Children and Youth

Despite clouds, big showing for 2nd Annual Moonlight Walk

A steady stream of young families, couples, small groups of friends and pet lovers attended the event.
People wandered in after school and after work for a refreshing and rejuvenating hike.
Joey and Joe getting ready. Photo by Leslie David
Folks sign in at the R.E.A.C.H. desk for the (still free!) event. Photo by Leslie David
Andrade and Barios families almost at the top. Photo by Karminder Brown
Taking in the last rays of sun and the view of San Juan Valley. Photo by Karminder Brown
When you get to the top, it's time for a selfie. Photo by Karminder Brown
Heading home! Kids enjoy the freedom to run as the sun sets and the moon climbs. Photo by Karminder Brown
The full moon popped in and out of the clouds but made a showing. Photo by Leslie David
Laura, Benji and Brenda finish and are still smiling! Photo by Leslie David

Over 140 people took part in the Moonlight Walk, an evening hike hosted by and R.E.A.C.H. San Benito Parks Foundation.

Attendees arrived in small clusters to sign in, asked a few questions about hosts BenitoLink and R.E.A.C.H., then grabbed a snack and took off at their own pace. “Can we just go?” kids asked excitedly.

For the second year, community members took advantage of the full moon event, taking advantage of a chance to go for a casual hike on the National Park Service’s Juan Bautista de Anza Trail  in the outskirts of San Juan Bautista.

The full length of the San Juan Bautista De Anza Trail is 5.2 miles, moderately steep, trafficked out and back trail. It is accessible year-round and people can bring dogs, as long as they are kept on a leash.

Couples came wheeling their strollers, or packing a baby against their chest. A few pets even got to go, either tucked under an arm or on a leash.  Lori Arnold, who works in Hollister, brought a friend’s pet for the outing. She said “Vincent” was quite slow heading up and she thought maybe he was tired, but once Lori started home he had a sudden burst of energy and she had trouble keeping up with him.

Robin Pollard, who is a R.E.A.C.H. volunteer, told BenitoLink, “I liked that so many came out in the uncertain conditions, ignoring clouds and possible rain.” No one seemed daunted by a little overcast sky. The full moon poked out here and there as walkers made it to various overlooks and enjoyed the perfect temperature for a mildly strenuous outing.

Jim Sleznick and his wife Gayle and Michael Ostrowski stood by answering de Anza Trail history questions. Sleznick, past superintendent of Pinnacles National Park, helped re-establish the trail for public use, and works with the volunteer group that helps maintain it.

Whoo-hoo!” four women hollered as they returned from their evening trek.  As they came back by the sign-in gate heading home, they proudly announced they had made it past the second mile marker, about two miles up the path. Both the first and second Moonlight Walks have shown a high percentage of women and children in attendance.

“The Moonlight Walk allows us to get out of our ordinary routine and explore the beauty of our county’s hillsides. I was happy to see so many others making the time and effort to step out of their routines and attend the walk with their families and friends. It was a perfect evening and the full moon was spectacular,” wrote participant, Mary Margaret Lanning, who came with her husband, Kurt.

Personal trainer and nutritionist, Lanning thanked BenitoLink and R.E.A.C.H. via email saying, “Seeing young families get involved in outdoor activities like hiking or going for walks is so extremely important for their future of being healthy. The young family members learn by their mentors and everyone benefits from exercise. Getting them started early teaches them to feel good about new adventures, which carries through into their adulthood. Good Job Mom and Dad!”

“It was great to see so many young families and multigenerational families get out in the fresh air and enjoy the evening,” said BenitoLink’s Leslie David. As the county’s local nonprofit news site, BenitoLink collaborates with R.E.A.C.H. San Benito Parks Foundation on the event. “With so many attending on a Tuesday night, it is clear people are interested in finding scenic and safe places to venture out to,” she said.

R.E.A.C.H. San Benito Parks Foundation, a nonprofit, works with local parks and government agencies to establish more parks and trails for the public.

BenitoLink, is San Benito’s local, community supported, nonprofit news website.

To learn about the many places to walk and hike in San Benito County, take a look at BenitoLink’s series written by Jim Ostdick, Walking San Benito.

Click here for more info on the de Anza Trail.


BenitoLink Staff