Fog and chilly early-morning temperatures couldn’t prevent more than 200 people from taking part in the City of Perris’ first “Take a Hike” Feb. 10 at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area.
The three-mile walk along the picturesque shore of the popular recreation spot marks the beginning of a series of three hikes that continue the City’s ongoing “Live Well Perris” healthy-eating active-living campaign.
The second hike, a 3.5-mile jaunt at Kabian Park, 28001 Kabian Park Road in south Perris takes place at 8 a.m. on March 17. The final hike presents a more challenging four-mile hike to the top of Terri Peak at Lake Perris and takes place at 8 a.m. on April 14.
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas, Mayor Pro-Tem Malcolm Corona, City Councilman David Starr Rabb and City Clerk Nancy Salazar took part in the beach hike. Social media mentions prompted residents of Yucaipa, Banning, Riverside, Moreno Valley and as far away as Victorville to put on their walking shoes and take part.
Vargas looked over the crowd gathering for some pre-hike stretching and liked what he saw.
Toddlers to seniors
“We’ve got toddlers to seniors!” he said. “The word is getting out about Perris. “I see a lot of kids and that’s great. The weather is great for a walk and our Live Well Perris program represents another example of awesome community engagement.”
Vargas said Perris is a small City that continually pulls off big events with big results.
“We are on the move,” he said.
Corona attended with his wife, Mila, and son, Malcolm, 3.
“It’s always a beautiful day at the lake,” Corona said.
Corona and other Perris elected officials spent much of the morning chatting with constituents while walking. The feedback was unanimous: these hikes are great. Continue the program.
“That makes me feel good,” Corona said.
Rabb said the cool weather was a bonus.
“The chill was nice,” he said. “This is always a great event. It continues our Live Well Perris program. It’s another great event for our City.”
Salazar said she is an avid hiker, calling the activity a “great stress reliever.”
“Hiking is always a great thing to do,” she said. “It’s great for our residents and visitors to come out to Perris, take advantage of the lake, get a little exercise and enjoy the view. It’s great exercise for kids, parents, grandparents and dogs.”
Mother and daughter Robin Jackson and Michelle Harrison made the beach walk their first “Take a Hike” experience. But Harrison is no stranger to Perris-sponsored events, bringing her kids to Snow Day, the Spring Egg Hunt and Foss Field Park to enjoy the new play equipment.
“I love the City of Perris for sponsoring events that bring people together,” Harrison said. “Perris is about families meeting families. “
Jackson looked at the crowd on the beach completing their stretching exercise under the direction of Perris fitness instructor Laura Sosa.
“It’s like a big block party,” Jackson said. “I appreciate the City for sponsoring it.” Jackson and Harrison completed the beach walk.
“A wonderful event,” Harrison said.
Mom already was making plans for the March 17 hike at Kabian Park.
“You know I’ll be there!” she said.
Nuevo resident Bob McGinty brought three generations with him—nine people in all. McGinty has taken part in several American Cancer Society Walks in Perris to raise funds for research and a cure. He couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning.
“It’s a great thing to do with family,” McGinty said. “I’m here for the health benefits, the camaraderie and the fun. What the City of Perris does in regards to its health initiatives is great.”
Stephanie Garcia and her children, Ariana, 12, and Brian, 7, were the first to complete the three-mile walk.
“Amazing,” Stephanie Garcia said. “Just seeing the lake, the water, the scenery was good. The hike was easy for the kids. We’ll be at Kabian Park.”
Bella Hernandez, 20, made the trip to Perris from Victorville, a journey of more than 60 miles. The college student who is training for a half-marathon heard about “Take a Hike” on a hiking website.
“I thought it would be a bit more challenging,” she said. “It was fun.”
Following the hike, the City raffled off several prizes including backpacks, a Fitbit, water bottles, t-shirts, walking poles and a bicycle.