Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spain and bikes

Yesterday during my walk I heard a story on NPR about biking in Spain. Basically residents in Spain don’t bike, except for recreation and sport. I have never been to Spain but I tend to lump all European countries together in my romantic vision of people walking and biking to get everywhere. One woman (?) in the story actually likened riding a bike to riding a donkey- people aren’t going to do it if they can afford a car. The story is interesting and if you missed it be sure to listen to it, if you want.
This story started me thinking about another reason people like their cars: status. Isn’t that part of the reason cars got to be so popular? I am just thinking here, no data to support this. But to have a car meant that you could afford a car and to use any other form of transportation, well, that’s kind of like riding a donkey- right? I have heard buses referred to as “loser cruisers,” as an example. When you walk to get someplace, chances are you will be hotter and sweatier- in the summer- or wet and mussed- in the winter. Same goes for biking anywhere- not to mention helmet hair. Cars become secret sanctuaries, refuges from the grime and mess of the world. You can arrive at your destination looking pretty much the same way you started off.
Fortunately, I have seen some movement away from the car being THE status symbol. Biking to work actually seems to be the new cool. And if you check out the blog “She Rides a Bike” you can see plenty of style in bike riding. The isolation and wide-butt production of car driving is losing its appeal, not to mention the cost- financially, mentally and environmentally- associated with cars. Buses get you to where you need to go AND you can text or read to your delight. Bikes strengthen your muscles and work out your days’ stresses. Walking provides time for reflection and is free transportation and exercise. That's what I need, exercise and more exercise.
What? There's gas in that tank and not coffee? Curses!

Let's go for a walk!

Oops, I knew there was a reason I didn't turn off my computer yesterday. Sorry, I forgot to post this...

from Jack Welch
FUTS EXPLORER WALK 20 in 40 Days, 1/2 Marathon Training Walk

1/2 marathon training walk
Start Location: Buffalo Park
Time: 6:30 AM 6:30 AM - That's right folks 6:30 AM!
Distance: About 10 total miles with some good hills at the end.
Route: Once around Buffalo Park - West on the Forest Ave Sidewalk to Ft Valley Road
North on Ft Valley Road all the way to Schultz Pass Road
Turnaround and come back the same way but you wont have to do another walk around Buffalo Park
Don Carter will lead. I will be there in the beginning for a few miles but I have
to be someplace else by 9:30 AM

It's not to late to sign up for the Big Brothers/Big Sister 1/2 Marathon - Saturday 8 August 2009
I have entry forms

FUTS EXPLORER WALK - 20 in 40 Days
Into the Ponderosa Neighborhood from Lake Mary Road
Start Location: Arizona Game and Fish Parking Lot
Time:6:00 PM
Distance: About 4 total miles
A walk on the pave FUTS in the Ponderosa Trails neighborhood

FUTS EXPLORER WALK - 20 in 40 Days
Around the Flagstaff Mall
Start Location: Parking lot along side of JC Penneys (west side of store)
Time: 6:00 PM
Distance: About 3 total miles
We'll walk the two FUTS tunnels and around the proposed winter sledding area in the basin.

FUTS EXPLORER WALK - 20 in 40 Days
New paved FUTS along Turquoise
Start Location: Jay Lively Activity Center (Skating rink) on Turquoise
Time: 6:00 PM
About 3 total miles of walking on the FUTS along Turquoise near the Summit Center and the new location for the YMCA

WEDNESDAY 5 AUGUST - Last Walk of Series
Start Location: Adult Center
Time: 6:00 PM
About 2 total miles followed by our "It's all over and I'm so very glad" Party.
Special cake and awards ceremony plus I have some very, very special awards for some of the new "friends" I have acquired during the series.
All participants invited!

The new August "Walk The Walk" Schedule will be e-mailed later this week. It will include the new Coconino County Parks 12 Walk Series.

