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.

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.

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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.

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