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Zachary Foor from Plymouth Embarks on 5,000-Mile Journey Across America

Walking 5,000 Miles: One Step at a Time

In Plymouth, 30-year-old Zachary Foor embarked on a remarkable journey on March 25th, aiming to hike from Delaware to California. This expedition, spanning around 20 months, serves as a tribute to Foor’s friend Greg Mans, who faced paralysis while volunteering with a youth group, preventing him from undertaking such an adventure himself. Foor’s trek not only honors Mans but also seeks to empower individuals with paralysis to redefine mobility and combat trauma through the art of writing.

Carrying a 40-pound backpack and relying on the generosity of strangers offering meals, shelter, or a warm shower, Foor has already covered approximately 220 miles. He acknowledges the profound impact of traveling on foot, emphasizing how it has a unique way of touching people’s hearts and eliciting unexpected acts of kindness.

Foor’s initiative, named [ppp1], involves a planned stop at a friend’s Colorado horse ranch in September, where he intends to work during the winter months. Following this break, he will resume his expedition, ultimately reaching the Pacific Ocean in the spring.

Traversing the American Discovery Trail

The American Discovery Trail, a transcontinental route stretching from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware to Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California, traverses diverse terrains across 15 states. This trail showcases a rich tapestry of landscapes, encompassing wilderness areas, deserts, mountains, and forests, while connecting numerous national parks, forests, and historic sites along its 6,800-mile expanse.

Foor, opting for the 5,057-mile southern route, first learned about the American Discovery Trail during his college days at the University of Missouri. The seed of inspiration was planted when he overheard cyclists discussing how the trail could lead one all the way to the Pacific Ocean. This chance encounter sparked Foor’s dream of embarking on a cross-country odyssey, a dream that gained purpose and meaning through his friendship with Greg Mans.

A Journey of Friendship and Resilience

Greg Mans, a former client at the rehabilitation center where Foor worked, suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury during a volunteering mission in Hawaii. Despite his paralysis, Mans remains resilient, adapting to his new reality with unwavering determination. His friendship with Foor blossomed over shared interests in the outdoors, adventure, and writing.

Motivated by Mans’s spirit and encouraged by his friend’s positive outlook, Foor conceived the idea of turning his trek into a platform for raising awareness and supporting individuals like Mans. By blending their love for writing with a shared goal of healing trauma and redefining life post-injury, Foor and Mans aim to inspire others facing similar challenges.

The Healing Power of Words

For Mans, writing has been a therapeutic outlet, allowing him to express his thoughts and emotions despite physical limitations. Through online classes and voice-activated technology, he continues to craft narratives that reflect on his past experiences and celebrate the life he once led. Writing has become a means of creating, remembering, and finding solace amidst adversity.

As Foor presses on, covering up to 20 miles daily, he reflects on the varying challenges of his journey. Through moments of physical strain and discomfort, he draws strength from the resilience of individuals like Mans, who face far greater obstacles. Foor sees his role not just as a walker but as a vessel for carrying the stories and spirits of those who inspire him.

In the midst of his trek, Foor remains connected to Mans, drawing on his friend’s wisdom and support from afar. As they navigate their respective paths—one on foot, the other through words—they embody the resilience, kindness, and unwavering spirit that define their remarkable bond.

Contact reporter Laura Colvin at [email protected] or 248-221-8143.