Tonette Walker looked up at the rock shelter. She listened as the park naturalist explained how the cave-like opening formed, and smiled as she learned about the weathered stone.
As the group was guided down the path, Walker stepped to the side of the trail and waited for the group to pass her by. She stepped back into the crowd about halfway through and began chatting with some local residents.
The 29th Walk with Walker event took place Tuesday in Perrot State Park. The seasonal walks have brought Walker all over the state, but it was her first time visiting Wisconsin’s driftless area.
“It’s so gorgeous,” she said as she looked over at the bluffs. “And so beautiful.”
The Walk with Walker event started more than two years ago as a way of getting to know the different communities in Wisconsin and promoting the importance of health and fitness. The walks take place between March and November and are designed for people of all ages.
After introducing the first lady, the group embarked on a 1.5 mile journey throughout the state park. Park naturalist John Carrier guided the tour that featured just a portion of the park’s 1,235 acres.
About 25 people participated in the walk and nearly every one spent time talking with Walker.
“Trempealeau County is such a special place,” Wisconsin secretary of tourism Stephanie Klett said. “You take for granted what you have in your own backyard.”
After the walk, the group was greeted with a fire at the park’s Nature Center. Participants enjoyed apples and PowerBars and chatted about the cooler weather.
Walker said she loves meeting people on the walks and looks forward to planning her trips every year.
“I feel very lucky to experience what I’ve been able to experience in the last 29 walks,” Walker said.