Kelly Gibson has never walked a trail she didn’t love! So for the past four years she’s been sharing many of her favorite walking paths with seniors throughout the county. She focuses on getting active seniors together for activity, exploration, learning and community.
The trips are scheduled for two hours each from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and about once a month they are “dog-friendly” and you can see in the photo she brings her own pet named Hudson who wags along with the WAG (Walking Adventure Group) makes a fitting mascot.
Exploring as many different areas as possible and partnering with rangers, docent, and local professionals to enrich the learning and understanding of the area’s habitats, the popularity of these walks keep growing.
Kelly tracks the distance each of the members have walked with the program over the years. Currently, that distance is well over 300 miles for the program. Some e members like to claim bragging rights with their numbers and one magnificent 86-year-old walker boasts the most steps!
With a participant list that grows weekly, there’s more to the miles than good walking shoes.
Friendships continually blossom and celebrations of everything from birthdays and anniversaries to personal achievements in walking friend’s lives make for a spring in the steps of all companion walkers. Of course, bragging rights make it a lot of fun and have motivated new friends to join the party!
Many participants, including Santa Cruz natives, say these outings have taken them to places they had no idea existed! Most of the adventures have been within the greater Santa Cruz area, along the San Lorenzo River, West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz Harbor and in the parklands such as Arana Gulch Pogonip and DeLaveaga. Kelly considers the variety of urban flat and moderate terrains to be sure to provide enough variety for all interested walkers. Capitol and surrounding neighborhoods also hold a great deal of charm.
At the Capitola Wharf and Village, we’re in step with the tourist attractions. Following the historic staircase to Depot Hill bluffs and circling the neighborhood back down to the river walk and the wharf creates a hearty appetite to be satisfied at waterfront eateries? Some folks plan ahead for brown bagging or dining out together but spontaneity seems to decide where to satisfy appetites as well.
Moran Lake Park, close to Pleasure Point, provides a close to nature experience and includes a delightful swing which many folks stop to enjoy. It wouldn’t be possible to exclude the beauty of Schwan Lagoon trails leading to the Simpkin Center or an opportunity to explore the Land of the Medicine Buddha in the hills above Cabrillo College form the WAG itinerary.
Before joining the team at Louden Nelson’s Senior Program, Kelly was a “Tails Planner” for the County of Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department’s twenty-seven parks. Now that she’s been with the program for three years the locals refer to WAG as Kelly’s program.
The program is called WAG Walking Adventure Group and you can register at the downtown Seniors Office at 831 420 6180. A visit to santacruzparksandrec.com or facebook.com/cityofsantacruzparksandrecreation will advise you of additional opportunities to see more of our little corner of the world including day trips.
Seniors in Action was started by Noreen Santaluce who understood the importance of continually making new friends and enjoying the bounty of our coastal communities. If you have a program or a particular senior in action that you would like us to highlight, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or 831 359 5814 and help spread the word!