In 1896, Helga Estby set out to win $10,000 by walking across the United States

Originally published at:


Nothing wrong with a little walk-about.


Great pic! I hope she took off her corset for the walk.

In 1896 it would have been hard. Roads weren’t very good, and likely weren’t arranged to get across the continent fast. With population density much lower, getting food might be trying at times.

Transcontinental walking isn’t uncommon in more recent times. Mostly along highways. Easy to walk along, and enough popukation to supply food.

When we walked Montreal to New York City in 1982, there were potlucks and a place to stay every night, usually organized by a local religious group. We walked along highways, though not the really fast ones.

We’d get up in the morning, and start walking. Most days it was 20 miles, though sometimes further, though close to NYC we coukd walk much less per day and still there’d be another church to take us in.

But most days, soon after starting we’d see a sign for that day’s ending point, and for tye rest of the day there’d be no more sign telling us how much further.


Walking across the US in seven months amounts to about 15 miles per day. In 1896 there may not have been roads most places, dysentery was also a thing, and they were also probably loaded down with whatever stuff they had to carry to get them from one town to the next. Losing the bet is one thing, dying is another.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.