Walking It Off

imageNo, I don’t mean the pounds but that would be nice. What I’m referring to is the opportunity here to bask in the sunshine of a cloudless blue sky and just take off walking. Walking clears away the cobwebs in my head that keep me stuck from enjoying the now. Back in Cincinnati I walked 5 miles at Veterans’ Park by circling the track 10 times. In Lake Elsinore I set my phone for 45 minutes and after the alarm sounds I turn around and head back home.

One of my favorite walks is the Riverwalk along the spillway of the Temescal Wash. It is 2.75 miles one way starting from the end of the lake’s downtown shoreline to its dead- end on Riverside Drive near the intersection with Collier Avenue. What goes out must come back, so it’s a nice 5.5 mile walk along the overflow channel where the water is recycled for irrigating land. Today I invite you to come along with me on one of my morning walks, so, let’s get moving!

I begin at the boat launch parking lot at the end of Lakeshore Drive. You can hear water rushing as it ripples and flows here into the lake.

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After crossing the street it gets even prettier. There are benches and trees and lamp posts that light up the night.

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City banners celebrating 125 years of the community proudly display the city’s motto, Dream Extreme.

To the right is the spillway covered with rushes resting in water.

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Egrets skim the water’s surface and usually fly off before I can grab my phone to take a picture. Today I am lucky!

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Soon I-15 appears in the distance. The first picture gives you the full perspective from my iPhone. The second zooms in for a more accurate view.

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Whiffs of strong funky smells start to invade my nostrils. (Sometimes I smell this at our RV site too. At first I thought it was the sewer hose connection, but we don’t connect until we dump. Sometimes I am greeted by this same aroma on my other walks on city streets.) It’s the monster gas released by the swamp nutrients! Ah, stop and smell the foul odor!

Here’s the pink barrel, my half-wayish marker toward the first 2.75 miles. That was easy now, wasn’t it?

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The first time I walked here, a giant weed wacker machine blocked the paved trail hacking off the reeds in the spillway. I waved to the public works’ operator and he waved back. Since then, we wave like old friends every time our paths cross!

I cross the last road onto the final segment of the 2.75 Riverwalk. First, there is a warning sign advising walkers to be aware of wildlife spotted in the area. So far, so good!

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The following spot is the place where I usually encounter twosomes and threesomes walking toward me. Since they are wearing lanyards with ID badges, I surmise that they work in the building next door to the path, are walking on their break, and are now heading back to work. I wonder how far out they go. Sometimes I see a couple walking ahead of me only to turn back before I catch up.

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Today the giant weed whacker machine appears near the end of the Riverwalk. He pauses his equipment, we exchange waves and I trot by.

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Finally, I reach the end of the trail at Riverside Drive… A chain link fence and a dead-end. Cars speed by and ducks waddle in the mucky green waters of the Temescal Wash.

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And now it’s time to turn around!

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On the way back I notice and feel things I missed before. There are so many different shades of blue and green and brown. The sunshine catches the colors of the freeway cars and trucks and makes them sparkle. The shadows provide relief and a soft contrast. The mountains encircle me providing protection and inspiration. Stand tall. Be strong. Be awesome for just being.

A great blue heron that was hiding in the rushes, lifts its wings and lands on the dug-out slope.

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Male mallards always seem to be paired with a female. Even the smell from the organic nutrients becomes less offensive.

The sun lends its warmth and brilliance and I feel rejuvenated. Believe it or not, for those of you who know how much I sweat, the dry heat just makes my eyes and the back of my neck perspire. I don’t look like I just fell into a swimming pool!

Once again the pink barrel reminds me that I am only 20 – 25 minutes away from the beginning of the trail. Going back always seems faster.

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I notice how many “No Swimming” and “No Fishing” signs are posted, some even in Spanish, and I wonder who would even consider doing either of these in these brackish shallow waters.

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However, to my surprise, one day I saw a man fishing and another man playing with his young daughter near the edge of the water on the steep slope! This picture shows where.

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Soon the gentrified part of the walk returns with its benches, lamp posts, and planted trees. The tarred gravel path is replaced with symmetrical blocks of concrete.

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And here I am  once again, approaching the boat launch parking lot where I parked my car.

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The cobwebs in my head have been swept away.  I feel refreshed, renewed, and grateful for each moment. And I hope you do too!

2 thoughts on “Walking It Off

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