Longfellow's Gitche Gumee)to Hell (MI) and Beyond to Ohio...Fowlerville, Michigan's Clayton Klein celebrated his 90th birthday in 2009 and his 5th annual 420-mile walk for Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization Sept. 4-28.

This year 2013, at 94, he's still walking, still trailblazing, and leading by example to raise awareness of the health benefits of walking.

Follow him on his journey... as he continues to leave footprints on the trail and on the hearts of many Michiganders.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Walking Michigan Miles with the Walking Man

The walk is complete.

Clayton Klein's fifth annual walk from Paradise to Hell & Beyond to Ohio to benefit the Michigan Hospice Organization ended on Sept. 28 at the Ohio line. After walking 420 miles from the shores of Lake Superior down the Middle of the Mitten to Ohio, Klein says it's good to be finished.

Compiling a log of miles traveled by those accompanying him, he has figured that the following folks walked the most.

Of all the people who walked with me, these are the ones who walked the most miles:
   Todd Brooks  of Perry -------------------- 46.0  miles 
   Peggy Noyce of Houghton Lake ------ 37.0  miles
   George Winegar of Howell -------------- 34.7  miles
   William Kenyon of Adrian --------------- 21.0  Miles
   And the Group of 5 from Waters to Grayling ----- 20.00 miles

Klein does not expect to do such extensive walks again, but possibly smaller, more varied events might be planned. 

You may still contribute to the Michigan Hospice Organization on behalf of Clayton's 2009 Walk. Contact Lisa Buttigieg at 

And, you missed getting a Walking Man tee to commemorate this historic walk, please visit Craig Backus' EmbroidMe website listed at the right on the sidebar of the blog. The shirt will be available on line, and you don't have to get safety green...even though it shows up a mile away (seems to me anyway!).

There are other beautiful colors, as well, and it's a great quality tee to wear in honor of Clayton's walk or to give as a gift.

It also serves as a reminder to those who see it, about Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization.

Thanks, everyone, for making this fifth walk from Paradise to Hell & Beyond to Ohio, a great success.
Stay tuned for updates, photos, and other good news about our extraordinary Walking Man, Clayton Klein.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Walking with Clayton Klein...step by step...along Michigan highways for Hospice

"At its heart, the journey of each life is a pilgrimage, 
through unforeseen sacred places 
that enlarge and enrich the soul." 
--John O'Donohue

You've heard the phrase....inch by inch, anything's a cinch. For Clayton Klein that would be step by step. Step by step, mile by mile, from Paradise, Michigan on over the bridge and straight down to Hell and beyond to Ohio. 420 miles. Think about it. That's 84 times across the Mackinac Bridge. And he walks every step of the way.

And when something like the fall in St. Johns happens, he goes back and makes up the miles. Twenty to be exact. He will set forth to make up that leg of the trip at 8:30 a.m on Tuesday, Oct. 7 and walk to the Flap Jack Shack in Lansing at Frandor. Valerie Wheeler of Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization in Lansing will be meeting him at M-21 and US-27 to accompany him on the journey.

If you'd like to walk on that makeup day for the Paradise to Hell to Ohio walk, just be those four corners at 8:30 a.m. Other stops: Price Road, Round Lake Road, Clark Road, Grand River Road in Lansing, and Flap Jack Shack in Lansing. For more information call him before Tuesday at 517-223-8135.

Clayton said he'd just started out that Saturday morning Sept. 17 when he tripped on a sidewalk in St. Johns, fell and broke his glasses and sustained lots of cuts, requiring 12 stitches. Nothing was broken. And certainly not his spirit.

Which is pretty good for a nonagenarian. That's a big word. It simply means you've turned 90, which Clayton did in February this year. So falling and not breaking anything except your glasses at age 90 is indeed inspiring to me. My goal is to be that active and engaged in the world when I'm 90.

So, that's why I hang around Clayton Klein. I aspire to have such an indomitable spirit at that age. .Of course, I said that three years ago in a column I wrote after the 2006 walk. I think I've made a little bit of progress, but I've got a long way to go. Step by step, inch by inch...row by row.

