My name is Chuck Carnahan and this Summer, I'm going on a little walk to raise funds for a very special cause.

The drive from Columbus to Nova, OH is only about an hour and a half but this Summer I will walk from the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, 85 miles north to Nova in search of the last living tree planted by Johnny Appleseed. American Forests, America's oldest historic tree registry, has kindly donated a live rooted cutting from this tree, (Essentially a clone of the original tree) which I will then walk back to Columbus to be planted on the grounds of the Franklin Park Conservatory. In all, the trip will be about 170 miles and take 6 days. The twist however, is that I will make the entire trip with nothing but what I take with me from the beginning. Food, shelter, everything I use or need.

By donating below, you are not only helping to bring a piece of living American history to Columbus, you’re helping the American Cancer Society bring cancer treatments to thousands of people. Your donations will also help the Franklin Park Conservatory and American Forests keep tomorrow green for everyone!

All funds raised will go to the American Cancer Society, American Forests and the Franklin Park Conservatory.

And please check back for regular updates!!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I have taken down the address of the Algeo farm from my map below. Unfortunately they have had issues with people vandalizing the tree in the past so I though it was for the best. You can however, still see the main route that I walked.

This is pretty cool

Here are links to 3 of the news articles written about me. There were a few others but these were the better articles that also made it to print. Let me know what you think!

The Columbus Dispatch

The Other Paper

The Mansfield News Journal

Finally Home!!!

Hi Everyone,

I’m sorry it’s taken me a week to update the web site. It’s been kind of crazy trying to get back to a normal schedule after only a week away. Unfortunately however, I’ve also had to take some time away from work this week, just to give my body a chance to recover. I had been training for a couple of months leading up to the walk but after 170 miles of walking in temperatures in the mid 90’s and sleeping in fields, a couple of months of training wasn’t nearly enough!

Well, as you know by now, I made it back to the Conservatory on July 25th without too much difficulty. Hobbling through downtown Columbus like an arthritic 90 year old man who has lost his walker, seeing my parents and Megan waiting in front of the Franklin Park Conservatory was one of the best things I think I had ever seen. I felt like a little kid taking his very first aw-struck steps towards gates of Disney Land. Except instead of running around, riding rides and playing games, I was going to sit down, take off my shoes and take a long nap! Do I sound like that 90 year old man yet? Before you know it, I’m going to be yelling at kids to stay off of my lawn.

Looking back however, putting aside all of the blisters and swollen feet, making a trek like this can really change your perspective on a great many things. I began to realize that you can’t truly appreciate the vastness, the beauty or the harshness of nature until you’re experiencing it first hand. I began to realize how bad it would truly SUCK to be homeless. When you’re constantly dirty and sweaty for days on end and forced to sleep outside, nothing sounds better than a shower, a cold drink and the company of your loved ones. And I began to realize how truly good-natured most people really are.

The greatest part of my walk was getting to meet and talk to so many interesting people. They were constantly stopping to talk and wish me luck because they had read about me in the newspaper or heard about me from a friend. A few people even stopped to give me a fresh bottle of water or snacks. When I started the walk in Downtown Columbus, Richard Lincoln came out of his house to talk to Megan and I and jokingly said “You’ve got a backpack with a plant growing out the back of it, you in the wrong neighborhood.” Then, of course we all had our laughs and went on our way but really, I don’t think there is a wrong neighborhood as long as you’re doing the right thing. What will I remember most about this experience? Definitely the people I met along the way!

But now that the walk is a week in the past, I just wanted to give a big thanks to everyone involved.

First of all, thank you Mr. And Mrs. Algeo for letting me come to your farm and inviting me into your home. It really was an experience that I will never forget.

Thank you Jennifer Rankin from American Forests for donating the cuttings and Joe Besecker from the Johnny Appleseed Museum. You have both helped this process along so much!

Thanks so much to all of my family and friends who supported me along the way. Whenever things seemed to be at their toughest, I knew I could always turn to you for encouragement.

I need to give a very special thanks to Megan McCalla. She walked the first 10 miles with me through downtown Columbus and every day after that, she was right there whenever I needed ANYTHING. Just knowing that she was there, gave me something to look forward to every day and I know that I definitely could not have done this without her!

