LIMA — The first hike of Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District’s Walking Thru Autumn 2016 Hiking Series is Saturday at 9 a.m. at Hermon Woodlands, 485 N. Wapakoneta Road. There are eight hikes taking place at eight different parks on eight consecutive Saturdays in this series.
This is the 10th year for the hiking series, and it has grown steadily every year.
“We do meet rain or shine and it amazes me when the weather is nasty we still have 50 to 60 people out there hiking. Such a fun group of people that have developed over 10 years. It has grown tremendously,” said Beth Theisen, coordinator.
Exercising is the main goal of the hikes, as well as seeing the parks.
“We are using this to kind of focus on exercise. We will take our hike, they last about an hour and a half, and within that time we might stop three or four times to let everyone catch up and catch their breath. It is not a real slow, leisurely hike. We walk at a pace to get the heartbeat up a little bit,” she said.
Exercising and meeting good people are a natural at this event.
“We get anywhere from 50 to 80 people show up every Saturday. It is so much fun. Everyone is super friendly and uses it as an excuse to get together and hang out and do some nice hiking through the parks. I love it and look forward to it each year. It’s like a big reunion, and we keep getting new people every year,” said Theisen.
Hiking sticks are available to purchase for $10, although they are not required.
“We have beautiful, hand-made hiking sticks that we get from Arkansas. We take attendance, and if a person walks six out of the eight hikes, at the end we have a ceremony and they earn a hiking medallion for that hiking stick,” said Theisen.
The park district encourages registering for each hike. Call the park office at 419-221-1232 to register.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511