Ha...he was asking me if perhaps I walked totally more than anyone else, but I'll have to pass on that. I've enjoyed walking parts of several segments of the Paradise to Hell journey for the past couple of years. Last year I set out with him in Paradise for about five miles and again on the Williamston day about six and short distances on the Fowlerville and Hell.days. This year I repeated those middle days, adding a very short walk in Indian River, six-mile walk to Ithaca and a three mile into Manchester. Still the total is probably under 20. So I admire those who can walk an entire day with him.

Next week Clayton will have the figures for which man and woman walked the longest, as he rounds up all the data and pictures and anecdotes from his walk this year. So stay tuned.

While I love to walk (started about four years ago at a physician's advice),   I walk with Clayton for more than the health benefits. Through our walking, we've become good friends...and I've met other new friends because of his walking.

Walking has become intrinsic for me, largely because of knowing him and the discoveries I've made about myself by incorporating walking into my life.

Clayton said something amazing, recently. “Time flies when you're walking.” Maybe so. Maybe walking...step by foot in front of the other...actually slows down time. Especially on a beautiful day outdoors when you become lost in thought and on that day the whole adventure of walking transports you beyond the time constraints (seemingly) of everyday life.

* * *
If you'd like to contribute to Michigan Hospice Organization on behalf of Clayton's 2009 walk, please go to to download a donation form. You can contribute to the Sondra Seeley Scholarship Fund for continuing education programs for hospice employees, or to your own regional hospice. Michigan Hospice Organization is the state organization for all the hospices in Michigan.

For more information, contact Lisa Buttigieg, communications coordinator at 517-668-6396. The address is: Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, 12800 Escanaba Drive, Suite E, DeWitt, Michigan 48820.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Want to walk with Clayton? St. Johns to Lansing Tuesday, Oct. 7

Clayton will be making up his walk from St Johns to Lansing on Tuesday, Oct. 7 if you would like to join him on that day at the corner of of M-21 and US-27 at 8:30 a.m. departure. Call him at 517-223-8135 or email

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ya Gotta Love the Gotta Scrap Inn

Manchester's Gotta Scrap Inn has played host to Clayton on his walks to Ohio. Saturday, I ventured down to that beautiful, quiet community to walk a little and to see what's up with this Gotta Scrap Inn. What a fantastic place. Scrapbook aficionados can crop 'n cut 'n paste to their heart's content. A whole bed and breakfast devoted to scrapbookers and quilters and such creative spirits. I'm on the left, wearing the cool safety green commemorative tee for Clayton Klein, the Walking Man. Hard to believe it's all over today, Sept. 28 when Clayton crosses the border into Ohio this afternoon. Clayton was joined by Karen Jackson from the Howell Hospice on the walk to Manchester. The photo was taken by her husband, Larry, who so graciously manned her follow-up car and delivered me back to my car, as well. Below is a photo of Clayton with one of the inn owners, Wendy Gieger in front of her beautiful fireplace. The three story brick home has oodles of room for scrapbookers and all their stuff. It makes you want to become one, even if you're not quite into it, just to enjoy the hospitality. Clayton raves over the home-cooked meals...and also the fact that he's surrounded by (he said) 20 beautiful women. Wendy walked with Clayton today on the Adrian leg of the journey. Bill Kenyon of the Adrian Hospice also walked along today and introduced Clayton to a beautiful rails 'n trails pathway to walk through the city.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

a Hot Day in Hell

A hot day in Hell for these walkers coming down picturesque Kelly Road Sept. 23. L-R Christopher Young, Gail Warren, George Winegar (behind Denise Walters), Clayton, Gail and Ed Wistie, Todd Brooks.  Loved watching you all traipsing down the was a beautiful day in the tiny little Livingston County hamlet. More photos to share at a later date. Thanks for slowing the pace a bit so I could capture you all on camera. By the way, these walkers covered 13 miles on behalf of Michigan Hospice Organization that day. And it was a warm day in Hell:)

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Tradition Continues for Fowlerville Walk