I hope to see you all soon!
Jack Welch
ADILLO at aol (period)com (usual email address format)

from Stephen Hirst
NPS/ USFS Interpretive Hikes

Our new brochure of August events is available at the Peaks Ranger Station (across from the Flagstaff Mall), Flagstaff Visitor Center (RR station), the Snowbowl, the Arboretum, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and at any of our events.

Upcoming events are also listed on the Coconino National Forest Website at and in the Arizona Daily Sun "Community Calendar" (usually on the back page of the first section).

This month we offer our four-part series of Ghost Railway hikes, tracing the beds of vanished local railroads. The first two, Saturday, August 8, and Friday, August 14, will probe the discoveries of two determined local researchers who have finally mapped the route of the fabled Arizona Mineral Belt RR. The second two, Saturday, August 22, and Saturday, August 29, will repeat last summer's explorations of the Flagstaff and Southern RR and its "cursed incline" up Anderson Mesa. Ghost Railway fliers are available at most of the above locations.

Thursday, July 30, 9 to 11 am
Aspen Interpretive Loop
Join ranger Jane Jackson on a pleasant walk through aspen and conifers. Learn about local flora and fauna and bring your camera for spectacular views of the Peaks, the western volcanic field and the distant Grand Canyon. Difficulty: easy. Meet at the lower parking lot (lot 9) below Snowbowl's Hart Prairie Lodge. Call 527-8222 for information.

Saturday, August 1, 9 to 11:30 am
Navajo Springs
Join ranger John Westerlund on a 2.5-mile round-trip hike to an old sheep watering area and logging railway grade. Hear about Mormon Lake natural and human history, logging, ranching, and wildlife. Difficulty: moderate on rocky trail. Bring water and good hiking shoes. Meet at trailhead across the road from Mormon Lake Lodge. Call 526-1157 ext 273 for information.

Saturday, August 1, 4 to 5 pm
Family Nature Walk
Teacher-ranger Phred Salazar will lead a walk for the whole family on the Dairy Springs Loop Trail. Meet at Dairy Springs amphitheater at 3 pm. Go 20 miles south of Flagstaff on Lake Mary Road to Mormon Lake turnoff. Proceed 3.5 miles to Dairy Springs. Call 526-1157 ext 230 for information.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How do you get there from here?

I have been trying to look up statistics on safety of walking vs. driving- so far I haven’t found much useful information- but I did find this terrific report put out by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics: the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS).
The NHTS focused on travel within 50 miles of the home and so took into account walking and biking. Highlights show that 45 percent of all daily trips were for family and personal reasons (doctor, shopping, errands), 27 percent were for social, recreational purposes and 15 percent were for work. The mode of transportation used to “commute to work in the past week” was 91.2 percent personal vehicle, 4.9 percent transit, 2.8 percent walking, 1.1 percent other.
The distribution of daily trips was spread rather evenly throughout the week with Friday getting the highest percentage at 15.6 and Sunday the lowest at 12.9. The census shows that daily travel totaled 4 trillion miles in 2001, or an average of 14,500 miles per person per year. The average adult spends 55 minutes behind the wheel traveling 29 miles daily.
A statistic I found sad, but probably not representative for Flagstaff or other physical active communities, was that nationally the mean number of personal vehicles per household was 1.90, while the mean number of adult-sized bicycles per household was 0.86 (8 percent of the households have no vehicle).
What do I get from this? We have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to alternative transportation! I wonder if anything has changed since 2001...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why me? Why now?

