“We didn’t look like this 40 years ago,” Pete Forchini, one of the hiking group’s members, assured me as he chuckled to himself. I smiled as we turned to continue down the trail.

It was still a little hard to believe that a few of the members of this weekly hiking group had been hiking together since the early sixties. That’s a long time. And here they were, laughing and loving each other’s company as we explored the coastal bluffs of POST-protected Pillar Point.

Many of the members of this group met in the early 1960s as volunteers for the Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors program, which was aimed at getting inner-city youth outside and in wild places. They stayed friends over the years and, in retirement, started a weekly hiking group that meets faithfully every Monday.

I was lucky enough to get an invitation a few weeks back to join the group on their weekly hike and jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to hear their stories and ask them what’s kept them coming to open spaces all these years and what changes they’ve seen on the land.

Here’s what a few of them had to say:



Pete & Eva Forchini



Jack Wallace



Steve Maskel



Michael Cadigan


It was a blast for me to meet these folks, many of whom were exploring POST-protected open spaces before they were protected by POST, gosh, before there were even trails. For me, it was kind of like meeting rock stars.

But I’ll be honest.

I had an ulterior motive to join this hike. I wanted to know their secrets. I love to hike and explore the natural world and, with young kids, I plan to be active for a long time. So, when meeting with this group (most of whom are over the age of 75), I was curious to learn just how they had stayed fit for so long.

A few miles into our hike, it became clear that this group was more than just hiking partners or even friends, they were a family.  Over the years they’ve put a lot of miles on the trail together and have come to know and care for one another the way families do.

I asked Jack Wallace, the group’s ringleader, if he thought he’d hike as much as he does if it wasn’t for this group. He responded, “Well, I’d like to think so…but I doubt it.”

I didn’t find all the secrets to a long life on the trail that day. But I know for sure this group has made something special. It seems sticking together and enjoying the land is what’s kept them going all these years.

And that sounds pretty good to me too.

About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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