An Autumn Activity
1890 The San Francisco Call shared an article with this headline: Walking Clubs. Lazy People Have No Interest in the Subject.
Here's an excerpt:
"You may have heard of a hundred kinds of clubs, ... and you may belong half a dozen and yet have never heard of a walking club.
If so, you have missed one of the best of all. Autumn is here, and the bracing air makes you feel like exercising briskly.
The leaves are turning to gold and scarlet, the nuts are nearly ripe, and the squirrels are scampering through the trees, chattering challenges with saucy eyes.
Now is the time to organize walking clubs. A number of bright, boys and girls might get up such a club in an hour, No initiation, no fees. A President perhaps and maybe a Secretary to put down anything wonderful that may happen during the walks. The only business of the club will be to settle where they will walk. No constitution, no by-laws.
Take any morning when it does not rain, see that your feet are shod strongly and comfortably, and walk as many miles as you can without fatigue.
Hold up your head, throw your chest forward, and walk. Don't mince along or shuffle, but strike a long, swinging step from the hip joints.
Have a destination. Select a farmhouse or a country inn three miles out. Manage to get there in time for dinner or supper, and after eating, rest one hour. Then come home by a different route.
At night take a bath and go to bed.
Take a walk once the first week, twice the second week, and keep that up for six weeks. Then walk three times a week, if the weather permits. Begin with a six-mile walk and lengthen it to ten.
Keep up these walks during the autumn and winter — in fact, up to next summer. Get a number to go, and keep on enlisting new members. Seek a new route for every walk, if such a thing is possible. If not, add variety by dividing the club into two detachments, which shall meet at some previously agreed upon place to lunch. Then "swap routes" for the return trip, or return all together by a third route.
There are a hundred ways of preventing monotony. Incite members to discover new points of interest and get an amateur botanist or geologist to join you. Study natural history as you walk, discuss, argue, reason, but don't quarrel. This is the way to be healthy and wise. Never mind the wealth— that will come of itself."