Why me? Why do I even think that this alternative transportation thing is possible?
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am a 47 year old mother of one son who is 11 years old. I currently work from home as a freelance writer but before my son was born I worked full-time in a variety of jobs- office work, field biologist, wetlands specialist. I tell you this because to get to these jobs I used all modes of transportation: foot, bus, bike, car.
I actually didn’t have a car until I was around 24 or 25 years old. My Mom, as I have mentioned, set the precedent that you don’t need a car to get around so I mastered the art of using alternative transportation. Let me tell you, I may be leery of many things but I have no fear of buses, subways or trains or their confusing schedules- somehow I will figure it out. I think that is an important tool for youngsters to have in an urban environment.
I went to school in Davis, California, noted for its bicycle use, and got around town, quite nicely, with a bike (helped that the town was flat as a pancake- I use to ride over the highway overpass so I could get hill practice).
Later in Denver, Colorado I lived near a bike path on Cherry Creek, the same path my work was near. I biked to work nearly every day. On days that were too snowy or rainy I tried to take the bus. Once I drove to work after a big snowstorm. At a downtown stoplight I pressed on the brakes but all I did was slide on the slick ice. The only thing keeping me from hitting the bus in front of me was that the bus was in the same slide mode. After that I preferred to ride the bus.
Here in Flagstaff I worked for a short time at NAU. I found out, a little too late, that walking the 1.75 miles to work and home again was a great way to prepare for and then unwind from the work day. I rue the days I spent in my car.
Somehow when I became a mom and moved to Flagstaff, I lost all inclination to try, seriously, other forms of transportation. Oh, sure I pulled my son, in the bike carrier, to preschool a few times and we would walk, for fun, here and there. But I had gotten out of the habit. I want to get back into the habit.
I love seeing the moms with their bike carriers going EVERYWHERE. Or the moms patiently walking to and from the store carrying groceries and holding their toddler’s hand.
I am trying day-by-day to decrease my car use.
My mantra for car use is:
GROUP together errands and plan carefully so you don’t have to drive out to the same part of town on the same day or week or month,
USE other forms of transportation whenever possible,
ENJOY the health benefits and money savings of walking/biking instead of driving,
SAVE the car for emergencies and/or long distance travel,
be THANKFUL you have the choice.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We're walking

1/2 Marathon Training Walk
from Jack Welch

SUNDAY 26 JULY 1/2 Marathon Training Walk
Observatory Mesa 7 Mile Loop

Start Location: Adult Center
Time: 6:30 AM 6:30 AM
We'll be climbing the hill (Observatory Mesa FUTS) that is included in the 1/2 Marathon Walk route

USFS/ NPS Interpretive Hikes

Thursday, July 23, 9 to 11 am
Walnut Canyon Historic Cabin
Journey back in time with ranger Jane Jackson at Walnut Canyon National Monument in an easy two-mile guided walk to the 1904 log cabin built by the first ranger to protect the cliff dwellings from pilfering pot hunters. No dogs please. Participants must be 16 or older. Limit of 8; reservations required at 526-3367. Park entrance fee. Meet at Walnut Canyon visitor center at 8:45. Difficulty: easy. Call 527-8222 for information. (Cecile's note: a delightful and informative hike)

Saturday, July 25, 9 am to noon
Walker Lake

Join rangers Steve and Lois Hirst and Richard Holm to the rim of a volcano with a lake in its crater. Spectacular views of the Peaks, the Painted Desert, and the distant Grand Canyon. Difficulty: moderate. Bring water, snacks. Consider trekking poles for short, steep sections. Meet at the intersection of FR 151 and Hwy 180 just past MP 235. Due to fragile area, group is limited to 15 and no dogs. Reserve a spot by calling 527-8222.

Saturday, July 25, 4 pm
Dairy Springs Nature Walk

NPS teacher-ranger Charlene Stone will lead a walk for the whole family on the Dairy Springs Loop Trail. Meet at Dairy Springs amphitheater at 3 pm. Go 20 miles south of Flagstaff on Lake Mary Road to Mormon Lake turnoff. Proceed 3.5 miles to Dairy Springs. Call 526-1157 ext 237 for information.

