In Moorpark, seniors explore their passion for hiking
Source of this article: The Ventura County Star (Conejo Valley Extra), September 6, 2012
As avid hikers who have trekked trails in Simi Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains and other sites of natural open space, Rocky and Yuko Josho were surprised to find a trail in their own hometown when they joined a new hiking club for seniors in Moorpark.“I’ve been living in Moorpark for 12 years — I’m a very avid walker and I go all over the place, but I never knew about Peach Hill Park,” said Rocky Josho, 69.
A moderate trek from Peach Hill Park to Monte Vista Trail on Aug. 8 marked the first meeting for a new hiking and walking club offered through the Moorpark Active Adult Center. The second hike on Aug. 22 took walkers from Miller Park to Serenata Trail.
“We start early in the morning and walk for about an hour-and-a-half,” Josho said. “It’s like taking a walk around the neighborhood — nothing strenuous.”
“We had a good time,” said his wife, Yuko, 67.
“You can enjoy the view and enjoy talking with others while you’re walking. The leader, too, was very nice – she knows a lot about vegetation and she knows the names of all the plants, so we learned a lot, too,” she said.
The new club was inspired by Paul Smith and Ann Tucker, of Moorpark, who both volunteer with the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, Conejo Recreation and Park District, Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee and Conejo Open Space Foundation.
“We both enjoy being outdoors,” said Tucker, 68. “We would like to share our passion for walking and hiking with other seniors, and hope some will enjoy it as much as we do.”
As the new club continues to develop and grow, “we’re still working at determining our target audience. I’d like it to be an activity that appeals to all reasonably active seniors,” Tucker said.
For instance, Tucker said the walk from Miller Park to Serenata Trail is a little more ambitious than the hike from Peach Hill Park to Monte Vista Trail.
“For those who find they would like even more challenging walks, we can point them to other existing hiking groups, including the free monthly hikes Paul and I lead for Conejo Recreation and Park District,” Tucker said.
The first hike on Aug. 8 attracted four people, Smith said.
“It was a very small group but that was the first one,” Smith said. “We’re hoping to raise awareness and spread word of mouth to get a bigger group.”
In Thousand Oaks, “they have a very active system of developing and maintaining trail — there’s over 150 miles of maintained trails,” Smith said.
While Moorpark has very few trails compared to Thousand Oaks, “we decided that we could conduct easier hikes by partnering with the active adult center. For the most part, these are relatively easy hikes with no steep grades — about one or two miles, occasionally three to four miles.”
Besides helping to maintain a healthy weight, “hiking provides a great cardiovascular workout because of the varied terrain that hiking offers and also provides a psychological workout, partly because it removes you from your daily routine and environment, which typically include a variety of stressors,” said Angel Sierra, supervisor of the Moorpark Active Adult Center.
“At age 68, I don’t feel like an older adult,” Tucker said. “I credit good fortune and being active — especially walking and hiking.”
Call the Moorpark Active Adult Center at 517-6261 for more information or to sign-up for future hikes.