When Arthur Dunn decides to take a walk, don't expect to seem him for a few weeks.
Dunn, 74, a companion volunteer for hospice with Shepherd of the Valley, told residents last month of his plans to embark on a nearly 500 mile adventure that took him from his home in Newton Falls to Washington D.C., completely on foot. Dunn expected the journey to take about a month, but he recently completed the trip nine days ahead of schedule.
Fashioning a small push-cart out of a scrapped jogging cart, Dunn carried everything he needed for the trip, from his sleeping quarters to a small handmade stove that operates on chafing fuel.
This trip isn't the first he's made, Dunn said. After his wife of 49 years, Dorris, passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008, Dunn said he felt like he had to get away.
''I kept busy for four months,'' he said. ''Then I told my son, I've got to get out of this area to clear my mind.''
He made the decision to walk from Cincinnati to his home in Newton Falls, a journey that took 22 days and logged 330 miles. This trip, Dunn said, would take a bit longer and would include a side trip to Shanksville, Pa., to pay his respects to the victims of Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.
Dunn said he walks from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a pace of about 2 miles per hour.
''I walk between 15 and 20 miles a day, depending on where the campsites are,'' he said. Along the way, he stopped to sightsee and take photos. When he stops at the pre-planned campgrounds, Dunn said he sleeps on layers of insulated paper, cardboard, foam padding and finally a sleeping bag beneath a small tent. Everything he uses is stored inside the cart he fashioned with compartments to hold all of his supplies.
One of those supplies is a can of wasp spray, not to use on wasps, but because someone told him it would ward off bears. During the trip, Dunn said kept in touch with his family, a few of his friends and a fourth graders in Newton Falls, who monitored his journey on maps in their classroom.
To help him put one foot in front of the other, Dunn also carried a small MP3 player with the complete New Testament on audio, as well as some of his favorite music. Most his trip was by way of bike trails that lead him through Cumberland, Md., to Washington, D.C., he said.
During his trip, Dunn said a snow storm in late April delayed him for a day, but he still managed to finish the trip earlier than scheduled, reaching Washington on May 9. He also kept a journal along the way, detailing weather conditions, the miles he walked and interesting things he encountered.