Sunday, July 26, 8 to 10:30 am
Leroux Springs History

Join ranger John Westerlund to learn about early settlement of Flagstaff on an exploration of Leroux Spring and the 1877 Young cabin. Difficulty: easy two miles. Meet at pullout on first curve a half mile up Snowbowl Road. Call 526-1157 ext 273 for information.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Walking with Mom

One year ago, yesterday, my Mom passed away. I didn’t “save” the date or try to keep track of it but I knew it was somewhere in mid-July. Eventually I looked up the date. My Dad has also passed away so I am somewhat familiar with the stages of grief. I am familiar with the heaviness and the sadness. It doesn’t make it any easier, I just know what’s going on.
My Mom basically died from smoking. If she hadn’t smoked she probably would still be alive, bright and willful and walking. Despite having debilitating emphysema and osteoporosis she lived to be 84 years old.
I have mentioned my Mom’s walking before. She walked fast and strong. She had to get places to complete her business- she never got a driver’s license. Walking kept her in shape even after having six kids.
I feel a connection with my Mom when I walk- her strength in my stride. Thank you, Mom, for walking with me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Why Walk?

Wow, it was hot today to begin with- for Flagstaff. At 8 am already the thermometer registered 82 degrees F. Still I am proud to say I walked my regular walk this morning. Yesterday my son and I rode our bikes downtown- no car driving. Hurray!
I have been thinking a lot about why it’s hard to get out of the car habit. Of course our infrastructure is typically built for cars, not pedestrians and bikes, so walking and biking requires more effort. Let me name the top reasons I have heard (including from myself) for not walking and biking: car travel is safer, quicker, convenient and more comfortable. Yoiks! How can that be topped?
How about this? Car travel is more stressful, polluting, gas guzzling, bad for the mid-section (not to mention rear) and non-sustainable. Or to try to keep positive: walking/ biking/ bus riding helps the environment, is relaxing, provides time for reflection, saves money, and is free exercise! I will go through the arguments one-by-one at later times but thought I would introduce them to you as my mind fights with them. Here’s another one: cars have air conditioning.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Walks of the week

from Jack Welch
Walk-the-Walk, FUTS 20 Walks in 40 Days, 1/2 Marathon Training

Please read the update carefully as there are a few changes and some interesting
information about the two upcoming Trail Talk Meetings at the Adult Center, 1/2 Marathon Training Walks and a new Series of Walks that will start in late August

Flagstaff Trails Talk
Rogers Lake
Location: Adult Center
Time: 6:30 PM 6:30 PM
Rogers Lake is a possible Coconino County Natural Resource Open Space purchase (funding already in place) but we need public support. This meeting will be about Rogers Lake and its value to our area as a wetland. I am involved in this effort and would appreciate your attending this meeting to sign our petition. I will also have the complete schedule for the Coconino County Parks Series of Walks that will start in late August plus the latest information on the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Walking 1/2 Marathon (8 Aug). I will have
route maps for that event. And of course the new FUTS maps will be there also.
Please make plans to attend this meeting.
I need your help.
Free Cookies! (That always draws a crowd!)

SATURDAY 18 JULY This is also a training walk for the 1/2 Marathon
Scalawag Mountain Hike Mormon Mountain
Start Location: Dairy Springs Campground which is off the loop road that leads into the
Village of Mormon Lake. Park near the front entrance. The trail is at the rear of the
campground. About 6 total miles on a beautiful trail with only a few views but lots of
interesting plant life in this lush forest. We will also cross the Arizona Trail in this area.
Distance: About 7 total miles
Start Time: 8:00 AM 8:00 AM

Celtic Mile Walk
Location: Fox Glenn Park
4200 East Butler Ave
A fun walk or run on the FoxGlenn FUTS between the hours of 9AM and 11AM
Cost: $5.00 which will get you a Pepsi T shirt, a beverage and a coupon for $2.00 off a ticket into the Arizona Highland Celtic Festival
1 Day $12.00 for adults
$4.00 for children (3 to 12 years old)
Proceeds from the walk/run will be used for future family events
I hope to see you all there!

FUTS connection to Ft Tuthill from University Heights
Start Location: In the parking lot in front of the Fair Grounds where the FUTS enters the park
Time: 6:00 PM
Distance: About 3 total miles
This out and back will be from Ft Tuthill east toward University Heights.

