My path to trail’s end is completed in one sense. I’ve moved (permanently!) and am no longer on that particular path of transition. But now I feel I am on the next path, which is toward the real end of my trail, so I think I can keep this blog’s name and keep on writing! I’m hoping for several more years on this new path.
One of my challenges here, is getting used to the altitude, and to the heat. I really don’t mind dry heat, but it’s slightly more humid than usual with the monsoon season about to start, and the sun is very intense. However, I am not in very good shape, and determined to improved that situation, so I am trying to walk at least 5-6 mornings a week.
I’m not a particularly early riser, so I get out around 8 or 9, when it’s already starting to get hot. Lucky for me, the first part of my walk is downhill, the only trick is finding the streets that do not have loose dogs wandering on them. I actually walk with two beautiful and sturdy walking sticks, made by a guy who sold them on the side of one of the roads between Bakersfield and Barstow. These help exercise my arms, but really are my deterrents for dogs. The street that I live on, and others parallel to it are mostly paved, the other ones in town are mostly gravel. I have found several streets where I have not met dogs, so I tend to stick to those. I do cause a lot of barking, however, with my walking. Not a lot of people walk around here, and the animals notice everyone who does.
I am often accompanied by little rabbits…the population is at a peak right now. They are unobtrusive and good companions, I like seeing them. There is quite a lot of diversity with the houses I see, from neat (almost sterile) places, to those cluttered with tires and trailers and kids’ toys and junk and everything in between. There are really old, abandoned adobe shacks, there are houses with comfortable porches, there are mobile homes, and places with goats or horses or donkeys. Sometimes fences enclose everything, either metal or wood or stucco walls, and on Main street there are some cute houses with actual trees in front of them. Other places have no greenery whatsoever. I love looking at everyone’s choices, whether they show TLC or neglect, I have no judgement whatsoever.
I’m working my stamina up to get to the post office, which is on the other end of town. I think I could probably get there now, but I’m not sure I could get back. It’s all uphill coming back, and by the time I get home, I’m panting pretty hard. Because I’m still not adjusted to the altitude, it feels like I just can’t get enough air. So I’ll build up to walking that far.
I really enjoy how everyone who passes me waves, and I often see someone to talk with for a few minutes. One day I went and introduced myself to the Marshall. Another, I met an acquaintance who talked to me about the pool situation in the nearby bigger town. And today I stopped in the Trading Post and talked with one of the owners, a wonderful jeweler, from whom I bought a turquoise bracelet the first year we were here. They are selling vegetables from their garden as a fundraiser for him to help keep his old farmhouse where he lives with his wife. Apparently, some relatives want it for a vacation spot. I’m waiting for the tomatoes and corn, my two indicators of summer!
My goal eventually, is to walk mornings and evenings, but I’m happy to start slow. I like the idea of being a benign presence in town, and apparently people have remembered seeing me other years when I did a little walking with my walking sticks. I am thrilled that just as it was when I lived in the bay area, I can walk to the library, the senior center, the thrift store, the dollar store, two cafes, and the bank. It’s a good life and I’m so thankful I made it here.