A favorite tradition for the past three years has been enjoying the Genesis House club members in Fowlerville enjoying Clayton Klein and being inspired by his walking program. On Wednesday, Genesis House folks piled into the club van to catch up with Clayton outside of town. We found the walkers, coming from Webberville along Grand River here and continued the walk into town to Olden Days restaurant. Note the bright safety green Clayton tee that Lynne McLean is wearing on the far right. Commemorative tees are available from Craig Backus at EmbroidMe of Birmingham at the web link listed on the right of the blog.
Wednesday Clayton wore his blue Walk the Walk tee, a gift  from his United Methodist Church friends, for previous walks. An apt expression, too, as Clayton does walk the walk.

Clayton Klein - What a Guy

Thanks all of you who've joined our Clayton Klein, the Walking Man group on Facebook.
He's gotten quite a following of fans over the past five years of walking Michigan from top to bottom for Michigan Hospice Org.
 Did you know that he walked across the state from Lake Michigan to Huron the two years before that?
There are so many aspects to this Fowlerville native. It would take a book to write about 90 years of living outside the box! That's what he told me once, to think outside the box, and find the place where you fit with your gifts and talents.
So, to me, he's been a wonderful teacher, as well. After the walk is over, I hope I'll be able to expand on more about Clayton...his walking, his writing, and what he plans for his next adventures!
Please be patient, as I'm learning about photos and things...and know you'd like more photo galleries. So stay tuned to Facebook and also to my website and blog as they develop. Clayton will always be there:)
Remember...All Things Beautiful Walking!
Tomorrow is Chelsea to Manchester; Sunday Manchester to M52 South to M-223; Monday to Ohio state line....
Well, I really should slip on down to the Gotta Scrap Inn and check out all those beautiful women scrapbookers he keeps talking about on the radio. Stay tuned at WHMI Howell  93.5 for recaps...
And thanks to the radio Merino and Morning Crew for being the great public forum for this remarkable Livingston County resident!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Walking Williamston to Webberville With Clayton

Walking was fine today with Clayton Klein. Jeanne and Frank McKowen of Williamston and friends Betty and Harold Carney of Orchard Lake and I caught up with Clayton and Todd Brooks of Shaftsburg at the Williamston McDonald's. Todd walked with Clayton from Flapjack Shack in Lansing. On to Webberville...where Clayton sets out again Wednesday morning at the main four corners...8:30 a.m. and walk to Fowlerville and on to Howell.

Always we are deeply grateful to the volunteers who elect to man the follow-up cars so that others may walk. For the past four years, Frank McKowen has made possible our traditional walk with Clayton from Williamston to Webberville, patiently waiting for us ahead down the road, sometimes circling back to check on us, and carrying (on this occasion) sparkling green tea and giant oatmeal cookies for a snack break. And then, to celebrate a successful walk, driving us to get a cool-down ice cream sundae!

Harold Carney and Frank McKowen set to go!

There's still time to walk with him this week each day until the walk concludes in Ohio on Sept. 28. See the walk schedule: Daily Walk Times Sept 4-28

Photo op: Cecil Sanders of Webberville found us on Grand River just outside of town. Cecil knew both Jeanne (Showerman) McKowen and Clayton Klein. The Walking Man tees look great and show up well for oncoming traffic when walking. So, cheers for "safety green"! The hot, humid day found us glad to make it to the Main Four in Webberville, where Clayton, Jeanne, Todd chat before heading home. Mike McLean of Fowlerville was waiting there for Clayton to give him a ride back home.

Man Walks from Paradise to Hell

Man Walks from Paradise to Hell

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Clayton Klein Walk Interview to Air Tonight at 11pm on Channel 10 Lansing

I'd like to share a note from Lisa Buttigieg, Communications Coordinator for Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. Hospice Organization. Clayton walked from Flapjack Shack in Lansing to Webberville today. I will post more later, but wanted to put this up in case anyone could catch the interview on Channel 10 tonight at 11pm. Lisa is right. Clayton is truly amazing.