I would like to thank Timberland Shoes and High Sierra Sport Company one more time for donating some fantastic equipment. Seriously, these two companies make some great products!

But my biggest thanks has to go to everyone who donated money to any of the three charities listed above! Between the three charities, we raised about $500. That may not seem like a huge amount of money but every penny helps. Plus the legacy of charity fostered by Johnny Appleseed almost 200 years ago is a little bit stronger today because of you!

I will post pictures and video of my walk and the planting as soon as I get it all uploaded. Thanks again for all of your support!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Finally made it to the conservatory! Thank you so much everyone for your words of encouragement. I'll make sure to get back to all of your comments ASAP.
The rain seems to have stopped for now so i think I'll start my final leg to the conservatory. Thanks again Mr And Mrs McCalla for lettin me stay at your place.
It figures. On my last day of walking, it starts pouring rain just as i'm about to leave. I think I'll wait a little while and see if the rain passes through.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Made it to Westerville. And i am really ready to make it home tomorrow and finally get feeling back in my toes! Lol.
Well today is my last full day of walking. I'm going to try to push about 25 miles to Megan's parent's place in Westerville then home tomorrow!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Even with the ride, i still pushed out about 40 miles today. I'm not messing around about getting home though! Lol And THANK YOU Megan for charging my phone. :)
Just got a ride with a nice couple who sell dog collars online. They took me a little farther than i should have let them but they were so nice.
Today's heat index is about 100 and everything from my knees down is pretty much shot so i thought i might try my hand at hitchhiking for a couple of miles.
And so the long walk home begins today. There is a heat advisory for this afternoon though, so i don't think I'll be pushing it too hard.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Today at the Algeo farm was so great. It started raining so they let me crash out on the couch. I almost hate to have to start the long walk home tomorrow.
Made it to the farm and planted the tree. The Algeo family have given me a great reception. Tomorrow i start the walk home.
Oh and check out today's Columbus Dispatch and this weekend's The Other Paper!
Day 3 began a little over an hour ago and is off to a good start. I should arrive at the Algeo farm between 3:00 and 3:30 today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Well i'm settled down for the night and actually ahead of schedule. I do have to say that the grass i'm on tonight is so much nicer than last night's soy field.
Passed my 30 mile mark for the day but I've decided to push on a little while i still have good sunlight and the will. But I'll be paying for it tomorrow. Lol.
Just passed today's 20 mile marker. So about 2/3 of the way done for the day and making good time.
Well day two is well under way and i'm still alive and kicking. I'm not going to lie though, i'm SO exhausted. But there's no turning back now. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh and i'm sorry that i can't reply to all of you but unfortunately i need to reserve battery power. But your encouragement really does mean a lot!
So I've made it through the first day and 30 miles! Thank you all so much for your support.
So check out Thursday's Dispatch and this weekend's The Other Paper for the full story!
Megan joined me for the first 10 miles and even Joe Blundo from the Columbus Dispatch caught up and came along for a little while!
Well, i started the walk a little after 8 thismorning and now i'm resting at the 10 mile mark to catch my wind a little.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Walk Schedule

Well I visited the Algeo farm for the first time yesterday to better plan my walk. Not only was it useful in finding my way on some of Ohio's rural back country but I was surprised to see that I'll even be walking on a few gravel roads. I didn't even know that we still had gravel roads around here!

Upon arriving at the farm I noticed that the tree isn't in as bad a shape as I had been told. In fact, aside from the fact that the trunk has hollowed out and cracked away from age, it actually looked quite healthy and full. I was also able to meet Richard and Phillis Algeo, the owners of the farm who were just the nicest, most accommodating people. They showed us all of their historical information about the tree and their farm. And it seems that not only did Johnny Appleseed frequent the farm but it was also a stop on the underground railroad!

The walk schedule as it currently stands:

July 20th, 8:00am- Start walking from the FPC

July 22nd, 3:30pm- Reception and tree planting event at the Algeo Farm. Please come and join the fun! There will be Cider and Phillis Algeo's home made Apple cookies made with apples from the ACTUAL TREE! That night I'll sleep in (or at least next to) the barn where Johnny would sleep when he stayed here.

