Cross-country trek leads hiker to the Hill

Posted on Aug 27, 2020 in Campus News and News

Yellow tape blocking off every other booth wasn’t the only surprise awaiting a few longtime regulars who gathered for The Wagon Wheel’s first chicken-fried steak special of the fall semester (allowable under county health guidelines, with masks mandatory until patrons are seated and strict social distancing): A young, fit guy shouldering an enormous backpack made his way into the 14th Street tavern for lunch and an ice-cold beer. Ice cold, as in, a single can of light beer poured into a plastic cup packed with ice.

Hey, it’s hot out there for a hiker ambling coast to coast.

“I wanted to do something challenging,” says Keith Doubman, a Pennsylvanian who started his cross-country trek May 17 in Delaware, “and I’m just so grateful for my health. I also wanted to do something to better humanity, so I’m raising money for cancer research.”

Doubman, who previously hiked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across northern Spain,  is following a route called the American Discovery Trail, which—who knew?—passes through Lawrence. He’ll next walk south to Ottawa before turning west into the Flint Hills. The rest of his Kansas journey will take him to McPherson, Great Bend, Kinsley, Dodge City, Garden City and Coolidge; Doubman says he’s been grateful to find respite in homes of people following his trek online, so Jayhawks who would like to share their Kansas hospitality while making an interesting new friend can follow Doubman’s trek on Instagram and TikTok, @KCDAdventure.

Welcome to Mount Oread, Keith, and safe travels!

—Chris Lazzarino

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