Hello Everyone,
Early this morning Natalie, Val and myself, along with Michelle Wiseman and John Thelen from Sparrow Hospice welcomed Clayton Klein as he began the second leg of his 420 mile journey for hospice. Channel 10 News interviewed the upbeat & simply amazing 90 year old Clayton along with our own Education Coordinator, Natalie Brocieus. The segment will air tonight on channel 10 at 11pm . We hope you will be able to see it. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

All Systems Go for Clayton Klein's Michigan Hospice Walk to Resume Tuesday

 Official word from Clayton Klein is that the walk for Michigan Hospice Org. will resume 8:30 Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Flapjack Shack in Lansing. Clayton is feeling fine, the swelling is down from his fall on Saturday in St. Johns, he's got some glasses to wear...and all systems are go! The walk continues Sept. 22-28 on the walk through Ingham, Livingston, Washtenaw, Lenawee counties as he travels to Hell & Beyond to Ohio from his home in Fowlerville. So put your walking shoes on! Join him on the journey! See walk schedule at

Clayton Daily Walk Times Paradise to Hell & Beyond

Here's a great article that will help you picture what Clayton is walking for in regard to Michigan's Hospice programs. Most everyone has been touched by the work of Hospice. The article is in the news of Vital Care of Northern Michigan when staff member Jennifer Besteman caught up with Klein when traveling through Trout Lake area. This is the final week of the walk. Jennifer's article highlights the wonderful work of this organization for families across Michigan.

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Mackinac Bridge Walk Renews Tradition || | WXYZ-TV / Detroit | Detroit News, Weather, Sports and More

 Enjoy this article, which mentions Clayton Klein, the day he walked the Mackinac Bridge. Granholm greeted Clayton and exchanged hugs for the press. Keep your fingers crossed that the walk may continue this week, as Clayton recovers from his mishap in St. Johns on Saturday....
Mackinac Bridge Walk Renews Tradition || | WXYZ-TV / Detroit | Detroit News, Weather, Sports and More

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Clayton Klein is on the mend...hoping to resume walk Tuesday

Clayton Klein status update: He's home resting, waiting to see if the swelling will go down enough by tomorrow afternoon so he can see to resume the walk as scheduled on Tuesday. Apparently it was on the news. He feels fine otherwise.

Hopefully he will be at the Flapjack Shack in Lansing Tuesday morning to start walking at 8:30a.m along Grand River Ave. to Williamston to Webberville. This is certainly turning out to be one big adventure!

 I'll post what I know tomorrow afternoon sometime. Keep your fingers crossed....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Clayton's fine...and walk to Hell & Beyond resumes Tuesday Sept 22

Clayton's home:) Safe and sound, except for 12 stitches on the eye area. The doctor says he should be fine to resume the walk on Tuesday as scheduled. Thanks to all who are keeping tuned in!

Walking mishap: St. Johns to Lansing walk rescheduled

My Facebook note this morning...

Keep your fingers crossed for Clayton Klein and in in your prayers...I've just learned that he's resting in Clinton Memorial Hospital after falling in the early part of the walk from St. Johns to Lansing this morning. St. Johns Hospice folks are with him and also Todd Brooks who has walked with him the past couple of years. They don't want him walking today, so he says he will redo that portion of the walk later on and by Tuesday resume the walk schedule. Please hold him in your hearts and prayers...thank you Facebook friends for all the support you've given him on this adventure.

Facebook | My Links

Facebook | My Links

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Trails: Walking to my Hometown

Do all trails lead to home? For me they did Sept. 17 walking with Clayton Klein into my hometown of Ithaca, the middle of the mitten (St. Louis actually has the official title)...but close enough. Joined by my sister, Mary Reed, and my husband, Jerry, we found Clayton just as he was set to embark on Old 27 south to Ithaca. It truly is a small world, as one of Clayton's dear friends is Ithaca native Doris Allen. She and her daughter Marian Allen Fisher met us there. Marian and her cousin, Linda Allen Weburg were helping coordinate Clayton's motel transportation on that leg of the trip. Linda was waiting with Doris at JJ Ruby's restaurant halfway to our destination. Now, this would seem an ordinary log of events, except that Marian and Linda and I are all Ithaca High School classmates. I hadn't seen either of them since I attended a class reunion (Class of '61) eight years ago...and so there in JJ Ruby's we had a mini reunion...thinking it's time to plan for our 50th in 2011.

