Sure, maybe Walking Across Connecticut is a bad idea after a year with two knee surgeries (and a new titanium screw in my left leg). But what the hell –– I’m going to try it. I meet so many amazing people along the way, and it helps root me in what matters to our state.

So this afternoon, after a year hiatus for the pandemic, I kicked off my 5th Walk Across Connecticut! I’ll be walking north to south, from Enfield to Guilford, over the next four days.

One of my first stops was to Shag Bark Hickory Farm, the kind of off-the-beaten-path place I probably would never find if I weren’t walking the back roads. It’s a non-profit that gives access to horseback riding and horse therapy to lower-income families. I can’t wait to help them!

Later, I had a good talk with a retired couple out front fixing their fence in East Windsor. The husband told me he’s against an assault weapons ban (but he’s for background checks). Part of the point of the Walk is to talk to everyone, regardless of whether they agree with me or not.

I also got to chat with a Connecticut police officer. We had an honest and open discussion about police reform legislation (in Connecticut and nationally). He understood the need for a conversation about reform, but he wanted to make sure we did it in a way that still made it possible for him to respond to legitimate complaints.

Normally, “horse race politics” (who’s running, who’s up, who’s down) doesn’t come up on my walks across the state. But today, many people volunteered, out of the blue, that they are really hoping Trump doesn’t run again. People are just exhausted by him.

Along the way, I also met up with a bunch of friends in local office. Walking with them was a great chance to get an update on the most pressing issues facing their communities.

Not all the conversations are about politics. In East Windsor, I spoke to a nice woman who has two apple trees. She got so many last year that she put them by the road in a wheelbarrow with a sign that said “FREE.”

“People took all the apples,” she said.

“Great,” I replied.

Her response: “But they also took the wheelbarrow.”

12 miles in the books today. Every time I do this walk, I relearn how gorgeous this state is.

Day two starts bright and early tomorrow.

U.S. Senator, Connecticut