There’s no better thing to do with your sweetie than take a hike, and no better place to go than Neptune. Friday, Feb. 17, Laura Blatt’s regular hiking group was planni9ng to take on Sugarloaf’s Planet Walk, the true-to-scale open-air model of our Solar System. But rains, winds and winds forced Blatt to reschedule for a new date, Friday March 17.

"Let's hope for sunnier weather," said Blatt. "See you soon on the trails."

Most people find it difficult to visualize just how small the planets are compared to the immensity of the sun, or to imagine the vast spaces between the planets. Planet Walk is designed to communicate these spatial relationships with this scale model of the solar system, 2.36-billion times smaller than the real thing, arrayed along a series of connected hiking trails at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

Planet Walk is a 4.5-mile roundtrip hike, from the sign representing the sun (not to scale) near the Robert Ferguson Observatory to the distant orbit of Pluto (now reclassified as a “dwarf planet”), far up the Brushy Peaks Trail. There are nine informative trail signs along the path, with information about the planet and the Planet Walk project.

The group will follow Creekside, Hillside, and Brushy Peak trails, stopping for snacks just beyond the Neptune marker. Total distance is 5 to 6 miles, with an elevation gain of 700 feet. This moderate hike should take about three-and-a-half hours, including a finishing group lunch at the picnic area across from the parking lot.

Hikers will leave from the main parking area (past the kiosk and to the left) at 10 a.m. Bring water, a snack, and lunch. The hike is free, though parking at Sugarloaf is $8 per vehicle. For more information email laurahikes@yahoo.com.