You could add a few exclamation points after that! Isn't life amazing when it leads you to become best friends with someone who is best friends with someone whose daughter and niece were my friends? I forget when we first discovered the Ithaca connection...sometime when I was writing for the Fowlerville News & Views about Clayton's books and things...before the now famous Paradise to Hell walks. Yes, people connections are fascinating. And  now that Clayton is halfway downstate...he has many tales to tell. 

I'm looking forward to reading about Clayton's sojourn in Ithaca when my hometown paper, the Gratiot County Herald, arrives next week. I heard there was a wonderful breakfast at a great little restaurant downtown.

Saturday, Sept. 19 he will wind up the day at the Flapjack Shack in Lansing and welcome a couple of days of rest before stepping off again to complete the journey to Ohio.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Layer upon layer, step by step,
I grow in spirit as I walk this earth,
between the sand and the sky.

The Daily Mandala: September 17, 2009

The Daily Mandala: September 17, 2009

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Walking the Palm of the Mitten

Hello Clayton fans,

The 5th Annual Walk from Paradise to Hell & Beyond to Ohio is on and the walking's fine with Clayton Klein September 4-28, 2009! If you can keep up, that is!

Come Walk With Me! That's the slogan, always, for The Walking Man....who celebrated his 90th birthday this February.

Winding his way down the middle of the Mitten, Clayton's having some wonderful adventures, and looks forward to having a great turnout of folks as he travels downstate to Lansing, home to Fowlerville, on to Hell and this year following M52 into Ohio.

Michigan Hospice Organization features him on the front page of their website: Schedules are there and contribution forms also.

You can look him up on my website (needs much work, but the schedules are there.)

You can buy a commemorative tee, if you'd like, from Craig and Gail Backus who own EmbroidMe in Birmingham and have graciously helped me figure out a design using Laurie McDowell's drawing of The Walking Man (Shes from Chelsea and her sister Lynne McLean is Clayton's neighbor and right-hand assistant for publicity... besides looking after his garden while he's gone).

The tees I got a few of are safety green (I know, blindingly bright) which we picked as advocates for safe walking. There are other colors available. If you order right away, you could have them by next week. The back is the Walking Man drawing, and the front is an outline of Michigan and his route. You can see them on Facebook at Clayton Klein, the Walking Man, or go to the site:

I'll be writing about Clayton for one of my articles for the new online news site launching Oct. 1, called Here's a promo video that's fun.

If that link doesn't work go to YouTube and put in

I've started a blog for him at

It would be delightful if you had a moment to go look and make comments!

If you have any suggestions, please email me.

It's not too late to walk! Come out and enjoy beautiful Michigan with Clayton Klein!

There's an article about him in the Detroit News, in which I'm interviewed about Clayton. Embarrassing....but there I am. My age all over the state, and my wimpy walking...but I'll share:

90-year-old walking man

Clayton will be walking to Ithaca Thursday, St. Johns Friday, Lansing Saturday...all down Old US 27. Rest Sunday and Monday and then starting out Tuesday at Flapjack Shack in Lansing to Webberville, Wednesday through Fowlerville and to Mason Road south of Howell, and Thursday on to Hell, Friday to Chelsea, Saturday to Manchester, on to Ohio Monday 28th

I look forward to walking in Ithaca, Williamston to Webberville, Fowlerville, Hell, maybe Manchester.

And somehow I have to break my six mile limit I happened to mention in the News! We'll see...the main thing is to get out and enjoy this beautiful state with a remarkable nonagenarian! Inspiration for us all.