Rogers Lake Discussion at the County Board of Supervisors
Location: Coconino County Board of Supervisors Office
219 East Cherry (Meeting Room on the First Floor)
Time: 10:00 AM 10:00 AM
I will be a part of the public making a presentation in support of Rogers Lake. There will also be a formal Power Point from the Coconino County Parks and Recreation Department
It would help our cause greatly if we could fill the seats with members of the public in support.

It would also help me to see some friendly faces as I am not a very secure public speaker.

Flagstaff Trails Talk
Rogers Lake - Where it stands as a possible purchase by Coconino County after the morning discussion at the County Board of Supervisors
Location: Adult Center
Time: 6:30 PM 6:30 PM
This follow up meeting to the Rogers Lake discussion which was held on the morning of 21 July meeting at the County Board of Supervisors. We need more signatures on our petition. The schedule for the upcoming Coconino County Parks new Series of walks will be available as will the new FUTS map.
You bring your pen (or pencil) and I'll bring the store bought cookies!

If you are interested in doing the Big Brothers/Big Sisters 1/2 Marathon Walk we have put together a short training schedule.
Please don't attempt the 1/2 Marathon walk or the three training walks if you have not been walking shorter distances on a regular basis. This is for self sufficient walkers who will bring their own water and not expect any kind of support. Please don't put everybody else in jeopardy because you have not properly trained or planned.

1/2 Marathon Walk Training Schedule
SATURDAY 18 JULY - This is also a training hike for the 1/2 Marathon Walk
Mormon Mountain Climb (For more details/see the information above)
7 Total Miles
8:00 AM start

USFS/ NPS Interpretive Hikes

Saturday, July 18, 4 pm
Family Nature Walk
NPS ranger-teacher Charlene Stone will lead a walk for kids and families at Pine Grove Campground. Meet at Pine Grove amphitheater at 4 pm. Go 18 miles south of Flagstaff on Lake Mary Road to Pine Grove Campground. Parking available at amphitheater. Call 526-1157 ext 237 for information.

Saturday, July 18, 4 pm
Family Nature Walk
USFS ranger Steve Hirst will lead a walk for kids and families on the Dairy Springs Loop Trail. Meet at Dairy Springs amphitheater at 3 pm. Go 20 miles south of Flagstaff on Lake Mary Road to Mormon Lake turnoff. Proceed 3.7 miles to Dairy Springs. Call 527-8222 for information.

Challenge Day One

Thought I would include a short update post on how I fared my first day of the challenge. Pretty well. Husband and I had to take care of some business so we had to drive to that. But later, my son and I went to his doctor's appointment on our bikes. Easy trip but normally I would have driven. I tried to talk myself into driving- it's going to be hot, what kind of sadistic mother are you? doctor and then uphill journey back home?- but really it was all a non-issue. Driving has just become a bad habit, especially since I live so close to many walkable/ bike rideable places.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Walk/ Bike/ Bus Challenge

Ok, I have said I wanted to do this alternative transportation challenge- in other words try to not drive the car much. Well, it is going to be a challenge. This is how my mind works.
A few days before Sunday I proclaim to the household, “I am going to go to the Sunday Farmer’s Market and I am going to walk or ride my bike.” In my head I am thinking that they had better not sabotage my grand plan because no matter who is visiting or what we are doing I will not be deterred. I will walk/bike to the farmer’s market.
Sunday morning:
Cecile: I don’t think I should walk/ride to the farmer’s market. I am getting a crick in my neck. Besides (mumbling now) I might want to get a watermelon. And it’s hot.

So much for my resolve.
Fortunately, my husband steps in, offers to carry stuff and we ride our bikes. And we do get a melon (a small one)- thanks, hubby. And, my crick in my neck never really amounts to much.
Here is my challenge.
My goals:
Avoid using the car whenever possible.
Start using the bus, if walking/ biking is not an option.
Combine/plan car errands.
Keep track of transportation behavior.

