Auburn resident Linda Bell and her friend, Dani Daskam, of Enumclaw, were up bright and early Saturday morning at Penrose Point State Park, the first two walkers to sign up for the 27th annual Key Peninsula Lions-sponsored Volksmarch.
Later, at the trail’s halfway point, they said, “We’ve walked this trail before. It’s beautiful! You Lions always do such a great job of marking out the route.”
KP Lions formed their Volkssport Club within their Lions Club in 1989 and haven’t missed a year of Volksmarching since. The first trek was around Burley Lagoon over a two-day weekend and involved more than 1,200 walkers. Over the years, the 10K (6.2 mile) events have involved a tour through the town of Home citing its historical sites, Penrose State Park walks, a trail through the historic Home cemetery past Jackson Lake to and back from the Haley State Park property, more Penrose walks, three years at KP Parks’ new 360 Trails Park, and this year, by popular request, a return to Penrose.
A lot of work goes into the walks. Reservations must be made. Detailed notification is provided to the Evergreen Volkssport Association to be published in its “Pathfinder” quarterly, which reaches a huge audience of enthusiasts resulting in walkers from foreign countries as well as our own participating in the ventures. Signs must be acquired and strategically placed to direct walkers to the sites. All trails must be walked and carefully marked with arrows directing walkers along the attractive paths. Toilet facilities must be available at the start and halfway points as well as water for drinking and a water supply for accompanying dogs.
A start-up site at which all walkers must register must be set up in the early morning to be manned until the last walker is off the trails sometime after 4 p.m., as was this year by KP Lions President Hal Wolverton and Lions George and Cindy Robison.
For most years, KP Lions have been helped in marking and clearing the trails by Troop 220 Boy Scouts whom they sponsor. This year, the scouts were out of the area at summer camp, so, under the leadership of KP Lions Volksmarch director Neal Van Der Voorn, fellow Lions did all the grunt work. Lions Dan VanAntwerp, Curt Scott, Jeremiah Saucier and John Kelly all testified, “It was very enjoyable. What a beautiful trail.”
Park Ranger Janet Shonk joined the Lions at the halfway point and expressed her delight that the Volksmarch had returned to Penrose.
“Several walkers expressed how pleased they were with the trails,” said Van Der Voorn in an email thanking all for their excellent work .
Even though the weather was perfect for walking, not in the sizzling upper 80s as it was last year, only 63 walkers took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and gain the exercise of our park. A senior official of Evergreen Volkssport Association noted that walkers have been diminishing in number over the past three years.
“But no one has an answer for why,” she said.