Joshua Lydell has one more state between him and the completion of his cross-country journey.
Lydell, a 33-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Frewsburg native, began the Warrior Walk in February to raise support and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. From Charleston, S.C., he has continued into New Mexico, just three days from the Arizona border.
Lydell's original plan was to complete his journey by visiting Redwood National Park and end in San Francisco, but his new plan is slightly more dramatic - Lydell will walk alongside members of his Marine Corps unit for the last 10 or 15 miles and end the trip at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, where he was stationed.
Pictured is Joshua Lydell, standing alongside his newly-purchased cart, as he crosses the country for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Because of the change in final destination, the Warrior Walk will likely finish in the middle of August, 500 miles earlier than originally expected.
One of the biggest changes Lydell made to his setup was purchasing a new cart. Although he was fond of the homemade cart built of aluminum and various metal parts, it was simply too heavy to drag over the hilly terrain of certain states.
"Going through the hills of Georgia just about put me in an early grave," Lydell said of the original cart. "I've got 1,000 miles on my new cart and it's great."
According to Lydell, he has also lightened his load considerably by carrying less water and supplies. Originally, he carried an entire cooler filled with six gallons of water, but has now downsized to a two-gallon jug, along with shedding the weight of "amenity" items he carried but rarely used.
"Every pound adds up," he said. "I just didn't need as much as I was carrying with me."
Lydell said that the state of Texas was the most hospitable place he has ever visited. Of the 33 days he was within the state lines, he only slept outside three nights, and spent the rest of the nights in the homes of people he met along his path.
"Every day is kind of a fun experience, and I am looking forward to continuing this journey of discovery," Lydell said. "It's all about mindset. We have a gift - the ability to create ourselves - people can get out there and reinvent themselves. For me, that's my side of this, I wanted to show people that they can do anything."
Lydell has worn out four pairs of shoes so far and raised nearly $8,000.
Although the amount is not quite the $100,000 he originally hoped for, Lydell is still proud of the cause and is looking at a target of $10,000 now.
"It's more money than I could have raised on my own," he said.
To donate to Lydell's walk and support the Wounded Warrior Project, visit support.woundedwarriorproject.org/individual-fundraising/thewarriorwalk.
To contact Lydell, call 969-1131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.