When Mary Mastin wakes up in the morning, what gets her out of bed is knowing somebody will be waiting to take a walk with her.
“Knowing I have people to walk with gets me up in the a.m. and out of bed,” said Mastin.
Mastin formed the walking group after participating in a similar group when she summered in Whitefish, Mont.
“I didn’t know anyone, but I met a lot of people through the group,” she said.
The walkers in Whitefish not only introduced Mastin to locals, she learned the community.
Mastin has hiked with the Payson Packers for years. The Payson Packers meet every Tuesday morning to hike in areas sometimes an hour away from town.
Mastin knows she has to commit a whole day to the Packers’ hike between travel, hike and recovery. She decided to create a walking group that allowed people to get in a daily walk, yet still have the rest of their day available to get life’s chores done.
Mastin has people meet every day of the week at 9 a.m. for an hour walk around Payson neighborhoods.
“Right now, we stick to paved streets,” she said.
Recently, she introduced the group to an area of Payson they had never seen.
“We did Graham Ranch Road north and no one in the group had ever been in that area before,” said Mastin. “With this group, you get to see new neighborhoods and meet new people,” she said. The most challenging thing Mastin contends with is finding leaders.
“Being a leader isn’t difficult,” said Mastin, “It’s up to the leader to tell people where to park, hopefully not get people lost, check to see they have water, and say, ‘It’s 9 a.m., let’s get going.’”
For her, the biggest advantage to being a leader is that she will always have someone to walk with.
“It’s a great way to learn new stuff and network,” she said.
The Payson walking group has a calendar with start locations and neighborhoods to walk. To request a copy or to find out more information on becoming a leader, please contact Mary Mastin at (928) 468-6842 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.