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To complement the roundup of “hikes in your own backyard” in the March issue of Desert Companion, here are some exciting hikes a little closer to home — my home, that is. Hikes in my own backyard.

 

1. TO THE GRILL

Distance: 16 feet

Degree of difficulty: Moderate; you have to swerve around a small bush, and be advised that one of the paving stones sticks up a little. Exercise appropriate trail caution.

Highlights: A Shih-Tzu, native to the area, described by many hikers as “adorbs.” Also, “kinda barky, though.” The grill is fairly new, as well, though the propane tank needs filling.

Obstacles: An ancient natural formation called “Ol’ Busted Sprinkler,” which is an old busted sprinkler; it sometimes creates a slipping hazard, particularly when you’re carrying a tray of burgers, and when you slip and drop them, you have to hear a chorus of “Way to go, Dad.” Guidebooks suggest caution.

 

2. TO THE UMBRELLA TABLE

Distance: 20 feet

Degree of difficulty: Easy, unless someone leaves a &#%*! rake on the ground, like they did yesterday just before my trip to the emergency room.

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Highlights: Some kind of tree the landscaper planted. An abandoned toy bike. A ball the neighborhood kids threw over the fence but didn’t bother to retrieve, the little jerks.

Obstacles: Sure, the guidebooks might warn you that Shih-Tzus poop a lot, but what they won’t tell you is that my kids can be awfully lazy about picking it up as often as I tell ’em too. Appropriate footwear suggested.

 

3. TO THE ROSE BUSH (OR WHATEVER THAT PRETTY FLOWERY PLANT IS)

Distance: 23 feet

Degree of difficulty: Moderate to difficult — only experienced, properly outfitted hikers should attempt such distances. Also, watch out for that little concrete curb that surrounds the patch of grass.

Highlights: The grass is really coming in nicely this year, except where Ol’ Busted Sprinkler shoots right over it. And the rose bush, or whatever it is, smells nice.

Obstacles: Nothing too — ouch! When did we get ANOTHER &#%*! rake?

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