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Urban Walking Course

GoWalk!: Beginner Urban Walking Series

Is 2023 your year to start regular walks? Do you want to experience the beauty of our urban parks, green belts and city streets, but don’t know where to begin? In the GoWalk! Beginning Urban walkingSeries, we start with basics: Preparation, safety, conditioning and fitness tips and knowledge to make urban walking less daunting, with a main goal in mind: Getting outdoors with others who are starting out (or starting over), at a comfortable, social pace, making this journey together.

​​Participants must be a Mountaineers member with a current waiver on file to register for the course.  

Priority registration: 

September 1st thru September 29th for first time participants only.  This is our first year so there are not yet alumni.

Course Overview

Urban Walking, an urban version of hiking, is both calming and energizing. It’s a way to connect with nature plus the built environment, and build community with new people. 

In the GoWalk! Beginning Urban Walking Series, we start with basics:  Preparation, safety, general fitness tips and knowledge to make urban walking less daunting with a main goal in mind: Getting outdoors with others who are starting out (or starting over), at a comfortable, social pace, making the journey together.

We will introduce you to the essentials of urban walking, help you to set personalized goals month by month during the course, and most of all, connect you with a community of fellow urban walkers. All backgrounds, shapes and sizes will find a welcoming home with GoWalk!  So, whether you are brand new to urban walks or have been away for a while, this course will meet you where you are, help you find your path to success, and have fun doing it.

What are urban walks?

Urban Walks are outings two (2) miles or longer that take place on city or suburban streets, parks or greenbelts [on maintained or unmaintained trails] where there is consistent cellphone service, nearby emergency response access and egress [exit)] points. (Clubwide Standard, 2023)

Who is goWalk! For?  

People who want to get out on an urban walk and would like a community and support to make it happen, starting from where they are.

  • Beginner urban walkers – or people who haven’t been out for a while – and looking for an easy, gradual start
  • People who are looking for a social, mutually supportive atmosphere
  • We welcome participants all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes

Course Schedule

  • GoWalk! Student Orientation – Mandatory online virtual classroom session October 2, 2023 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Register for the GoWalk! Orientation when you register for the course.
  • Pacing Urban Walks - One pace urban walk is required, to help you determine where you are and what level of urban walks and pace you want to work toward – October.  Registration for pacing urban walks will open on September 18th.
  • Must complete “Low Impact Recreation” training - October
  • Must complete 1 Pacing Urban Walk and 5 or more course urban walks (listed as field trips), at least one a month – November to March
  • Check-ins: Optional virtual online zoom sessions - Monthly, October - March TBD
  • Graduation: April TBD

Course Components

Course Orientation

October 2, 2023, 6:30 to 9:00 pm. This mandatory 2.5-hour evening online virtual classroom session will introduce you to the essentials of urban walking starting with the basics: preparation, safety, conditioning and fitness tips and knowledge to make urban walking less daunting. We'll talk about GoWalk!, conditioning and urban walks, about setting goals, how you can make them happen with our support and more. Register for the GoWalk! Orientation when you register for the course. 

Pacing Urban walks

One pacing urban walk required. Pacing urban walks will be offered in October. These are easy, low-stress urban walks to help you determine where you are in terms of gear, the pace and distance you can complete comfortably, and what your season goals for conditioning and urban walking are, so that you can determine what  level of urban walks and pace would be the best fit for you to sign up for   - no pressure, no judgment.

Registration for pace urban walks will open on September 18. Space is limited so please sign up for only one.  Pacing urban walks will help you determine where you are, what level of urban walks and pace you want to work toward and help you assess your gear and clothing.

The Urban Walk Series

This is a beginning urban walking course. To be prepared for the course participants should be able to complete one, at least 2-mile fairly flat pacing urban walk in under 1.5 hours, including rest stops by October.

You should be available and committed to go on one pace urban walk in October and at least five urban walks, one a month, November - March. Over the course of the seasons you should be prepared to increase mileage, and elevation gain gradually, with your March urban walk being your most challenging of the series. Walkers are not required to walk at a higher level each month.

Participants are encouraged to dedicate time outside of the course for conditioning and building endurance to be prepared for the urban walks. You will walk in small groups of about 6 course participants with one or two leaders.

