Walking by faith
Published 11:15 am Saturday, August 10, 2013
FRANKLIN—With little more than a feeling, Dan Reinke took on a pilgrimage this past spring that’s exercised his faith. But there’s another important aim to this journey, he said.
“I want to inspire Christians to live out their faith in their everyday lives,” Reinke said. “I just felt called to do it.”
The 25-year-old Minnesota native said he flew to Portland, Ore., got on a bus that took him to the west coast, and then turned around to began his trek eastward on May 5. His destination is Virginia Beach, and he told The Tidewater News on Friday morning that he expected to arrive by Sunday morning.
Reinke figures he’s averaged three miles an hour, while striving for 30 miles each day. Occasionally, he’s accepted a ride, but his pedometer has shown that he’s walked 2,500 miles or five million-plus footsteps.
“There’s been lots of morning when I’ve woken up and wondered where I’m staying next or where to get food and water. The cool part is how everything’s been provided,” Reinke said. As an example, while crossing a 100-mile stretch of desert, people would see him and pull over to give him what he needed it.
“People have been generous,” he said, adding that he’s never asked for money, but has sometimes accepted donations for necessities.
The money that got Reinke started on the journey came from work he said he’s done as a wild land firefighter and construction laborer.
To stay out of the heat, he often walked at night, an experience he said he found exhilarating, especially when he could see the stars.
The young Christian said he found that the back roads can be scarier than big city roads.
He said he’s met many interesting people, but he did not go into detail except to add that people from all walks of life have taken the time to chat with him.
“But there have been no bad scenes as yet,” Reinke said. He did mention almost stepping onto rattlesnakes. There were no serious issues with bears awakening from hibernation as he walked through the Grand Tetons. Even dogs he encountered were more bark than bite. There was one close call with a skunk, which was two feet away when it turned its tail toward him, “but I didn’t get sprayed,” he added with a laugh and smile.
Indeed, throughout the interview, Reinke was usually smiling or laughing as he recounted his journey, and he looks forward to its conclusion at First Landing State Park. Soon after, he said he’ll get on a airplane and return home to his parents in Minnesota. There he also has a sister and three brothers. They’ve all been supportive of his pilgrimage, he said, and one of the brothers has also been helping him with his blog.
“This will probably be the one and only time I’ll do this,” Reinke said, adding, “I like adventure.”
As another example, two years ago he built a log cabin in northern Minnesota for a month to “try to grow closer to God.”
The interviews with other newspapers and even a television station in Des Moines, Iowa, have been countless.
“I never seek it (publicity) out. I’m willing to talk. But that’s not what this trip is about. I’m not preaching. I hate being preached at,” Reinke said.
“I still identify as a Catholic, but as Christians we’re one. There’s common ground we share.”
“People have just been amazing,” he continued. “I’ve been blessed with joy.”
To learn more about Reinke’s journey, visit www.DanReinke.BlogSpot.com.