Accomplishments in Walking

Yesterday, Victor and I attended the Historic Rusk Walk in historic Rusk. To be honest, I had never heard of Rusk before the event was published. However, I am into geocaching and volksmarching because they take me places I’ve never been before.

I forgot my camera/phone so I haven’t any pics. However, I have accomplishments to post.

  • This was our first volksmarch outside of the North Texas area.
  • This was Victor’ first visit to East Texas.
  • We joined a nice lady, Maki, for the 5k. (Normally we avoid other volksmarchers because we’re really slow.) We were able to keep up with Maki!
  • We turned in our newcomers booklets and bought the next level of booklet. We’re no longer newbies!!!! (A very nice lady at the walk told us she’d take our booklets to headquarters personally and to expect a certificate and pin to celebrate our accomplishments in the mail.)
  • At the end of the walk, my Fitbit announced that I’d completed 250 miles since I joined Fitbit in April 2014.

I’ve learned a bit from this walk.

  • I’m faster than I used to be.
  • 5k is no longer the challenge it used to be, even with hills.
  • Rusk has the longest footbridge in the world. It’s also an old bridge–originally built to keep sections of Rusk connected during floods.
  • 85-year old birthday girls can walk 10ks. (I hope I’m able to when I’m 85.)
  • If I get up at 6AM, I can drive 200+ miles to make a walk.
  • It’s cheaper than I thought it would be to drive 200+ miles to make a walk.

I’m glad I went to Rusk. It was well worth it.

Volksmarch: Dallas Downtown 5k

I needed a pick-me-up, something new. I wasn’t in the mood for a new dress or even a new book. Instead, I wanted a new walk: the Dallas Downtown walk.

Our weather this week has been amazing. In the low 90s, the strong south breezes have ameliorated the humidity (79-85%). Partly cloudy conditions prevailed in the morning. By lunchtime, the clouds had cleared, leaving the bright sunshine.

Geocaching Leaders

We Real Cool

Victor and I took the TRE to Dallas Union Station ($10 for an all-region ticket), the location of the AVA box and the beginning of our 5k. We walked to the counter where we were greeted by two friendly DART employees who handed us the box and watched us check in.

We left Union Station to begin our trek. We were on familiar territory. We have geocached Downtown Dallas before but construction changes Dallas and transforms landmarks regularly.

We walked past a historic federal building (if you walk this, check out the architectural details of the building! I love the bronze lamps.) We passed Dealey Plaza (I’ve never really paid attention to Ol’ Man Dealey’s statue before) and crossed over to the Old Red. We crossed to the fountains at Founders’ Plaza (love the pedestrian crossing!) before heading north again.

I have never approached the historic West End from the angle we were led. It was nice to be in the shade again. We stopped off for breakfast at the Corner Bakery (only one restroom!) before continuing on our way. I was looking forward to encountering the Historic Marker where North and South Texas were joined via Preston.

I have a fascination with historic markers.

Connecting NTx to STx.

Having never approached West End from this angle, the tribute to music passageway was unknown to me. I stopped to read several of the plaques before we crossed under the highway through the musical archway.

It must have been shift change for the downtown police station. Cops and cop cars were everywhere! I felt quite safe.

I reminisced with Victor about Tricky Dick’s and the House of Blues. They’ve moved about since I was in college in the 90s.

We walked past El Fenix (Closed, alas! Too early for lunch.) up past the Perot Museum. We had to cross the street because of sidewalk construction. Green stripes and directions have been added to the sidewalks to direct pedestrians to the Perot and the new park. We passed several families on their way to the Perot. Lots of up on this leg of the walk.

The directions for the park were a bit confusing. We weren’t too sure how far we were supposed to go counterclockwise before circling back to the entrance to the park. It was Victor’s first visit to the park. I pointed out several of the features, including the misting park and the free reading room with games. We’ll be bringing nieces and nephews here on their visits.

Our next landmarks included the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) and the Museum Towers. It was the first time I’d walked past the Museum Towers. What an interesting building!

We noted that the Crowe Asian Art Collection appears to be either moving or expanding. Either would be appropriate. It’s a great little museum.

School buses lined the streets around the DMA. The drivers wisely parked in the shade. We approve highly of the trees shading the sidewalk.

We walked through the DMA lot, passing the familiar statue and mural. At the corner, we faced a dilemma. The sidewalk was temporarily closed as workers cleaned up the fountains and gardens. The workers indicated we could walk around them so we continued to Fountain Place. Unfortunately, we couldn’t cut through Fountain Place because the fountains were being worked on.

On Field Street, we saw a woman enter a building through an obscure entrance. Above the entrance was a small sign indicating that this was an entrance to the Dallas Underground Tunnel System. Score! I’ve been telling Victor about the Dallas Tunnel System for years but I couldn’t remember how we got into it when we used to explore the system back when I was in college. We entered.

We luxuriated in the air conditioning and shade (it was reaching the 90s by now) as we road down the escalator. We began following random turns in the tunnels. We passed restaurants, shops, ATMs, and office workers in our explorations. We found the restrooms and freshened up before finding an exit back to Field Street and continued on our walk.

We arrived back at Union Station with 20 minutes to spare before the next train. (It would be almost two hours before the next TRE train would arrive.) We signed back in and boarded our train.

I wish I’d taken more pictures. We’ll take more in November when we return for the longer walk.

