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There is hiking and there is hiking

Today I tried out a trail I had not tried before. I discovered it on the Paso Robles city website, where a nice little pamphlet is available to download, that includes a map of trails citywide. I had been on only one of them. Many are just little paths inside parks, but there are others that look more promising. I chose one of those.

It is called the Watertank Loop and it starts at the intersection of Creston Road and Golden Hill Road and is described as "Just under 2 mile paved loop trail". It looked easy to get to but when I got to the intersection I did not find any trail signs. I drove the trail, as it happens, discovering that it is entirely a sidewalk, although the sidewalk in some places rises and falls away from the street. The best place to park is inside a shopping center at that intersection, so that's where I parked.

As I walked the path, nursing hip pain unfortunately, I was reminded of Einstein's theory of relativity. There is no doubt that this path taken at a walking pace (in my case, about two miles per hour) is not the same place as this path taken in the car. So yes, time is the fourth dimension. It isn't fair to describe a path that you haven't taken on foot for this reason.

It's a good path for runners and even for cyclists. Not much of a path for nature lovers like me. But I was okay with it simply because it was new to me. I enjoyed a large oak that was clearly protected by a rock wall on three sides and no building nearby. I saw a little bird that didn't look right - it let me pet it. It was moulting, I think, probably could not fly. I worried about it but decided to let nature take its course, whatever that might be.

I felt the sun on my body - I didn't even think of the vitamin D that I was getting! but yay! I also saw a tiny bit of nature on the corner of the shopping center, where a large drainage pipe cut under the road and where water was allowed to sit sometimes.

The path surrounds a relatively new housing subdivision. Across one street I could see hills so far undeveloped, and across another I saw older homes with farm implements and steep driveways and I guessed that the folks in those homes thought they were in the country...until recently.

My reward was the Subway sandwich (veggie, of course) that I had when I got through. Very convenient, right there in that shopping center near my car. It's unlikely I'll do this route again but I will write about it on the Sierra Club trails site: http://connect.sierraclub.org/community/trails.htm I have added sixteen trails here already and hope to add many more. Eventually others will find these trails and be glad I took the time. That's all I want.


Judith Lautner
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January 2012


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