Walking Orinda Streets – New Mission for COVID-19 Survivors

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(Kathy Enzerink, Photographer)
Laurie and Todd Smith consult their vintage paper map during a recent afternoon walk.

    Laurie Smith and her husband Todd have embarked on a new mission for Covid-19 survivors, one that you might notice somewhere in Orinda.
    Laurie has been walking with a group of friends around Orinda’s Lake Cascade for 25 years. Then COVID-19 attacked her husband Todd after their trip to Colorado in March. While she quarantined with him, not knowing she too had the virus, Laurie walked around their property seven times each day for a total of 35 minutes.
    “That is the amount of time I used to walk with our neighbor ladies before COVID,” she said. “Todd and I started to walk around the Lake when he felt better, but it was too crowded.” So, the Smiths came up with a new, safe walking mission: to leave their footprints on every street in Orinda.
    “We started about the middle of April,” said Laurie. “We try to go three to four miles on weekdays and five to six miles on weekends. Our longest trek was 8.5 miles into town and back.”
    By the end of May, both Laurie and Todd couldn’t tell if they had allergies or were having a hard time breathing. After receiving the antibody test, it was confirmed both had been victims of COVID-19. They volunteered and have been giving plasma every 28 days since then. “It takes about two-and-a-half hours and we’re pretty tired afterward,” said Laurie.
    They continued walking, averaging three miles a day for the first 108 days. The Smiths walked 324 miles on both public and privately-maintained streets and carried an old paper map in case they got lost. “The map is so old, I’ve had to draw in some of our newer streets,” said Laurie.
    “I think the most interesting area was El Toyonal,” said Todd. “There are old cabins and new, modern large homes with such an interesting topography and nature’s foliage.”
    After saving Wilder for last, the next decision is whether to do an Orinda repeat or explore streets in a new community. “Since I get home from work around 6 p.m., we’ll probably walk close to home when it’s dark and take longer walks on the weekends,” said Todd.
    “Walking Orinda was a feeling of accomplishment during a time I wasn’t accomplishing much,” said Laurie. “Everyone we have met has been very nice.”

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