Welcome to Summer!

I grew up in South Texas. We learned in school the signs of heat exhaustion, heat rash, and heat stroke. Now that summer has begun (6 hours ago!), I’d like to remind you what to do for the heat.

You're subject to heat problems with almost any outdoor activity in Texas during the summer.

Drink water!

 

Sauntering

It is a great art to saunter.

Henry David Thoreau

The Benefits of Mall Walking

I live near a walking-friendly mall. It was built with a softer-than-normal floor. It is a mile-around.

  • Free!
  • Ease of use
  • No weather – no rain, no humidity, no 100+ temperatures
  • Shade
  • Lots of parking
  • No pests – no barking dogs, no mosquitoes, no snakes
  • No fear of West Nile Virus
  • Police/security presence
  • Restrooms
  • Water fountains (with cold water!)
  • Convenient benches
  • Storefronts
  • Air conditioning
  • Many opportunities for people-watching
  • The food court
  • No walking partner necessary
  • Many malls open early just for mall walkers!
  • No one is judging you for how fast or how slow you walk.
  • Stroller-friendly
  • You may bump into friends!
  • Many malls also host geocaches. (Two hobbies in one visit!)
Walking improves happiness.

Walking: It’s not just for the outdoors!

What Might You Find (or Leave) in a Geocache?

Mandatory:

  • logbook

Optional:

  • pen or pencil
  • unusual coins or currency (low value)
  • small toys
  • ornamental buttons
  • band-aids
  • coupons
  • pathtags
  • trinkets
  • “hitchhikers” such as Geocoins or Travel Bugs

What May Not Be Left in a Geocache?

  • Food
  • Drugs
  • Weapons
  • Pornography
  • Fireworks/firecrackers
  • Explosives
  • Dangerous items
  • Illegal items

Geocaching Rule of Thumb: If you take something from a geocache, you should leave something of similar or higher value.

GC4D9X3

This is an actual cache in Israel!

GC4D9X3

In Honor of National Trails Day

Something to think about as you ponder National Trails Day!

Something to think about as you ponder National Trails Day!

Review: Pedometer

The GEAR Pedometer

The Best Pedometer I Have Used

I received this pedometer when I participated in a study researching geocaching and health and fitness. I was one of the few in SWAG (South Arlington Area Geocachers) who liked the pedometer we received. Others complained it was too sensitive, a feature I treasure.

I have a short stride (about 14 inches) and I overpronate. Most pedometers are unable to measure my steps with accuracy. This one did! I walked around the school, counting my steps. When I checked the pedometer, the number matched.

Devices which depend on GPS to measure distance don’t work when I’m in the classroom. While I may be walking around a lot, the distance I travel in the room is quite short. I can cross the room in only 11 steps while dodging desks and student paraphernalia. On testing days I prefer to use an old-fashioned pedometer.

I’m not a techno-geek. Too many buttons scare me. This has one friendly orange button for everything.

I have looked for pedometers by the same maker with no luck. It’s made out of hard plastic which means it will soon become brittle and break. I have the feeling it’s a cheap brand; maybe it only sells in bulk.

The Interior

Just One Button

The Bluebonnet Trail at Cedar Creek Nature Preserve

Cedar Ridge may be the most challenging YRE in Texas because of the narrow trails and steep ups-and-downs.  Bring walking sticks and water.

–H. Hull

I wish I’d known this before Victor and I attempted Cedar Ridge.

Maybe I’d gotten cocky. We’d walked the Irish Streets 5k and finished it feeling energetic, not worn out as we used to when we first began volksmarching.

Maybe it was peer pressure. We’d participated in one of the Dallas Trekkers Social Hours. If all these Dallas Trekkers were going to hike (I really should have paid attention to the verb; I’m a walker,not a hiker) Cedar Creek, surely I could/should hike it, too.

In any case, it was early morning (the crack of 11AM) and Victor and I were at the Cedar Creek Nature Preserve to hike.

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We’re here!

I was even feeling confident enough to think we’d attempt the 10k for the first time ever. The Dallas Trekkers were going to hike the 10k and I was an official Dallas Trekker. But… we couldn’t find our group.

We were late (as usual) and they took off without us. Victor and I looked around at the many toddlers and elderly toddling the trails and decided we could do it on our own. Sure, many were carrying hiking sticks and we had none. Sure, many carried water and we’d forgotten our water bottles. After all, there were also many running these trails. How rough could it be if there were joggers on the trails.

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Trail Sign

There were many trails to follow. We selected the Bluebonnet Trail because the Dallas Trekkers were supposed to be seeking bluebonnets.

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It may not be a bluebonnet but it’s blooming!

I ignored the sign about snakes. I was sure I’d only see tree roots and I didn’t want to scare myself too badly.

We met some nice dogs on the trail. We met some nice people, including a couple who were training for a hike with their teenage grandsons over the summer. We did not meet any snakes.

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The lake is a pond, but there were still ducks to see!

I swear that trail had more ups than downs. I’m not 100% sure we stayed on the trails the whole time. I wish we’d brought hiking sticks and water.

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Bluebonnets and Cacti

I’m grateful for the clear skies and cool breezes of the day. I’m grateful for my walking and geocaching companion, Victor. And I’m grateful I have the health to enjoy geocaching, volksmarching, and Mother Nature.

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Bluebonnets on the Trail