A few days ago, Gary Cantrell, aka Laz Lake, race director of the Barkley Marathons and a slew of other Tennessee-based ultras, posted on Facebook that he’s thinking of doing another “Lazcon” in 2021–this time from top to bottom. Last year he walked more than 5,000 kilometres across the width of the US, from Rhode Island to Oregon. This time he plans to walk from Copper Harbor, Michigan to Key West, Florida, following Highway 41.
In his inimitably poetic way, Laz posted on November 25:
“i find myself longingly looking at maps again.
it seems that 2018 did not permanently cure the itch.
this coming summer is pretty well booked, but the summer of 2021 is calling to me…
i have been thinking.
is it a coincidence that,
if i start on may 11 (a date i just pulled out of the air)
at the northern terminus of us 41 near copper harbor michigan
and average 20 miles a day for 108 days,
continuing 165 miles past miami after us 41 hits its southern terminus on us 1 in miami…
i could finish in key west on my birthday?
or is it something that just has to be done?”
The post elicited 90 comments from people encouraging him and expressing an interest in walking with him when he passes through their area. He later amended his intention, suggesting that he should start instead at Angle Inlet in Minnesota, the northernmost point in the “lower 48,” and the only part of the contiguous US that’s above the 49th parallel.
First constructed in 1926, Highway 41 passes through Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. To reach it, Laz will have to either walk around Lake of the Woods (through Manitoba and northern Ontario and back into Minnesota) or take a ferry (which would save him approximately 100 miles).
One commenter said, “We live only once.” To which Laz replied, “I hope not. There are 3 more magical journeys I want to do after this one!”