We love to walk and walk often, on all sorts of trails from granite to concrete, to rocky to smooth, as it’s one of our favorite forms of exercise.  And when the days are now dark so early, we have to find places to still walk in the evenings – so we usually choose well-lit paths or even shopping centers – either indoors or outdoors.  On the weekends, we can still choose parks, if it’s not too chilly!  And…we’ve noted lots of ways to stay safe while walking that I thought we’d pass on to you! 

  • Wear good shoes.  There are all sorts of hazards, mostly turning ankles by stepping off the side of a path, and wonky shoes are not a good idea! I carry my walking shoes (Moka shoes) with me in the car, so that if we decide to walk while out, I have them handy. 

  • Walk with someone.  Even on city trails that we’ve walked, we’ve gotten turned around.  We meet stray dogs and all sorts of surprises when we walk, and we are thankful we aren’t alone.  So grab a friend, or take your dog (on a leash), but walk with someone.

  • Put away your phone.  If you’re going to snap a picture, then stop and snap, but then put the phone away.  Talking on the phone and especially texting while walking is downright dangerous.  We’ve seen slick spots of water, surprise holes in the ground, or drop-offs on the side that we would have missed had our noses been to the screen.

  • Consider an insulated backpack.  If you’re planning a long walk, carrying a tote on one shoulder might be uncomfortable.  But an insulated backpack (we love this one we just recently got) distributes the weight evenly on your back, and you can carry a little snack or drink, stop and enjoy it, then walk back!

  • Wear your mask.  I know. You’re outside.  But wearing the mask around your neck so that you can pull it up if you need to, is wise.  We have been on a few trails where it was crowded, or we see someone coming fully masked, and we want to be considerate of them.  We don’t have to wear it if no one is around, but we can be prepared if there is.

  • Consider allergies.  Cedar season is coming, and there’s always something blooming that can cause us aggravation while outdoors.  So if you’re allergic, make sure you’ve taken your meds or whatever you need to do, before you get caught on the trail sneezing and wheezing!

  • Take some tissue. Carry Kleenex (that small pack) in your pocket.  I don’t know how many times we’ve been caught out walking and sneezed with nothing present to wipe our noses – not cool! 

  • Stay to the right.  This is HUGE!  I wish bikers would alert you that they’re coming beside you, but it’s rare that they do!  And if you step to the left, you might just get mowed down by a fast tracker.  I think this is one of the most important things to be aware of, when walking.  If you stay to the right, they’ll pass to the left.  All the more reason to be aware while walking.

  • Observe signs.  If there’s been a big rain and there are signs along the path that say “turn around, don’t drown,” that’s probably not a good trail for that day!  Seems obvious, but don’t get caught down on a trail that’s covered in slippery mud or running water. 

  • Smile and say hello.  Lots of walkers have on head phones and won’t even know that you’ve spoken.  Many won’t make eye contact.  But it’s healthy, nice, and kind to say hello and smile as people pass by.  Oftentimes, they look up surprised and happy that someone has spoken.  And that will make your heart and their heart beat a little stronger and healthier…


A Fall Walk
by Marcy Lytle

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