Sandy resident achieves goal of walking all the streets in the cityFeb 09, 2024 02:58PM ● By Peri Kinder
As Shannon Gibbons walked a street in Sandy, she’d mark it off with a pink highlighter. It took her more than two years to walk every road in the city. (Courtesy of Gibbons)
Shannon Gibbons didn’t realize what she’d gotten herself into. After reading a news article about a man who walked every street in Salt Lake City, Gibbons felt the urge to tackle that same challenge in Sandy.
It turned into a journey that took more than two-and-a-half years, but Gibbons finally completed the nearly 900-mile adventure in 2023.
“I didn’t know it would take as long as it did,” she said. “I didn’t realize how big Sandy was until I started [walking].”
Having lived in Sandy for 23 years, Gibbons thought she knew the area pretty well but was surprised to find parts of the city she’d never seen. Following a map of the city, she would mark off each walked street with a pink highlighter. Her self-imposed rule was that she had to walk every part of the street, every cul-de-sac, every dead end, without cutting corners.
Two knee surgeries, trouble with her Achilles tendon and extreme temperatures slowed her down a bit but didn’t throw her off track.
“I would go three to five miles at a time,” she said. “I’d get a sense of the neighborhood and get sucked in until I’d finish that whole section. I’d just keep going. I walked a lot more because I did a lot of backtracking, walking to the end of each street.”
When her partner Linda Wilson retired, she joined Gibbons for the last half of the challenge. They looked forward to the walks because they never knew what they were going to discover. From the mansions above Wasatch Boulevard to the Historic Sandy bungalows, Gibbons enjoyed the diverse architecture that makes the city unique.
Often, the roads were steep and winding, but that added to the challenge, and she said the views never got old. “The peaks of the Wasatch were always looming above, changing with the seasons.”
Her journey took her through quiet neighborhoods and down loud busy streets. She enjoyed seeing beautiful gardens and creative holiday decorations. Along with meeting neighborhood dogs and cats, she also found donkeys, peacocks, horses, goats and even a few alpacas.
“I just really enjoyed the nature part of it, like looking at people’s yards and seeing the landscaping and flowers, and then the mountains were just so close,” she said. “It was a pretty good workout. I would just listen to music and get into it.”
She also found funny signs, bizarre statues and homemade mailboxes, like the one made from an old 1980s microwave or the tribute to E.T.. Along the way, she took photos of everything she encountered and made a book to remind her of her adventures.
At the end of her journey, it was a bittersweet feeling as she marked the last road off in pink highlighter. She’s already looking toward Cottonwood Heights as her next potential walkabout and challenges others to get out and explore their cities.
“Just do it one day at a time. It seems overwhelming in the beginning, but if you just focus on one section at a time, and keep at it, you’ll do it.” λ