The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Sometimes it crosses four bridges, too.
Every morning for the past several months, Lee Ann Hannah Hamilton has gotten up, gone to work, turned on her computer to take care of some early morning tasks, and then has headed back out around 6:00 AM. “I’ve got my little route I go on; I cross all the bridges and the Walnut Street Bridge twice. We have our own personal elliptical system here.”
Lee Ann was always active, but made a strong commitment to treading at dawn earlier this year. Each trip is about 4.5 miles, and Lee Ann just hit an impressive milestone. “Before it was sporadic,” she said. “April 15th I started tracking my mileage and I will hit 1,000 miles this (Dec. 6) weekend. I Just walked my 2,000,000th step since July 29th,” she said. “What a gift to be able to walk around Chattanooga and actually see the wonder and beauty.”
While walking, Lee Ann pauses to take photos. “I would be out walking, and it was like someone would tap me on the shoulder and say ‘look over here, that’s really pretty.’”
You can find an album of Lee Ann’s photos at the GreenTrips Facebook Page. Being out and about in the early morning lets Lee Ann capture the Scenic City in subtle shades unfamiliar to most of us. Lee Ann’s photos are so exquisite that you might find it hard to believe that she took them with her iPhone camera.
“Yesterday, one of the people I work with said, ‘I meant to comment the other day when it was really foggy. What kind of camera are you using? I look every day to see what kind of picture you’re posting’.”
Beauty is not the only benefit of Lee Ann’s early morning walks. “I think it helps get your blood flowing and clears your mind before you go in," she said. "There’s nothing better than watching the sun rise; that’s the most awesome thing in the whole world. I know some people would say ‘why would you want to (be up that early)'? “It makes everything brand new; you leave the old behind, and it’s brand new. You just start fresh.”
Additionally, Lee Ann cites health benefits as reasons to keep going and for others to get started. “It definitely lowers the stress level," she said. "Even if I can get out at lunch ... you just feel more relaxed. The guy that sits across from me started walking on a regular basis. There are quite a few people in here (who have started). They’ve seen what I’ve done, and they’ve all started to walk, or at least they’re interested in it.”
And as Lee Ann walks to get around, she recommends GreenTrips as a way to make the most of your walking, biking, carpooling, or transit commute.
“Hopefully you’re getting a lot more people signed up. Everyone’s out there walking, so they might as well get on (GreenTrips). You guys have a great program—keep it up!”
To join Lee Ann and help GreenTrips reach 1,000 members, please sign up at iGreenTrip.org