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.
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?