By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
My doctor tells me the “secret” to general good health is no secret at all. A healthy diet and exercise are the foundations of good health. He suggests an hour a day of walking or running will do great things for our weight loss goals which, in turn, will benefit our hearts, help control sugar, etc. His bottom line during our discussion was walking and running will make a positive difference in our lives.
In addition to the health benefits, getting out on foot in Cherokee is a great way to take in the culture and experience the interesting places scattered throughout the Qualla Boundary. There are great places to go where you may enjoy great shopping along the way, make stops at key historic sites or view breathtaking flora and fauna. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has purposefully designed great foot trails for those who wish to view the natural beauty of the Boundary. A combination of sidewalks and trails make up Cherokee’s greenways. These paths allow anyone to enjoy the town’s attractions and a peaceful stroll or spirited jog along the Oconaluftee River.
If you prefer a more vigorous pedestrian experience, Cherokee is the gateway to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hiking trails are numerous and some present challenging experiences for even seasoned hikers (see a complete GSMNP trail map at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/GSMNP-Map_JUNE14-complete4-2.pdf). There is literally a trail to suit every walker or runner’s taste.
Whether you are working on losing a few pounds or simply want to experience nature close up, Cherokee offers great spaces and opportunities to do both. No special equipment is required, but I would suggest some good walking/running attire, water…and possibly a map. There is great information on Cherokee’s walking and running trails at the Cherokee Welcome Center across from the Fairgrounds. You may phone the Center 554-6490 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.