One of Germany’s most popular leisure time activities is Volksmarching which translates, I believe, to “people’s walk.” Every weekend there are dozens of Volksmarches all over Germany. The town hosting the vent typically designs a medal of some type that is reflective of the town’s history and heritage. People belong to Volksmarching organizations and have official log books to record their participation, distance and time. Once certain goals are reached, you get pins or patches to wear. (I found Germans to be very enthusiastic about such official-looking trinkets and trappings, a national character trait that might help explain some of the country’s past history but that’s a story for another day).
About twenty years ago I participated in a Volksmarch here in Lowell sponsored by the Walk ‘n Mass Volkssports Club. I don’t remember the exact route, but it was a lot of fun. The group returns to Lowell this coming June 4th for another Volksmarch. Like most spring weekends, that’s a very busy time around here but if you like walking, you should definitely check this out. There are two courses: one of 5 kilometers, the other of 10 (about 3.1 and 6.2 miles). Here’s how the group describes the two routes:
TRAIL DESCRIPTIONS: The walk is comprised of two 5km loops to make up the 5km and 10km route options. Both walk routes are relatively flat and have an AVA rating of 1+. These routes are suitable for strollers but may be difficult for wheelchairs.
The Pawtucket Falls Loop goes through a business district, past two churches over 100 years old, across a park and into a couple of neighborhoods. The trail leads down to the Pawtucket Falls and across the Merrimack River before ascending a slight hill towards part of the UMass-Lowell campus and back into town. Sights in town include the library, local businesses, town hall and the Whistler Museum before returning to the Start/Finish.
The Rivers & Canals Loop departs the Visitor Center and heads to the Pawtucket Canal, then the Lower Gate Locks and past Middlesex Community College. The trail winds its way through a small business district to Boott Mills and out to the Merrimack River. Walking along the river, you pass behind Tsongas Arena and Le Lacheur Stadium, through part of the UMass-Lowell campus and to the Northern Canal. Other sights on this loop include the Merrimack Canal, Lucy Larcom Park, B&M steam locomotive #410 and the New England Quilt Museum before returning to the Start/Finish.
The event brochure is available HERE.