0719 PV Deborah Paul .jpeg

I worked so hard to lose a ton of weight, only to watch pounds creep back on because Sees, Fritos, Baskin Robbins Pralines and Cream, Cosco pizza, White Castles and Cheddar Cheese Popcornopolis don’t make “lite” products. 

Still, I decided to start a 6:30 a.m. routine of hiking two miles of trails around my neighborhood. 

After walking and loyally tracking my WW points for a week, I already dropped five pounds, which trumpets the amount of indulgence it takes to chase away the stay-at-home blues. 

But I’m so over that.

Sadly, my canine buddy can’t go, and my busy husband can be inconsistent.

My dog recently received a direct hit from a skunk and somehow injured her soon-to-be $3,000 (that’s right) repaired leg trying to make a get-away. Now she can’t go with me for awhile—at least not until she stops limping or all the greedy payments are met. 

Still, the fun thing about walking alone at 6:30 in the morning are the serendipitous adventures. 

On a recent morning, I walked past what was left of a rabbit. Whatever chomped it, gave the tiny mammal a swift death at the thigh with only two feet and the tail remaining intact. There was no other sign of a scuffle, nor was it messy. It almost looked like a cartoon prank laying there. 

Seeing something like that makes my mind wander. 

What wild pursuit happened in the sleeping hours of the night? The rabbit had to have met one of our German Shepard-size coyotes seen around the trails. Our canyon hawks and owls are more fastidious. They like to delicately devour piece by piece, but this poor little bunny had a clean break from the rest of its body and I’m pretty sure no one has spotted a cougar or bear in these parts for about a century. 

On a happier note, every other day, I don rubber gloves and carry a trash bag along the way, but passersby always seem to give a wide berth to that wet-Mission-masked kook in the Peruvian wide-brim hat scrounging for cigarette butts. 

Further up the trail, I’ve made the acquaintance of a frisky Great Dane puppy dying to say “hello” with a wag of his thick, sinewy tail and gargantuan paws that say, “Come to me; I want to knock you down because I love you sooo much.” 

I also stop for bunnies.

The other day I had a lovely conversation with three cottontails that seemed to be hanging on every word. Sadly, I jumped out of my own skin and scared them away after realizing another lady hiker had been quietly hanging 6-feet back from me on the secluded path watching the whole oddball show. 

I asked a passing gentleman walking his German Short hair if his dog was a good hunter. I got a better come back than I anticipated. 

The man told me his dog was a retired bomb sniffer given to him by his nephew who was a federal agent. He lifted the dog’s velvety, large left ear and showed me the identification tattoo indicating the canine was, in fact, a very special hero. 

I walk past strongly scented eucalyptus shavings, that according to Miraleste Parks and Rec, are available to anyone who wants to drag a pile home. Otherwise the mounds are dispersed by workers to give the trails a soft, cushy tread. 

One 5-foot-high mound had the markings of bicycle tracks going up and over the top. Seeing those marks reminded me of my own dirt bike days trying to keep up with the antics of my Flying Tiger motorcycle club buddies flying along desert trails and mountain roads. I was always the slowest, but then again, I still have all my teeth. 

Going on the hilly, 2-mile morning walk has other meanings for me.

On the day this column is published, at 1:21 p.m. I will turn 70. And by golly, I’d rather be hiking with all my many eccentricities than putting another coat of varnish on the old, stodgy rocking chair in the corner. 

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