Today in 1907, a guy named Charles Oldrieve finished walking from Cincinnati to New Orleans.
That’s a good long trip no matter how you walk, but there was a catch: Oldrieve walked on water.
This is back when the sport of pedestrianism, or competitive walking, was popular.
Oldrieve did his walking on rivers and lakes, thanks to special shoes he’d designed that acted sort of like canoes.
He could plod around in the water without sinking, though apparently one time he did get lost in the fog and friends had to rescue him like 12 hours later.
Nonetheless, he became known as “The Human Water Spider” and performed all over the U.S. as well as overseas.
(He did not try to walk across the ocean to other countries.)
According to the Waterways Journal, two men in Boston wanted to see how far the Human Water Spider could go.
They bet on whether Oldrieve could walk the Ohio and MIssissippi Rivers from Cincinnati down to New Orleans.
That’s over 1,500 miles in just 40 days.
Oldrieve was up for it, and started his trip on New Year’s Day 1907, along with an entourage.
There was essentially a motorized houseboat, which is where Oldrieve slept each night.
And his wife Caroline, who performed as a “world champion oarswoman,” was on hand in a rowboat, in case Charles needed rescuing.
Several times he did; just a few days into the trip Oldrieve and company went over a waterfall!
The couple got sick along the way, which slowed them down.
Fans would set out in their own boats to see Oldrieve, and if they got too close they could upset his balance.
And near the end of the trek, he was almost sucked into an eddy, before Caroline and crew pulled him to safety.
Despite all the challenges, they pressed on, and when the wind was right and the current was strong, Oldrieve could actually cover 30, 40, sometimes 50 miles in a day.
He made it to New Orleans just before the deadline, winning himself quite a bit of money.
Sadly the Oldrieves only lived a few months longer due to a series of tragedies, and their fame faded.
But you have to hand it to them: 1,500 miles of walking on water, in the early 20th century, is hard to top.
If you’re looking for an easy way to find some peace and quiet, try the website Sounds of Earth.
When you load it up you’ll see a 3D globe with play buttons all over.
Depending on where you click, you can hear outdoor sounds from around the world, from ocean waves in California, to a nature reserve in Germany, to forest rainfall in Vietnam.
He Walked On Water From Cincinnati To New Orleans (The Waterways Journal)