Richard Humphreys, a 78-year-old Kirkwood man who’s lived with Type 1 diabetes since age 14, left his home Sunday to embark on a 380-mile walk across the state to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. Humphreys’ destination is Camp Ho Mita Koda, located 30 miles east of Cleveland. 

Read a feature story about his journey here. See updates from his walk below, with newest updates at top. 

For those interested in donating to the camp on behalf of Humphreys' journey, click here. (Note: In order for the donation to be credited to Humphreys' walk, please include a brief note or simply write “Gnome Man” in the provided space for the donation. Without a note, the funds will not be credited appropriately. All donations are fully tax deductible.) As of now, Humphreys has raised nearly $5,000 for the camp.

Wednesday, June 2: The journey ends abruptly 

Humphreys was forced to prematurely end his walk and return to his home in Kirkwood after completing nearly a quarter of the 380-mile hike. Humphreys cited his macular degeneration as the major impediment that pulled him off the road. 

Humphreys says he was staying at a hostel in Duncannon, Perry County, popular with Appalachian Trail thru-hikers and using it as a base. The woman who owned the hostel, Betsy, would drive him out to wherever he left off on his walk the day before.

“There are so many great American people,” says Humphreys. “There’s so many good people. I made some good friends.”

But he faced real dangers alone on the road. Despite having good directions, he was unable to read the road signs. He twisted an ankle on the berm of a road, though he was fine to continue walking. Walking along the shoulder of Route 322, the fast-moving traffic worried him.

In the end, Humphreys thought of the big picture. He says he realized how much he loves what he does at Gnome Countryside and how much it makes others happy. He didn’t want to risk physical injury and the possibility of not being able to do his Gnome Countryside trail walks.

“That traffic, whoa, it flies. I thought if I would be hit that would be it,” says Humphreys. “It was difficult to give this up. I didn’t want to let the kids at camp down. I was so determined to do this. I just wanted to honor Banting and Best (the creators of insulin), they gave life to all of us Type 1 diabetics.”

Humphreys hasn't abandoned his signature "glass half full" attitude, though. 

“I could let myself be really bent out of shape about not doing this, but I know it’s not worth it. I did the best I could with it with the ability that I had,” says Humphreys. “When I think about it now, I’m so happy I made this decision.”

He'll be blogging about his experience on his journey and his life with Type 1 diabetes on Camp Ho Mita Koda's website. 

Wednesday, May 26: Approaching the 70-mile mark

After a rest day on the 25th, Humphreys donned his vibrant yellow visibility vest, grabs his gnome walking staff, (the bottom of the staff is painted white for higher visibility), laced up his New Balance sneakers and picked up the walk in Wormleysburg.

He's walked 68-miles so far and has 312 remaining on his journey.

Humphreys' is in good spirits and is well-rested, aiming to get about 9 hours of sleep a night between walking days.

In the beginning stages of his walk, Humphreys' friends would pick him up from his last stopping point, drive him back to his home in Kirkwood and return him to his starting point in the morning. But today marks the part of his journey when he'll begin camping along the way. Humphreys notes the walk would not be possible without the help of his friends, but looks forward to spending his first night in his tent. 

See a video of him catching up with LNP | LancasterOnline as he passes through the Wormleysburg area below. 

Monday, May 24: Crossing the Susquehanna

After a day off on Sunday, Humphreys picked up his walk in Hershey and on a rainy Monday made his way to Harrisburg.

"It's a nice rain though," Humphreys said during a phone call. 

Around 4:30 p.m., he was preparing to cross the Market Street Bridge to meet a friend at a nearby restaurant.

"My friend is bringing me some water repellent for my shoes," Humphreys said.

Humphreys also said he's already met some interesting people along the way, and he's having fun. 

Saturday, May 22: 50-mile mark

Humphreys ended his first full week of his journey in Hershey. He passed Columbia, Florin and Bachmanville on his way to Hershey. Humphreys has hiked 54 miles so far on his walk and has 326 miles remaining to get to Camp Ho Mita Koda in Ohio. 

Tuesday, May 18: 30-mile mark 

Humphreys wrapped up his third day on the trail in Columbia. He's walked 30 miles total so far and his daily mileage is steadily increasing from five miles on May 16, to 11 miles on May 17 to 14 miles on May 18. He has 350 miles remaining on his journey. 

Sunday, May 16: First steps 

Friends and well-wishers gathered at Humphreys' Kirkwood home as he departed for Ohio. See a video and a photo collection below of his departure.

Watch: Kirkwood's gnome man begins 380-mile walk to Type 1 diabetes camp in Ohio


Humphreys spoke with LNP | LancasterOnline before his departure to explain the mission behind his journey to Ohio. Read more in the story linked below, and see a video of Humphreys at his Kirkwood home below. 


Kirkwood’s gnome man plans to walk 380 miles to a Type 1 diabetes camp; here’s why
Lancaster County's 78-year-old 'gnome man' to begin 380-mile journey to Ohio [video]

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