July 25th, 3:30pm- Arrive back at the FPC. I'm not sure when the Conservatory plans to plant the seedling but I'll post the details as soon as I find out.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Good News and Bad News

Well, the bad news is that the main trunk of the last living tree planted by Johnny Appleseed has come down. It stood for more than 175 years while most apple trees only live for 50 or 60 years! The good news however, is that there are still a couple of shoots from the tree still alive and growing. So the tree it's self is still kicking but just barely.

My original plan was just to walk to the farm, pick up a donated cutting from the tree and walk back to Columbus where the cutting would be planted at the Franklin Park Conservatory. But American Forests has kindly donated another cutting which I will have with me from the beginning and will be planted on the farm in commemoration of the original tree.

If all goes as planned, I should arrive at the Algeo farm around 3:30pm on July 22nd with the first cutting. I am told that there will be cider and Apple cookies made from the Algeo family recipe so please feel free to come and be a part of this momentous event! The adress is 1251 Co Rd #658 Nova, OH 44859 and the map can be found below. Thanks!


When I first came up with the idea for this walk, I sent letters to a few companies who make outdoors equipment asking for donations. Well, two companies came through and have donated some fantastic equipment!

The first was Timberland who gave a pair of their new Mountain Athletics shoes.

And just recently I got an unexpected box from High Sierra containing a new Sentinel 65 backpack.

Both of these donations are going to help make this walk so much easier. I can't possibly thank these two companies enough for their generosity. So if you get a chance, check out their web sites. They both make great products!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One Big Happy

It was a pretty interesting coincidence for this to come out right before my walk. Thanks Carida and Mark McCalla and my parents for pointing this out to me. That was great!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My tentative route

This is the route that I plan to walk. It may change a little but this looks like the most direct path to walk. Feel free to zoom in and explore the map. I plan to post my GPS locations as I stop for the night.

View Larger Map

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Walk

Though cracked, splintered and held together by chains, the last known living apple tree planted by John Chapman (AKA. Johnny Appleseed) still produces a good crop of tart, red-striped apples each fall. Growing on the farm of Dick and Phyllis Algeo near Nova, the 170-year-old tree has long been seen as a proud member of this family, which still has four generations living on the farm.Typically, apple trees live only 50 or 60 years, so the Algeo tree has surprised experts with its longevity.

“Every spring I think it’s the last year,” says Phyllis, looking proudly at the tree. “But Johnny’s watching over it.”

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Chuck Carnahan and I have been working in the non-profit field for over 8 years with the Dublin Arts Council in Dublin, Ohio. I have many years of backpacking and hiking experience, however this walk presents an entirely new kind of challenge. 180 years ago when John Chapman was traveling the mid-west, if you didn't have a horse, money for a carriage or live near a body of water, you had to walk everywhere you went. If you needed supplies other than what you had with you, you were out of luck. This is the example that I will follow on this walk. The drive from Columbus to Nova is only about an hour and a half but I will walk the entire 170 mile round trip with nothing but what I take with me from the beginning. Food, shelter, everything I use or need.

Upon reaching the Algeo farm on day 3 of my walk, I will strap a live rooted cutting from this tree (Essentially a clone of the original tree) onto my backpack and start my 3 day walk back to Columbus. The cutting was propagated and donated by American Forests which is America's oldest historic tree registry. The cutting will then be planted on the grounds of the Franklin Park Conservatory as part of their permanent collection.

The planting was originally going to take place in July at the conclusion of my walk. However by a happy coincidence, American Forests and the Johnny Appleseed Museum are conducting their own Johnny Appleseed tour in September and in which, they have asked to include the planting of the Appleseed cutting at the Conservatory.

I will post more details about the walk and the tour in September as they come in, so please check back for regular updates! And please please please donate to the American Cancer Society, the Franklin Park Conservatory and American Forests via the GREEN links above. All of the money you donate will go solely to them and your donation is tax deductible. These three organizations do so much to help their respective communities so please, help them out in any way you can. I will also post regular updates as to the total dollar amount raised.

Feel free to leave comments and questions below. Thanks!!!