I realize these are nebulous goals, but I really don’t know what to expect. I work from home so commuting is not an issue for me. Driving is all about getting my son to/ from activities/ appointments, running household errands and getting out to do fun things. I would like to get to the point where going somewhere by car is not so much of a habit, as it is now. I will keep you posted. Let me know if you are doing similar stuff or are willing to join me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our Nation's Breadbasket

I heard this story on NPR this morning. It was about California's Central Valley. Turns out that communities in this area have some of the highest rates of poverty and obesity and yet are surrounded by farmlands. The towns have no sidewalks. One town has no grocery store, but just about every fast food restaurant you can name. Packs of dogs patrol the neighborhoods. People who have been diagnosed with diabetes head for the hills for exercise but bring sticks to fend off the rattlesnakes instead of walking in neighborhoods and having to fight off the town dogs. Zoning restrictions have prohibited farmer's markets. The story ended describing some of the positive work that is being done- walking groups, rezoning for farmer's markets, etc. I cannot do justice to this story listen to it yourself, Central Valley Disconnect: Rich Land, Poor Nutrition.
I feel so thankful for all of the people who work to make our community as walkable and as livable as it is- I think I have been taking it for granted.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I am back after a long camping trip to the Pacific NW (and family visit). We had a terrific time but are glad to be home safe. The only walks I went on this past week and a half were out-of-state that's why the "walk of the week" is in Mt. Rainier NP. But that brings me to...

Walk-the-Walk, FUTS Explorer Walk Series 20 Walks in 40 Days

From Jack Welch.
Please use the FUTS EXPLORER WALK SERIES 20 WALKS IN 40 DAYS SCHEDULE for the month of July.

If you don't have a copy of that schedule please call me at 714 0504 and I will mail it to you. If you get my machine leave your postal address.

The FUTS 20 Walks in 40 days will also be in the calendar of the Arizona Daily Sun

Loop Trail Work Day

Meet at the parking area adjacent to Old Route 66 (east) & the
on ramp to Highway 40
Time: 8:30 AM
For more complete details contact Susan Hueftle
853 5542 - or e-mail: looptrail at flagbiking dot org

Outdoor Presentation

Location: Adult Center
Time: 6:30 PM
Subject will be out via e-mail next week

All Tuesday Walks IN JULY Start and Finish at the Adult Center
Start Time: 8:00 AM
About 3 total miles of walking in and around the surrounding neighborhood

Friday Walks change start locations every month.
For the month of July all Friday walks will start at 8:00 AM at the Ft Tuthill Parking Lot
where the urban trail enters the park. (The parking lot in front of the Fairgounds)
If you are interested in being on the mailing list of the Forest Service/National Parks
Interpretive hikes e-mail Steve Hirst at:
shirst at mac dot com

USFS/NPS Interpretive Hikes

Thursday, July 9, 9 to 11 am
Walnut Canyon Historic Cabin

Journey back in time with NPS teacher-ranger Charlene Stone at Walnut Canyon National Monument in an easy two-mile guided walk to the 1904 log cabin built by the first ranger to protect the cliff dwellings from pilfering pot hunters. No dogs please. Participants must be 16 or older. Limit of 8; reservations required at 526-3367. Park entrance fee. Meet at Walnut Canyon visitor center at 8:45. Difficulty: easy. Call 526-1157 ext 237 for information.

Saturday, July 11, 9 am to noon
Veit Spring

Discover an historic spring high on the south slope of the San Francisco Peaks with Steve and Lois Hirst. See abundant wildflowers among the conifers and hear tales of ancient visitors, stage robbers, and lost gold. Difficulty: easy 3-mile round trip. Bring water. Meet at Snowbowl Road turnoff at 9 am to carpool, due to limited parking at trailhead. Call 527-8222 for information.

Saturday, July 11, 4 to 5 pm
Dairy Springs Nature Walk

NPS teacher-ranger Karen Knorowski will lead a walk for kids on the Dairy Springs Loop Trail. Meet at Dairy Springs amphitheater at 3 pm. Go 20 miles south of Flagstaff on Lake Mary Road to Mormon Lake turnoff. Proceed 3.7 miles to Dairy Springs. Call 526-1157 ext 271 for information.