All things walking!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Traveling down the middle of The Mitten

A week into the Paradise to Hell & Beyond to Ohio walk for Michigan Hospice Organization, Clayton Klein is walking downstate now, having reached Houghton Lake today from Grayling. Hospice folks met him in Gaylord on Thursday morning to walk a ways...and he was joined on the Friday walk to Waters/Grayling by three women and a man...and he was escorted by the Sheriff patrol going into town, he said. A great day, including a wonderful dinner at the local country club. Saturday was a rest day in Grayling...Houghton today, and on to Harrison tomorrow.

My husband, his dad and I caught up with Clayton and his daughter, Debbie, as he arrived in Indian River last Tuesday. We enjoyed a camp fire meal with them, a change of pace for Clayton's restaurant meals on the rest of the walk. Seems fitting, as Clayton, the longtime adventurer, once compiled a book of campfire poems.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

At 90, still the walking man | | The Detroit News

At 90, still the walking man | | The Detroit News

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Stepping off in Paradise

Clayton stepped off in Paradise, MI on Lake Superior Friday, Sept. 4, as scheduled. Three days to the Mackinac Bridge. Sharing here a wonderful letter from Michigan Hospice Organization cheering Clayton on his journey and inviting everyone to come out and participate in his latest adventure. This is Clayton's fifth walk from one end of the state to the other for a great cause. He's a nonagenarian now (90), which means he was 85 for Paradise to Hell Walk Number One in 2005.

Lisa Buttigieg, communications coordinator for Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, sent this letter out today in celebration of Clayton Klein’s first day of the 420-mile journey, walking from Paradise at Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior (where the Edmund Fitzgerald went down) over the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day and on down into the Lower Peninsula to the little town of Hell in Livingston County and beyond to Ohio. Enjoy!

Hello Everyone,
Today is the big day for Clayton and for Michigan Hospice Organization! What a beautiful day to begin a walk.  I am very excited to let you all know that we have contacted all of the Chamber of Commerce’s in the towns where Clayton will be walking (I sent the press release and walk schedule) and they were all receptive and excited about this story.

We have also contacted news stations all around the state, including national news stations along with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, all of whom were very receptive of this story. And one last contact was Governor Granholm’s office, I spoke to her communications person about Clayton being there on Labor Day to walk across with everyone and since she will be walking across this year with her elderly relatives, I am hoping that she will recognize Clayton because we know he certainly deserves it!  

I spoke to the director of the Mackinaw Chamber of Commerce (Dawn) and she told me to let Clayton know that there will be live news coverage on the St. Ignace side (reporter Gary Ingalls) and reporter Bill Bauman on the Mackinaw side of the bridge. She did say that Clayton should be assertive and get to the front for an interview to tell his story, and my boss said it is perfectly fine to address us as Michigan Hospice Organization.  She also said that she would have a lanyard for Clayton at the  sound booth on the Mackinaw side.

 I hope this in not too late of a notice and we are all rooting for you Clayton!!  Thank you Clayton, you are an amazing person and we appreciate you for who you are.
All our best for a safe journey!
The MHPCO Staff.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Walk is On

Clayton Klein walking Paradise to Hell & Beyond for Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care

It's official. The walk is on...for Clayton Klein, embarking Friday, Sept. 4, 2009 on his 5th Annual Walk for Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care. 
That morning, the 90-year-old Fowlerville, MI resident will begin his 420-mile trek south through theheart of Michigan, from Paradise in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, downstate to Hell and on to the Ohio border Sept. 28.
Averaging 20 miles a day, the former businessman, author and adventurer is once again walking to benefit Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization's educational scholarship program for Hospice employees.
Klein is timing his walk to coincide with the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk, Sept. 7, to walk across Big Mac into the Lower Peninsula. He invites the public to walk along with him on his journey -- for a short jaunt, for a day, or the entire distance -- to enjoy the early autumn beauty of Michigan, while walking for Hospice at the same time.
For more information about walking with Klein, to help in any way, or to find out about MHPCO contributions, please contact him at 517-223-8135 or Updates on Clayton Klein and his 2009 Paradise to Hell & Beyond schedule are posted at After the walk begins, you may contact Lisa Buttigieg, communications coodinator at the MHPCO website: