#351–My daily walk . . .

Walking the dog

When you have a dog, you walk it on a leash—at least most people do nowadays. Growing up, we just opened the door and let our dog, Rusty, out to roam the area—it was out of town. We would roam the area and hills as well, and Rusty would be with us, but we never used a leash.

Asa was a happy dog on his walks––even in the rain.
–Illustration by Karen D. Nichols

For about 10 years, I had a Standard Poodle, Asa, that I walked twice a day on a leash. We covered at least a half mile in the mornings before I went to work and more in the evenings when I got home. And we went much farther on the weekends; we’d go off-road, and he’d be off leash. We walked regardless of the weather—rain, snow, howling wind. So, I got my exercise.

After he was gone in 2002, I walked only on the weekends. Over the years, it got so that I only walked occasionally. Then when one of my knees caused one leg to become increasingly kinked a few years ago, I quit going for walks. It was too difficult and painful.

Another reason to walk

This past year, with my various varicose vein surgeries and procedures, it’s been a requirement of healing to walk at least a half hour every day for two weeks after each procedure. The main reason is to prevent blood clots from forming. This time around, my last procedure was two weeks ago and the last day I’m required to walk was yesterday. But I’m going to continue.

Going up the hill is smooth, lovely, across the front of my house and continuing around the loop is a much rougher road.

Walking routes

Where I live, I have some choices, but they all involve a certain amount of uphill and downhill. I can go up and up the big hill or down, down to Collard Lake Road, or around the loop, which has the least uphill and down. The road going up the hill is smooth and lovely for walking as is the road going downhill––Collard Lake Road. It was paved by the county.

The folks living along the roads going up the big hill or around the loop had to pay for any improvements themselves. There were decades of fighting with the county before Collard Lake Road got paved, but the roads leading off of it were not.

So, the property owners along each road determined the exact amount of improvement they were willing to pay for. Those living around the loop only agreed upon 1/10th as much as the property owners up the hill. And you get what you pay for. The road around the loop has never been totally paved. It’s been graveled and oiled numerous times and had a major patch job some years ago. Now it needs work again. So, when I walk, I use a walking stick. And it is very much needed.

This tree seems much bigger than I remembered!

Reasons to continue my walks

First of all, my health. I feel better and each day I can go a little farther up the hill. I also try to go around the loop. As I get in better shape, it improves my self-image. I don’t feel like such an old lady!

Second, reconnect with and meet new neighbors. I’ve lived here for 37 years and before that owned property here since 1980. So, I used to know everyone who lived in the whole area. But in the past 10 years or so as people have moved away or died and new folks moved in, I only know some of the people. I’m really enjoying becoming reacquainted with those who’ve been around awhile and meeting new folks.

Asa was very curious and very lucky. A most tolerant porcupine! —Illustration by Karen D. Nichols

Third, reconnect with nature. I’m enjoying the trees that have grown so much and the deer. I used to walk all over off the road exploring areas with my dog off leash, and we saw all kinds of critters. Most memorable were the baby coyote waddling out of its den to check us out, the world’s most tolerant porcupine that allowed Asa to follow him, the numerous bears we spotted and tried to avoid, the face-off with a buck who blocked our way forward, and the pack of coyotes that followed us home in such heavy fog, we could only hear them. And before that there were walks I went on with birding groups and my late husband prior to his passing in 2001. I’ve simply gotten so busy, I’ve lost touch with nature. Now, I ‘m re-acquainting myself with the birds and other wildlife of the area.

So tasty! Yum!

And last, pick blackberries. This time of year, on the bottom of the loop, there are wild Himalayan blackberries ripening. I can’t just walk on by; I stop and pick my fill. They are so tasty but have very large seeds that I don’t like. Since I’m usually by myself, I have no qualms at all about spitting them out.

There you have it, my reasons to get back to my daily walk.

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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1 Response to #351–My daily walk . . .

  1. Evelyne Carson says:

    Lovely blogpost! Your walks are so good for you in so many regards!

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