Since 2014 the Williams Lake Wanderers have enjoyed getting together three times a week to explore the Williams Lake area as seen here off Anderson Road Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Since 2014 the Williams Lake Wanderers have enjoyed getting together three times a week to explore the Williams Lake area as seen here off Anderson Road Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Smart 55: Williams Lake Wanderers inspired to explore

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays the group recreates together

For fitness, fun and friendship.

That’s the impetus behind the Williams Lake Wanderers group which was started in November 2014 by a few women inspired by a similar group in Salmon Arm.

“We met these women on a trip to Italy from Salmon Arm who told us about this great group the Salmon Arm Striders and how it worked,” said Linda Isfeld as she and the group prepared to venture off Anderson Road for a 90-minute snow trek Tuesday, Jan. 5. “We said why wouldn’t something like that would work in Williams Lake.”

They contacted the city and asked if someone would help them develop the group. While the city said it couldn’t present the group as part of its recreation programming, it would help with other aspects.

Isfeld and McLennan met with Deb Radolla, city manager of active living at the time, who is now retired and participates in the group along with her husband Pat, to set up the group and invited others to join.

While they were meeting at the Mountview Store on Dog Creek Road Tuesday because it was closer to their destination, someone is always at the Cariboo Memorial Complex parking lot on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:15 a.m. to make sure anyone who is interested in participating doesn’t miss out.

They normally depart at 9:30 a.m.

Bette McLennan said a small contingent meets to plan activities for an entire month and then make up a brochure that outlines the schedule and places them around town, including at the Tourism Discovery Centre, library and some outdoor stores.

“The whole idea was to get people out, people who wanted to get out but didn’t want to go alone and didn’t know where to go,” McLennan said.

Read more: SMART 55: Wilderness at the doorstep keeps Williams Lake senior fit

Depending on the climate and the season they snowshoe, trek, x-country ski, cycle, hike, canoe and kayak — all in the vicinity of Williams Lake.

McLennan said most of the people who join them are 55-plus, but there have been younger members and sometimes grandchildren or dogs in the mix.

“But because it’s mid-morning Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, it limits who can come. Some younger people come if they have a day off work, but it’s not that often.”

Anyone joining the group signs a waver for liability, said Linda Hicks. They also bring a first aid kit on every adventure.

McLennan said they come by the name ‘wanderers’ honestly because sometimes they head out to explore new areas they have never been to before.

“The group is different every day,” she added, smiling.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve been mindful of precautions. Normally members would car pool, but Isfeld said they have not been.

They practice physical distancing and wear masks if needed.

With an aim to provide physical health and an appreciation of the natural world, the group activities are friendly and non-competitive where one can seek physical fitness at a pace suitable to the individual.

New members are welcome and an annual membership is $10 and members receive e-mails with the schedule and schedule changes.

Other outings slated for January include a Scout Island walk, snowshoeing on Fox Mountain, off Hodgson Road, Bond Lake, Timothy Lake, Bull Mountain, Yellow Lake as well as x-country skiing at Rose Lake and sledding and walking at Tawny Way off Dog Creek Road.

There is an extra $10 fee per use for skiing or a $5 per use fee for snowshoeing at Bull Mountain for anyone that does not have an annual membership.

Group contacts include McLennan at 250-392-6423, Linda Hicks at 250-392-2798 and Joanne Wright at 250-398-7624. They also have a Facebook page.

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