WHAT I've created a Web site (www.restonpaths.com) devoted to walkers, primarily in the Reston area. It provides maps, directions and photos of the many area walking routes. I have also provided maps of some other nearby sites, such as Burke Lake Park and Sugarloaf Mountain. There is no advertising on the site, and it is free to all.
WHY To keep busy after my retirement and encourage people to walk. I wanted to offer a better idea of where you're going and what you might encounter. I felt a lot of people may know a walk in their neighborhood, but they don't know the whole area.
HOW I DID IT I used other guidebooks as models, vowing to improve on the ones that don't always have a map or whose text directions aren't clear, or where it's obvious the writer never did the hike himself. Whenever I happen on a new trail, I try it out, see where it goes. For instance, the Reston people don't know all the trails available in the Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park area, north of Elden Street, so I mapped that out. I get about 1,200 visits a week to my site, 120 to my home page. I've had comments like, "Gee, I didn't know you could walk around all these lakes" and "I've wished for this kind of trail guide for years."
PAYOFF I try to walk an hour or more at least six days a week. This project has given me added reason to look for new places to walk. Another part of my motivation was to get my wife walking. She comes along on my explorations and has made up little cards for me to hand out about the Web site. We both feel better for it. Everything I've read says you're going to live longer if you walk every day. I believe it. Walking's gotten me through some pretty stressful periods.
-- R. Douglas Pew, Reston
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