I want to change how people think about walking and where they walk.
When I tell people, I walk – they usually respond, “I can’t hike,” or “I wish I had the time.”
My responses are either “I can’t hike either,” or “I make time for walking.”
I can’t hike because I have arthritis in my knees, I have COPD and I’m not willing to go out for 4-6 hours. However, I can make time for a 1-2 hours walk in some of the most beautiful country anywhere.
Most hiking or walking guides call an “easy” hike 5-8 miles with 500 feet of elevation change. If I take a 5-mile hike, it’s a mistake or it’s a once a year trek. And a 100-foot elevation change is a challenge.
I’ve done over 110 posts. That’s about 55 different places to walk in Sonoma County, California. (I’m not done.) Some have hills and many have mountains nearby, but there’s a warning for those who don’t want uphill or a come-on for those who want a hike. Major hint for a short walk – only walk as far as you want.
The blog travels and explores the flat walks from Redding to San Francisco to San Diego to Yosemite.
To find those flat walks – anywhere – the blog provides general hints. Resources and guides abound from signage about creeks and watersheds, to the increased number of bike trails thanks to bike coalitions, to articles about restored landscapes that include hiking trails. Organizations with an emphasis on the outdoors often lead walks or have open trails in their territory. (My blog links to many local groups and resources.)
A growing emphasis on walking as a healthy alternative to an aging population makes ‘where’ to walk more important. I want to be in the thick of it.
I’ve included my husband’s pictures to represent the kinds of places we find to walk. While I stroll the dog around the neighborhood and take breaks to walk at work, I’m not otherwise walking up and down driveways and around garbage can and pickups. Walking isn’t just about exercise.
Wildlife abounds, in gorgeous places and some not so gorgeous. I’ve seen otters along a flood control creek, also alive with turtles, kingfishers. egrets and herons. Walking along a flat ocean bluff, I have been eyeball to eyeball with gulls and seen brown pelicans skim over the ocean. I know where the best wildflower show is and when.
I can’t hike and I don’t have the time. But I can walk in some beautiful places. Walking inspires, relaxes, energizes, and renews me. It has changed me. Pass it on.
See you on the trail!
Words by Lynn Millar
Photos by Mike Millar