Shape up, or … John and Annie Bidwell care about your health and they want to help.
OK, that’s a complete lie and probably has nothing to do with why Bidwell Park was created, but nonetheless there is a 3,600-acre park in Chico for people to play, recreate and, intelligent designer forbid, exercise in.
Undoubtedly there are a number of people who went with the whole “I want to get in shape” thing as a New Year’s Resolution. People do every year. If this wasn’t you, keep reading anyway because it’ll be good for you.
Stay the course Both Lower and Upper Parks offer miles of trails to walk, run, bike, hop and skip. Some are as flat and wide as the roads, while others will cause your thighs to burn by just looking at them. Unless you have a strong connection with asphalt and gravel, try the trails.
Located just under a half-mile east of One-Mile is the Vita Course—a catchy name for the most archaic but coolest exercise program ever—there’s no crap to buy, membership fees or naked people in the locker room. Unfortunately, it begins practically underneath the Highway 99 overpass, but 100 yards down the trail, you can’t hear or see the structural abomination.
Essentially, the Vita Course is a series of 20 workout stations along a half-mile of trail (and actually there are really only 19; station one is missing). It is run, jogged or walked in a “there-and-back” fashion, stopping at each of the stations in order along the way, making it about a mile roundtrip.
For each station there is a sign with instructions for an activity. These range from push-ups and sit-ups to side-bends and arm-circles. The Vita Course is geared toward a wide range of audiences, from couch potato Steve to Olympic athlete Amy, with suggested recommendations for the in-shape and the not-so-in-shape. Note: The trail forks about 100 yards into the course—veer right.
To get there, head east on Vallombrosa Avenue and park at the turnout on the right just past the Highway 99 overpass. Enter the park and look for the Vita Course sign. You can also run, jog or walk South Park Drive to add an extra half-mile to the course.
Making Waves On a side note, while all the recent rains brought flooding to some parts of the state, they also brought enough water down Big Chico Creek to create a small wave at the top of the Sycamore Pool suitable for kayaking. For that, I am thankful.