The Ra­zor­back Green­way, a great place to walk

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Sam Byrnes

Af­ter com­ing home from a long va­ca­tion out west, Linda and I de­cided it was high time we both lost some weight and got back into half­way de­cent shape again. Walk­ing seemed like a good choice to be­gin our ex­er­cise pro­gram. We also ride our bikes ev­ery now and then but, per­son­ally, I pre­fer to walk. That way I am al­ways hav­ing to put one foot in front of the other. With a bike, most of the down­hill rid­ing is just coast­ing.

You know, the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight and the harder it is to do some of the things that were rou­tinely done only a few short years ago. At least that is how I find it, but then, maybe if I was more ac­tive more of the time, I wouldn’t lose so much ground to the aging process. I also have to con­sider the lim­i­ta­tions of my heart con­di­tion, al­though my car­di­ol­o­gist does want me to ex­er­cise. The main thing is you have to lis­ten to what your body is try­ing to tell you.

Cur­rently, Linda and I feel pretty good if we get at least 10,000 steps in each day. Some­times we go a fair amount over and some­times we don’t quite make it. But for me, 10,000 steps equates to about four miles. That makes for a good base. If I get even more steps in, that’s all the bet­ter.

Since we live in the coun­try, we have plenty of places to walk. But we have also been walk­ing on the Ra­zor­back Green­way, a 37-mile sys­tem of bik­ing/walk­ing trails that be­gins on the south side of Fayetteville and runs up through the cities of John­son, Spring­dale, Low­ell, Rogers and Ben­tonville. If you haven’t been over to check out this won­der­ful trail sys­tem for your­self, this fall might just be the time to do it. I prom­ise you these towns have done a re­ally great job of build­ing a sys­tem of trails that ri­val any­thing to be found any­where in the en­tire coun­try. Be­sides the main Ra­zor­back Green­way, there are many off­shoot trails that take in points of in­ter­est in each of the towns which are con­nected by the Green­way. The Ra­zor­back Green­way cost more than $38,000,000 with the Wal­ton Foun­da­tion kick­ing in $15,000,000 of match­ing funds. To say it has been well done is an un­der­state­ment.

A good place to start learn­ing more about the Ra­zor­back Green­way first­hand is to go down to Dick­son Street in Fayetteville and get on the trail headed south. This will take you to the very be­gin­ning of the trail, which is about 1.8 miles from Dick­son Street. It is a nice walk that takes you through a cou­ple of small parks. At the end of the Green­way, an­other trail leads off to Kessler Moun­tain Re­gional Park. This trail is not yet com­pleted, but work is on­go­ing to get it done.

Kessler Moun­tain Park (550-plus acres) has a num­ber of soccer fields and base­ball di­a­monds, to­gether with many miles of moun­tain bike trails up on Kessler Moun­tain it­self. Since we are not into moun­tain bik­ing, we have not done any of these trails yet; they do look in­ter­est­ing. You need to sign in be­fore you take off since there are more than 600 miles of moun­tain bike trails wend­ing their way through the rough hills and it is pos­si­ble to get lost. To get to Kessler Park, just take the Cato Springs exit off of 49 on the south side of Fayetteville. There are plans for paved walk­ing trails in the hills as well.

An­other good place to get on the Ra­zor­back Green­way is at Lake Fayetteville. The lake has its own trail around it, which is 5.25 miles long. This is a re­ally nice trail for bik­ing or walk­ing. Or, you can stay on the Green­way and head to­ward the mall. This will take you un­der High­way 71 Busi­ness and up the hill be­side the mall, al­though it is in a heav­ily wooded area and you would never know you were in an ur­ban set­ting. This is prob­a­bly some of the pret­ti­est scenery of the en­tire trail sys­tem, but then, we haven’t seen all of the Green­way yet.

One place Linda and I en­joy walk­ing on the Green­way is at Pin­na­cle Hills. We usu­ally park at a bi­cy­cle shop whose name presently eludes me. It is lo­cated next to the Toy­ota deal­er­ship in Rogers. From Rain­bow Curve, just turn right at Krispy Kreme and it is not far to the Toy­ota deal­er­ship. Take a left just as if you are go­ing to the deal­er­ship and, im­me­di­ately on the left, is the bike shop. The Green­way runs di­rectly be­hind the shop. If you head south on the trail, it will lead you to Cross Church and from there un­der In­ter­state 49 and around Pin­na­cle Hills Mall. At the church, there is a side trail which leads around a small lake. This is a nice walk. If you walk around the lake and back to the bike shop, it is around four miles — about what we like to do at one time.

Linda and I hope to walk all 37 miles of the Ra­zor­back Green­way dur­ing this fall sea­son. Hope­fully, we will see some of you along the trail as well. Happy hik­ing!

Sam Byrnes is a Gen­tr­yarea res­i­dent and weekly con­trib­u­tor to the Ea­gle Ob­server. He may be con­tacted by email at sam­ Opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

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