ENUMCLAW, Washington (STPNS) -- Walking down state Route 410 outside Buckley, Jesse WhiteCrow may have looked like any other Plateau resident out for a stroll. Except, strapped to WhiteCrow?s back was an enormous backpack loaded with his life ? a pack he?s been hauling across America for three years.

WhiteCrow said walking across America was a childhood dream. He began with a mini-tour in 2002 and in 2005 he left New England and started ambling down the East Coast. Through the months and years, he wandered toward the Gulf and then to the Northwest.

His path can be traced on a skinny, ink line on a tattered map of the United States. Day after day, he marched through good weather and bad; high plains, mountains and deserts; small towns with engaging people; and forests filled with wild animals.

He passed through Buckley, Enumclaw and Black Diamond Thursday and Friday. His final destination is Cape Flattery, Wash.

In all, he expects to walk 8,000 miles.

There are others who are walking across the country, but WhiteCrow said his journey is completely solo. WhiteCrow started the venture shortly after turning 40 years old. The college art teacher said it wasn?t a mid-life crisis, but a window of opportunity that opened to explore the backwoods of America.

?I?ve been able to get to know it (America) and myself,? he said.

He?s been keeping an on-line blog with the latest entry Feb. 16 from Eatonville, where he titled the entry, ?Chest In Snow.? Each entry tells a story. Some are celebrations, others are trials and tribulations. Each has insight into what WhiteCrow discovered along the way.

There were a couple of special stops WhiteCrow said he made to revisit places from television. One was Walton?s Mountain in Virginia and the other will be Roslyn, Wash., made popular by the television show ?Northern Exposure.?

Self-financed, WhiteCrow has relied on the kindness of strangers, his pack of camping supplies, his own intuition and an eye for roadside discards that can be turned into practical survival gear.

WhiteCrow expects to settle in Minnesota for a bit and write a book about his adventure.

For more information, or to follow his final steps, visit his Web site at www.whitecrowwalking.-com.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at bsexton@courierherald.com.