The benefits of walking are many: it helps you lower your bad cholesterol (LDL), increase your good cholesterol (HDL), lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes, manage your weight and more. Research shows that regular, brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise, such as jogging. Walking is safe, simple and doesn’t require practice. Did we mention fun? Well, then you have to check in with Donna Schuler’s walk page.
Here are some suggested walks:
Haul Road / MacKerricher State Park – park your car at the Pudding Creek Trestle in Fort Bragg, cross the bridge and head north. The trail is flat and paved and comes with ocean views. Along the way, you’ll come to Virgin Creek Beach, one of the great surf spots on the Mendocino Coast and a wonderful family beach as well. How long you walk is up to you. Start with a half hour. Remember, in winter the sunset comes before 5 pm, so if you’re out in the late afternoon, carry a small flashlight to find your way back in case the beauty of the place simply makes you lose track of time. MendoWalks.Org supplies details for a “north” and “south” Haul Road walks.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens – The Gardens has an entrance fee of $14 for adults, but if you buy an annual membership ($50-individual and $75 for two adults; $35-senior 65+;$60 for two seniors 65+) you can visit as often as you like. There are several miles of trails that lead you through beautiful gardens that change with the seasons. Along the way you can do a little birding or even take a break and sit on a bench overlooking the ocean. This is a truly wonderful place to walk. By the way, dogs are welcome to join you. Hours: March – October: 9 am to 5 pm; November – February: 9 am to 4 pm. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens Membership Form.
Point Cabrillo Light Station – the 300-acre state historic park is a wildlife preserve that also happens to offer a half mile walk to the lighthouse (gift shop and museum) and another half mile walk to Frolic Cove, the site of the Frolic Shipwreck in 1850. The trail to the lighthouse (1 mile roundtrip with the first half down hill and the return uphill) offers spectacular views of the preserve and ocean. As you get close to the ocean’s edge, look for whales. They are present year around: Gray Whales – December – April; Humpbacks and Blue Whales – summer and fall. Entrance to the park is free. But the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association is asking a $5 donation to enter the lighthouse — money to maintain the lighthouse, light keeper homes and other buildings — as state budget cuts threatens to close 9 local state parks. You can easily walk here for an hour or more if you follow the dirt trails that branch off the main paved trail that heads down to the lighthouse. Open sunrise to sunset.
Looking for something a little different?
Drop by the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce (across from CVS on Main Street, Fort Bragg) and pick up the Oddities Tour map (odd landmarks around town), the “Street Corners of Fort Bragg” or “Buildings to Bragg About” (for a walk through history). Yes you can exercise and learn at the same time. Read more.
Eleven Walks in the Local Forest
The folks by MendoWalks.Org love to walk and they love to share their adventures. With the 47,000 Jackson State Forest hugging our coast, there are lots of opportunities to get out of downtown and into the woods. Check out these hikes from easy to difficult. You’ll find something for every level of fitness.
Walk / Run / Bike with the Fog Dodgers
The Fog Dodgers invite all residents and visitors of the Mendocino Coast to join us on our weekly group runs and walks. We have runners and walkers of all abilities (and even some bikers) and we have only one “rule” – we start at exactly 8:00 a.m. on Sundays. Exercise at your own pace (1/2 hour out, 1/2 hour back) and experience the fresh Mendocino coastal air. Fog Dodgers provides a fun, safe way to explore some of our local trails and back roads and to meet new friends. You can find out where we’re going to be by reading the bottom of last week’s post, then clicking on the “Our Routes” tab above. We average 15-20 persons each Sunday and typically half will go to breakfast together afterwards at a nearby restaurant.