To those words of wisdom, Kelly Gibson at the Louden Nelson Community Center makes sure that while you’re moving you take in the beauty of our local world. Her wonderful program, the Walking Adventure Group (WAG), provides short local walking trips to unique locations around the bay area throughout the year.
With almost two years of weekly outings and over 150 miles covered, this group continues to gain popularity. Kelly is focusing 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.”
Her goal is to explore as many different areas as possible and partner with rangers, docents, and local professionals to enrich the learning and understanding of the areas and habitats visited. One such professional is Greg Pepping of the coastal watershed. The River Walk, which happened for the second time this July, allowed WAG members to watch city staff doing the fish survey and then hear from them about what’s happening at the river.
Many participants say that these outings have taken them to places they had no idea existed! Most of these adventures have been within the greater Santa Cruz area – along the San Lorenzo River, West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz Harbor and in parklands such as Arana Gulch, Pogonip and DeLaveaga. Capitola and surrounding neighborhoods hold a great deal of charm as well. When planning walks, Kelly considers the variety of urban flat and moderate terrains to be sure to provide enough variety for all interested walkers.
Capitola Wharf and Village bring out the tourist in the walkers. 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!
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 Simpkins Center or an opportunity to explore Land of the Medicine Buddha in the hills about Cabrillo College from the WAG itinerary!
Kelly was a “ Trails Planner” for County of Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department’s twenty-seven parks before joining Kim Fryer at Louden Nelson’s Senior Program. A welcome addition to a successful and growing services in the center of town, Kelly jumped in and created WAG in September of 2015.
Having never met a trail she didn’t like, Kelly sometimes ventures up to the mountains to locations such as Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Fall Creek and Quail Hollow. She is licensed to drive the city van carrying 7 passengers.
Those who prefer to drive can follow or meet at the site makes for an easy and relaxing morning out. It’s not unusual for some walkers to extend the day with either a picnic lunch or to explore a new local restaurant together.
WAG tracks the distance walked by individuals and notes several members have walked the distance equivalent to a marathon (26.219 miles). The mailing list grows weekly and friendships continually blossom.
Short local walking trips to unique locations around the bay area are offered throughout the year To register for half-day local pop-up trips or learn about the free Walking Adventure Group please inquire at the Downtown Seniors office at 831-420-6180