The Chubby Woman's Walkabout

The Problem

As you probably know, according to statistics only one in three adults in the US participate in the recommended amount of weekly exercise, and by 2030 half of all of the adults in the US will be obese (according to President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition blah-blah-blah). Lots of outdoor activities are available, but much of it is targeted toward the “super fit” – hikers, cyclists, joggers and swimmers – rather than the everyday person who just wants to get some exercise, and doesn’t want to be subjected to “10-mile death march” hikes through rugged terrain or arthritis aggravating “boot camp”-style exercise programs. The benefits of walking have been well-documented. It can lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure, improve your mood and help you manage your weight… while also getting you closer to the environment around you. Targeted specifically at less active folks over age 50, like me, “The Chubby Woman’s Walkabout”™ project has a two-fold agenda: (1) to provide a first-hand photographic account of the state of and accessibility to the public lands in and around northern California where nature walks and outings can be had, thereby encouraging others to take a positive approach to their health and inspire them to get moving and (2) to provide an on-line and in-print resource for less fit, less active folks over 50 to find places where they can get outdoors and get some much needed low-impact walking exercise. As an added bonus, I’m hoping this blog will bring some much needed attention and exposure to wilderness areas in California’s “north state” region, increase awareness of the indigenous plant and wildlife that abound here, and encourage more widespread use of our public lands. In March of 2013, Tuleyome assisted in getting a bill introduced in Congress for a National Conservation Area (NCA) designation for 100 miles of public lands in the Berryessa Snow Mountain (BSM) region to permanently protect this large expanse of wilderness that encompasses areas around Sacramento, Yolo, Solano and Napa Counties. Both national and local conservation groups have targeted this region as one that’s super-rich in biodiversity, with landscapes and wildlife seen nowhere else in the state. Although the lands are owned by and are supposed to be accessible to the public, the BSM had been pretty much land-locked for almost 150 years by private property and other developments. Just this year, however, Tuleyome was successful in finally opening up access to the BSM with a series of trails and conservation easements. It’s my hope that “The Chubby Woman’s Walkabout”™ will provide another layer of exposure for this lovely and very special region and help garner support for the National Conservation Area designation (or get it the National Monument status it needs and deserves).

Plan of Action

I've already started lining up outdoor excursions, and have posted information on some of my favorite outdoor places to walk on my Chubby Woman's Walkabout blog: Over the next few months I'll be trekking to Smittle Creek on Lake Berryessa, the Putah Creek Watershed, the Capay Valley, the weirs in Yolo County, the American River and Sacramento River, and wildlife preserves throughout the local counties. Right now, I'm tackling about one or two trips a week, but with funding to help with transportation costs, overnight stays and guides, I'd be able to increase that.

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