Seeing with Feet


One day in December 14 years ago Molly O’Dog and I hiked a marathon. We didn’t set out to hike a marathon, but the day was so beautiful, and the sky such a dark blue and the light so silvery that we kept going just to see what all our favorite places in the Laguna Mountains would look like. At the end of the hike I was footsore and starving. Molly didn’t say anything about her feet, but she was hungry, too. Fortunately on the trail was a good well so we hadn’t had to worry about water. Some of our route was on the Pacific Crest Trail; some on one of Southern California’s premier mountain bike trails. But in December, strangely, fewer people headed to the hills.


Molly O’Dog

Time was a hike was 6 to 12 miles at 4 mph (lots of running) fun ups and down. It was great, but now a hike is another thing. No running, few ups and downs and a lot less distance.


It made me rethink what exactly it means to hike.

That marathon hike was all about seeing the world. Every hike is about seeing the world. Now my hikes are a mile or two. My main hard exercise is on my Airdyne because I have arthritis (could it have been caused and/or exacerbated by years of hiking and running hills? Bah!) and would rather not suffer. Usually, after that, Dusty, Bear and I head out to a slough beside the Rio Grande and do a mile or two. It’s a Wildlife Refuge, the trails are mowed. It’s flat. We’re slow because we’re looking at everything. Light on trees is absolutely amazing. The sound of the river beside us, a chance to see a Blue Heron take wing, redtail hawks, and here, at various seasons, Sandhill Cranes and white pelicans.


Rio Grande

Hunting season starts in a few weeks and that will make hiking there a little different (orange clothing?) but I imagine in deep winter it will be OK. Meantime, the golf course will close soon. Yeah; a golf course in this place is a hike, too. The north edge backs up to the back of beyond.


4 thoughts on “Seeing with Feet

  1. Hunting season has already started here and there’s a gun club not far away. I hear the shooting every evening. I always worry about stray bullets. Orange clothing has never stopped a bullet. We used to take long walks, but these days, I really can’t. Garry has slowed down too. Arthritis seems to be part of life for pretty much everything that has bones. It’s worse for those of us who were once athletic and much worse for areas that were broken or otherwise injured. But what’s the alternative? Never do anything?

    • My friend who works for State Wildlife advised that I wait until after the first month or so of waterfowl season to go hiking there. That’s OK. It’s not like there are lots of other places and I’ve learned that the dogs do not see any difference between a mile in the neighborhood on sidewalks and a hike in nature. Dogs are better than us, I think. Even with the arthritis thing. For the first year here, Mindy always wanted to go on a walk, now she might go out the back door when I’m heading out, but that’s it. She doesn’t seem angry or resentful about it. And, back in the day, if I went without her, she would get into the kitchen trash. Now, she doesn’t. That “sentence” is no longer in her “vocabulary.” And, she’s still the happy sweet joyful creature she has always been. Best of all, when I go out to ride the stationary bike (which is currently outside) she comes with me and she lies down beside the bike while I ride. I think she’s heroic. ❤

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