Wendy Bumgardner of Vancouver is a nationally recognized walking expert. And, to be sure, she walks her talk. Walking has been so important to her throughout her life that when she and her husband started looking for a home in Vancouver, being close to an every day walking trail was high on their list of criteria.

Writing All About Walking

Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy celebrates as she reaches the destination of the pilgrimage – the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (the Shrine of St. James) in Spain. Photo courtesy: Wendy Bumgardner

Wendy has been writing about walking for over 20 years. Her highly touted About Walking site, which recently transitioned to the walking site on Verywell.com, is a go-to for thousands of people for facts and ideas on how to live better by walking.

Clearly, Wendy is qualified for the job. Wendy has walked over a thousand 10-kilometer events, seven marathons and over 100 half-marathons. Wendy walked a portion of the Camino de Santiago in Spain in 2015 and will return this year to do the Portuguese coastal section in Portugal and Spain. “What makes the Camino such a different trek is that everyone is going the same way, and everyone understands you are on the same journey. At every café and at the end of the day, you share walking stories with people from all over the planet. You become one tribe, all supported by the people in the villages along the way,” Wendy explains.

Wendy is an active volunteer as well. She served as trail master for dozens of walking events and volunteered to organize walking conventions and the yearly Vancouver Discovery Walk Festival (now discontinued). The event, drawing up to 2200 participants, served to showcase the city of Vancouver and local trails to walkers from across the United States.

Finding a Home Suitable for an Avid Walker

Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy walks the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail for her daily exercise. Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

Wendy says, “If you walk each day, you will reap the health benefits of reducing inactivity and being more physically active.” That has been very true for Wendy, who had nerve damage and drop foot following surgery at age 14 and still limps when tired. “I can’t run, but I can walk, and I plan to be like my walking friends who are walking marathons and treks into their 80’s,” Wendy comments.

Wendy explains the rationale for the location of her Vancouver home, “I knew the trails in Vancouver from planning for the Discovery Walk Festival and hoped we would find the right house that was close to one of them when we were ready to move from Tualatin in 2007. We looked all over Vancouver, including Felida, Salmon Creek, and Fisher’s Landing for a house that met our other criteria. Salmon Creek would have been good for access to the Salmon Creek Greenway. We didn’t want an older house as we aren’t good at doing our own repairs. We had almost settled for a house that wasn’t near a trail when our realtor took us to a new development in Ogden. The homes are beautiful and only a short walk from the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway Trail. That helped cement the decision as it meant my husband could bike and I could walk that great trail.”

So Wendy and her husband found a home eight blocks from the Burton Road entrance to the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail. Many days a week, you will find her walking there for her daily exercise. She tracks her exercise on a Fitbit, and her daily goal is 15,000 steps. Despite a full-time writing career she rarely misses that goal, and sometimes exceeds it.

Enjoying the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail

Wendy Bumgardner
Birders frequent the creek side trail system. Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

Vancouver’s eight-mile Burnt Bridge Creek Trail begins (or ends) at Stewart’s Glen in Fruit Valley and crosses over I-5 to Leverich Park and Arnold Park. It extends all the way to NE 90th Avenue and Burton Road. The trail follows the Burnt Bridge Creek, named for a small bridge built over the creek in 1889. A larger bridge was built in 1885, and the old one subsequently burned giving the creek its name.

The hard-surfaced trail following the beautiful creek-side greenway is ideal for walking, jogging, biking and dog walking. Depending on the season parts of the trail can become a wetland attracting ducks and herons (and frogs, too!). The full trail meanders through open grasslands and forests.

Trailheads with off-street parking and other amenities are located at the end of NW Bernie Drive and NW Fruit Valley Road in Northwest Vancouver, in Leverich Park, off of Devine Road south of NE 18th Street and off of Andresen Road south of NE 18th Street. Find a trail map by clicking here.

Wendy Bumgardner
As the seasons change along the trail, you may see ripe blackberries to pick. Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

Some of the trail is open, and so, in warm weather, it is important to wear a hat, use sunscreen and carry water. If you are walking a dog, carry pick-up bags. Some bag dispensers are dotted along the trail, too. If you like to take a leisurely walk in nature, the trail will provide that opportunity. And, in many areas, you will find benches where you can rest and enjoy the beauty of the greenway.

Normal safety precautions need to be taken as with any other urban trail. Those precautions include being aware of your surroundings and using the trail with a friend or a dog. Wendy has further Walking Safety Tips on Verywell.com.

“I love how the trail has very few road crossings and is completely separate from roads and road noise. You can just enjoy the natural landscape and wildlife. If you are running or speed walking, there are few interruptions, and you can set a good pace. From my home I can enjoy a walk of three miles, six miles or more. The only drawback is the lack of restrooms and water fountains on the eastern end, so I usually include Winco or Starbucks on Andresen as stops on the way back and carry a water bottle,” Wendy finishes.

More Vancouver Walking Trails
The city of Vancouver takes pride in its walking trails. The two-mile Historic Discovery Loop Trail and the five-mile Waterfront Renaissance Trail are a couple of the most popular.

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