NEWS

Mount Shasta circle maker walks on

Steve Gerace
A photo of Randy Montgomery’s feet and his shadow, posted Tuesday afternoon to his Facebook page.

Randy Montgomery hit some early road blocks at the start of his prayer circle walk around the perimeter of the United States.

But a week into his journey, the logging truck driver from Mount Shasta had lightened his load and shed some doubts as he crossed the border between California and Oregon.

Montgomery had been on the road for two weeks when he reported Monday that he had left Port Orford, Ore., heading north earlier in the day. That put him about 160 miles from his July 1 starting point in Arcata, Calif.

He is documenting his 14,000-plus mile journey-with-a-purpose on Facebook. A new YouTube video features Montgomery’s voice and a photo of Mt. Shasta. On the video he describes what he refers to as, “my story.” The video can be found with a web search for “Randy Montgomery circle maker”

Montgomery said last week that the first couple days after he started walking north from Arcata “were emotional as hell.” By July 8 he had gone more than 100 miles and was trekking up the Oregon coast believing more strongly than ever about his purpose.

His goal is no less than to create a miracle. “I want to encourage everybody to start helping one another,” he said. “If everybody starts today, we can change the way the world is working. If we start today, we will feel the rewards in the moment and feel good in the future; there will be a ripple effect of rewards in a pure good way.”

By Monday of this week, Montgomery said he had “met so many cool people you can’t believe it.” The walking isn’t always joyous, but he said, “I don’t care how bad it gets, never will I stop this walk. One day might not look good, but the next day is better. It’s all good. It’s great.”

At age 62, the longtime Mount Shasta resident made his prayer circle decision soon after reading Mark Batterson’s book, “The Circle Maker.” The book describes, among other seeming miracles, the legend of Honi the Circle Maker, who drew a circle in the sand and refused to leave it until his prayers for his people were answered.

Batterson also details his own positive experiences with circle making.

Before a friend gave him the book, Montgomery said he was questioning his life.

A logging truck driver for many years, he had recently lost a job, laid his loaded truck into a tree, and developed a nagging feeling about his future.

“I’ve been truckin’ a lot of years,” he said in late June. “I’m 62 years old; in three years I'll be 65. I have no retirement.”

Though he got another job and was able to drive his truck home after the encounter with the tree, Montgomery said he felt “embarrassed and depressed, bummed over the whole situation.”

He said he started “praying 10 times a day in my truck for something I can make a living at; there’s gotta be something I can do for the people.”

He said he hadn’t read a book since high school, but he read “The Circle Maker” and quickly started planning his walk around the country. He expects it to take three and a-half to four years.

Supported by friends and family, including two grown sons, Montgomery was encouraged by a friend, The Fifth Season outdoors shop owner Leif Voeltz, to put the details of his plan in writing.

Believing “the universe rewards action if it’s done in the right spirit,” Montgomery said he gave his logging truck away and started doing a lot of walking to get ready.

But two or three miles after leaving Arcata, he developed severe pain in his hip and was limping because of it.

“I sat in a park crying my eyes out,” he said during a cell phone conversation.

Even after his sister came and took half of the 60 pounds of stuff he had crammed into his backpack, the hip pain continued.

He spent his first night behind a guard rail, far from the large rustic home he built for himself about 30 years ago on an acre of land surrounded by forest at the end of a dirt road outside the town of Mount Shasta.

“So I sat on a viewpoint and realized the greatest healer of all is right above me. I said, ‘Please God, I want this more than anything in the world. Please help me do this.’”

He said he left the viewpoint and covered 25 miles the next day, then did another 20 miles the day after. By the time he arrived in Crescent City, about 80 miles north of Arcata, he said the hip pain was gone.

He took a couple days off to visit his sister and say goodbye to his dog then started walking towards Brookings on the Oregon coast.

“My life hasn’t been religious,” Montgomery said last week. “But I prayed for five hours the other day... I’m praying a lot as I walk. It is a prayer circle. I want everybody to have hope, faith and love.”

Montgomery hopes to talk to people he meets along the way and tell them why he’s walking.

He ended that conversation by saying, “Now I know I’m doing this walk no matter what. I’m going to kick this circle’s ass.”

His Facebook page has a link to a PayPal account for anyone who would like to donate to his effort. T-shirts can also be purchased to help support the walk.