A Very Long Walk to the Altar

Tens of thousands of people get married in Clark County each year. Few, if any, will have gone to the lengths that Laura Brunett and Joseph Crist have when they tie the knot at Lake Mead this fall.

The couple left their hometown of Canton, Mich., on April 15, beginning a 2,500-mile walk to Las Vegas that will culminate with their Sept. 24 wedding. Brunett and Crist, both 24, met in middle school but didn’t start dating until three years ago when they were reacquainted at Eastern Michigan University.

They saved $4,500 for their journey, most of it for food. They plan to forego hotels in favor of camping most nights, and are toting backpacks with clothing, water, sleeping bags, a tent, a portable stove and a laptop computer.

Reached by cell phone 120 miles into the walk, Crist says the weather has been uncooperative in the early going, causing the couple some rough moments.

“It’s been pretty awful,” he says. “There was snow on our second night, and there’s been a lot of rain and it’s been really cold. … We haven’t really enjoyed the walk as much as we probably could.”

The good news is, Brunett and Crist have encountered many good Samaritans along the way who have provided places to stay for the night. While some of their benefactors had already heard about the couple’s cross-country trek, others were complete strangers offering a helping hand.

“I didn’t realize we were going to get famous, to begin with,” Crist says. “And then for the people who just see us on the road, to show us that much compassion, it’s surprising to me.”

Both Brunett and Crist quit their jobs for the walk, which the couple is chronicling on Facebook (JoeandLaura Walk to Vegas). Meanwhile, Vegas Seven will periodically update their progress—physical and emotional—on our website, Vegas Seven.

The couple realizes that the journey is a risky proposition: On one hand, it could bring them closer together. On the other, a few thousand miles of slogging across the hinterland just might bring out the worst in a couple.

“We wouldn’t really have done this if we thought we would be driven apart by it, but it is possible,” Crist says. “I’m not excluding that possibility. It’s definitely crossed my mind.”

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