The scenery: spectacular; the morning air: crisp; the three-mile trail: a bit challenging but doable; the enthusiasm of the hikers: off the charts.
Welcome to the City of Perris autumn 2018 “Take a Hike Series.” The first in a series of three increasingly challenging hikes took place Sept. 15 at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area. About 100 hikers challenged and conquered a portion of the Loop Trail near Bernasconi Hills.
Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Malcolm Corona, his wife, Mila, and son Malcolm completed the hike. Mayor Michael Vargas dropped by after representing the City at another event.
“It is important that we continue to provide family-friendly events in our City,” said Corona, who has completed every one of the “Take a Hike” challenges in the series that began two years ago. “Our City is committed to hosting healthy events to encourage healthy living!”
Corona said the setting for the opening hike was majestic. Repairs to the dam at Lake Perris have been completed and the water level is rising, returning the waterway to its previous levels. The trail took hikers through semi-wilderness sections eagles and raptors call home. A centuries-old petroglyph drawn into a rock formation by the Luiseno Indians provided a wonderful teaching moment for Park Rangers.
“A great kickoff for our Take a Hike series,” Corona said.
Vargas called the Lake Perris event “a great kickoff for our Take a Hike program” and noted the series continues the ongoing City Live Well Perris healthy eating active living initiative. The turnout pleased the Mayor.
“This kind of participation strengthens our commitment,” he said.
Delia Garcia and her friend, Yolanda Carmona, arrived early and took part in the pre-hike warm up session conducted by City fitness instructor Laura Sosa. Garcia has taken part in series City-sponsored hikes and shares her experiences on social media.
“People motivate each other,” Garcia said of the mindset shared by many hikers. “I like the collaboration among everybody. We’re all of the same mindset. I am very thankful to the City of Perris for starting the Live Well program. Without Live Well Perris, I would not have been motivated to get into shape.”
Carmona said the hikes motivate her to “get physically fit and stay active.”
“I’m just thankful the City of Perris organizes these events,” she said.
Karleen Aiken is a new arrival to Perris, where she lives in the Avelina community near Orange Vista High School. She is familiar with Lake Perris but until never hiked a trail until the City event.
“I’m proud to know the City of Perris is trying to get the community involved to live better,” Aiken said. “Exercise is huge to good health.”
Perris resident Monica Chan and her family participate in numerous City events. Chan called the initial “Take a Hike” relatively easy as the course was mostly flat with one moderate hill about halfway through. But the next two hikes—Oct. 20 Kabian Park and Nov. 17 at the Terri Peak Trail at Lake Perris-- will prove more challenging.
“Things start out easy and get tougher,” Chan said. “It’s fun to come out and enjoy the beautiful scenery and nice weather. Mother Nature was the star at today’s hike.”
After the hike, the City raffled a variety of prizes to participants, including a bicycle, a fishing rod, hand weights and other fitness and recreational gear.