We will hold monthly virtual online zoom CHECK IN sessions - November - March. These optional sessions will include topics related to beginning urban walking, such as conditioning, gearing up, nutrition and hydration, walking at night, and most importantly -- checking in to see if you have any questions or suggestions.

Monthly urban walk Progression

Over the course of the seasons you should be prepared to increase mileage, and elevation gain gradually from November - March, with your March urban walk being your most challenging  of the series.  You do not need to move to a higher Level each month.

Urban Walks will be listed each month at a range of levels. Monthly urban walks will open for registration on the first Friday of each month, beginning in October for the November urban walks. On the second Friday of the month course participants may register for a second urban walk, as space is available.

October Pace Urban Walks: 1 walk required,  2 to 4 miles, 0 to 300 feet gain

Level 1        Urban Walk, 2 to 4 miles, up 300 feet gain

Level 2:      Urban Walk, 2 to 5 miles, up to 450 feet gain

Level 3:      Urban Walk,  3 to 6 miles, up to 600 feet gain

Level 4:      Urban Walk, 3 to 7 miles, up to 750 feet gain

Level 5:       Urban Walk, 4 to 8 miles, up to 1000 feet gain

Graduation

We hope to hold an in-person graduation celebration in April. Location and date to be determined.

Course Requirements

  • Mandatory attendance at the virtual online GoWalk! Orientation on October 2, 2023 6:30 to 9 pm.
  • Complete the Low Impact Recreation video series (no fee, no badge).
  • Complete Stewardship Badge (or renewal) in the 12 months before graduation;
  • Completion of 1 pacing urban walk in October and 5 course urban walks, at least one per month between November - March.
  • Extra Credit: Join Mountaineers club urban walks, or plan and complete a personal or family urban walk(s)

Participant commitment and expectations

  • Ability to complete a 2-mile fairly flat pace urban walk in under 1.5 hours including rest stops.
  • Commitment to go on one pace urban walk in October and at least five course urban walks, one a month, November - March. Early urban walks in the series could involve a half day or short fall evening including arriving at the walk start point. As the season progresses the urban walks could include a half or full day on the weekend. Urban walks may be held during the week, in the early evening and on weekends.
  • Commitment to build and maintain your hiking endurance over the course of the fall and winter to walk a little further and a little higher to get to more and more remarkable places. This means going on walks near your home and/or training at home or in a fitness facility in between course walks  to continue to build your walking endurance and stamina over time.
  • Willing to complete the Mountaineers ‘Low Impact Recreation’ video course early in the series so that you will start out as a great ‘trail citizen’!
  • Commitment to borrow or buy the minimum gear for your safety and comfort in advance of going on the offered urban walks.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy gear, and we’ll help you figure out what you need and find the best deals!. We will introduce gear recommendations at each level appropriate to the needs of the season and where the urban walk locations.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
GoWalk! Leader Orientation - Online Session
Online Classroom
Wed, Sep 27, 2023
Registration closed Sep 26
1 participant
GoWalk! Participant Orientation
Online Classroom
Mon, Oct 2, 2023
Registration closes Sep 30
28 participants
6 instructors
October GoWalk! Pacing Urban Walks: 2 to 4 miles, 0 to 450 feet of elevation gain (optional)
Union Bay Natural Area
Sat, Oct 7, 2023
Registration closes Oct 5
5 participants
Capitol Hill
Wed, Oct 11, 2023
Registration closes Oct 8
11 participants
Evans Creek Preserve
Sat, Oct 14, 2023
Registration closes Oct 11
5 participants
Marymoor Park
Mon, Oct 23, 2023
Registration closes Oct 21
4 participants
Washington Park Arboretum
Wed, Oct 25, 2023
Registration opens Oct 11
7 participants
Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
Sat, Oct 28, 2023
Registration closes Oct 18
2 participants
1 instructor

Additional badges needed to graduate

Completed

Roster
Required Equipment

>>Start from where you are with the gear and clothing you already have or can borrow.  We'll help you identify what else you might need for safety and comfort specific to each particular urban walk and the conditions when and where you're going, and we'll give you lots of ideas for how to get any needed pieces of gear or clothing without spending a lot of money.

>>David Williams (2017).  Seattle Walks. University of Washington Press, Seattle WA. Purchase online or at your favorite, local bookstore.  Many of the 17 walks will be offered during the course and Williams offers sage advice on the joys of urban walks.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.