Walking Every Day, Wherever I Find My Feet

One of the challenges of committing to everyday exercise is figuring out what to do when you’re traveling. Fortunately, my favorite workout—walking—is the most portable form of exercise you can get. You can find somewhere to walk if you go anywhere with solid ground. (I’m told that cruise ships usually have walking tracks, too. Boooooring.)

I enjoy scoping out walking routes when I’m preparing to visit an unfamiliar city—or a familiar city from my pre-exercise‑fanatic days. When I went to Los Angeles for a conference last winter, I identified Griffith Park as a possible walking site. I met a friendly native at the conference who drove up there with me and showed me where to park and where the trail starts. I took wonderful walks there in the afternoons. On one side, I had a view of the pale purple San Gabriel Mountains; on the other, I watched the sun set behind the hills of Hollywood. The conference activities went late into the evening one day, so as an alternate route, I walked about four miles along Sunset Boulevard—not as beautiful, but endlessly interesting.

Before my last trip to San Antonio, I looked for somewhere to walk that I hadn’t tried on one of my dozens of previous visits. At Trails.com, I found the Missions Trail, which runs for about eight miles, starting on city streets at the Alamo and winding south by way of four other Spanish missions along the San Antonio River. Once you leave downtown, the trail is mostly asphalt and concrete with large stretches of nothing to see except river banks, so it’s better suited to biking than hiking. But the nearly 300‑year‑old missions are worth the long walk.

[Tip: Trails.com requires that you buy a paid subscription to view detailed trail guides. Instead, use their site to find a trail that looks promising, then google it to find details for free elsewhere.]

I’m leaving this afternoon for a long weekend in Dallas. I lived in the Metroplex for years, but I left a long time before I got interested in exercise, so I’ve had to do research to get ready for the trip. Tonight, I plan to check out the trail around Bachman Lake. My recollection is that the area is busy and urban, so I hope to find that it’s a safe place to walk after dark. If not, I’ll improvise something else. For the rest of the weekend, several interesting prospects present themselves. There’s a trail at White Rock Lake, a park that I never managed to visit in four years of college. There’s also something labeled on the map with the curious name, “Downtown Dallas Urban Trail.”

I’ll check it out and report back!

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