More than 200 people grabbed walking sticks, laced up their hiking shoes and grabbed extra bottles of water to take part in the longest City-sponsored hike around the scenic Lake Perris State Recreation Area.
Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough led the contingent of hikers as they took off in the early-morning coolness on the trail that included some rises and dips and stretches of flat ground. The hike was the latest in a series of Live Well Perris community events encouraging people to improve their lives by exercise and healthy eating.
“This is about living well and having fun,” Yarbrough told the crowd before the start of the Oct. 25 hike. “I am very pleased to have this wonderful interaction with the community. We have a huge turnout and I am delighted.”
Yarbrough earlier led two other hikes at Lake Perris. The third hike was divided into two sections—a four-miler for those hardy hikers and a two-mile route for the casual walkers. Perris City employees provided refreshments at the starting line and the halfway point.
Vietnam veteran Gene Collins said he hikes Lake Perris regularly—from the Russell Mountains to Terry Peak to the Bernasconi Trail. He came with walking stick in hand and praise for the Live Well Perris program.
“This City is on track,” said Collins, who served with the Marines in Vietnam in 1969-70. “People who are healthy have a better perception about what life is and can avoid the downward spiral that can drain life.”
Collins said he was pleased at the large turnout.
“When the community gets together it strengthens the individual and the community,” he said. “This is an outstanding community event.”
Friends Sandy Hall and Patricia Dean also came prepared to hike. Both have taken part in a series of “Winter Workouts” aimed at keeping residents fit during the calorie-filled holiday season.
“We want to be part of this community that lives well,” Dean said. “A big shout out to Perris for putting this event on. Live Well Perris—pass it on.”
Hall said Live Well Perris events like the hike promote a sense of community that she appreciates.
“We like to challenge ourselves,” she said. “It’s a great community event.”
Jennifer Arellano was pleased to learn that Live Well Perris will be continuing next year and beyond. The City has received a nearly $1 million grant to continue the program until 2016. The success of Live Well Perris has garnered the City regional, state and national awards and recognition.
Like other hikers, Arellano said she also has taken advantage of the City’s winter workout program, held Saturdays at various Perris parks. It’s a great way to exercise with family and friends. She thinks Live Well Perris is a program all City residents should support.
“It tells me the City cares about its people,” she said.