4/16/2013 4:23:00 PM Waldport Walkers mark 200 hikes
Photo contributed by Jim Fitzgerald
The Waldport Walkers, including Jim Fitzgerald (front, right) hike every Monday, rain or shine.
On April 22, the Waldport Walkers mark 200 adventures together since the group’s inception in June 2009. With an average of 4 miles each week, the team figures they’ve hiked about 800 miles.
Participants meet every Monday, rain or shine, at 9:30 a.m., at Keady Wayside, a scenic point on Highway 101, and venture out onto local trails and service roads.
“Two of our favorites, which feature a rain forest atmosphere with moss covered trees, streams running alongside — a surreal experience — are off of Blodgett Road and Dick’s Fork road south of Waldport,” said Jim Fitzgerald, a member of St. Anthony Church. Fitzgerald learned in 2007 that fellow parishioner Mary McGovern was an avid hiker. She introduced Fitzgerald to John and Margaret Mare, and the four began hitting the trails. Others started joining their outings, and soon the Waldport Walkers was formed.
When officials at the city of Waldport heard about the group, they solicited the hikers for input on where an in-town trail should be developed. In response, the hikers helped design the Woodland Corridor, now known as the Woodland Trail.
“It is unique, in that it runs through forestland, which happens to be right in the middle of town,” Fitzgerald said. “The new path has been cleared and covered with wood chips for a little over a mile, and it is a very enjoyable hike.”
Fitzgerald keeps an online journal of most of the group’s hikes. Entries report sightings of otters, herons, seals, ducks, salamanders, slugs and other creatures.
They pick up garbage and help repair trails, and hikers from the group are active in the city of Waldport’s trails committee.