April 11, 2013 | Volume 118, Issue No. 15

Interesting walks around the block

Wick's World

I am a walker and I love my pedometers. Buy me a pedometer for Christmas or my birthday and you cannot go wrong. I will never have too many. A pedometer gives me an incentive to walk as it accumulates the number of steps you log per day. Approximately every 2,000 steps equals one mile. If you have a competitive personality like I do, the pedometer offers a challenge and is a useful tool on the road to health.

When I began my rehabilitation following heart surgery, I was placed on a treadmill and walked for 15 minutes at the rate of one mph. It seemed like I was barely crawling, but that really was all I could handle. Two months later, I am on the treadmill speeding along at four mph for 20 minutes. I follow this with a five mile walk around the block. When I first began rehabilitation, the five-mile walks took almost four hours to accomplish. Yesterday, I did the trip in less than two hours — a very satisfying accomplishment.

Now that spring has finally arrived (at least in Eagan) I find my walks taking much more time. How could this be, you ask? The simple answer: The snow is gone, revealing all sorts of goodies along the trail. Yesterday’s find included a pedometer.

In the last two weeks I have found a penny, a nickel, two dimes and a quarter. Can you guess the most prolific product lying buried in the snow? Take a short walk and the answer will become immediately obvious. It is anything plastic, especially bottles and bags. Plastic cigarette lighters can be found alongside empty cigarette packs and way too many cigarette butts.

I could not understand why so many smokers tossed their butts out at stoplights. One day it became clear to me. Many smokers have "type A" personalities and always feel a need to be doing something with their hands or mouth. As I noticed that these piles of cigarette butts littering the corner near the stoplight were all the same brand, it dawned on me that people were emptying their ashtrays while waiting for the light to turn green.

One day lying there in a discarded pile of butts, a car key stood out. Some unlucky cigarette-smoking litterer had thrown out their spare key when they emptied the ashtray. My first reaction was that they deserved it. I briefly thought it over and gave the owner a chance at recovering the key. Lord knows how many keys I have lost over a lifetime and sometimes it would have been quite valuable to have it returned.

This is way too large of a city to place a lost and found ad, like I could do in the Moose Lake Star Gazette, so I came up with a different idea for this key. I propped it up on the three-foot high base of the street pole that abutted the stoplight. The key was just about eye level for any passing driver and I figured there might be an outside chance that its owner would spot it. I’ll never know if that happened or not, but sure enough, the key was gone the very next day.

I found plenty of tossed liquor bottles. Almost all of them contained vodka, the hardest liquor to detect on one’s breath, therefore, the choice alcohol for the "drinking and driving" crowd.

I found a pair of men’s underwear the other day, blue BVDs, size 42-44. They were too large for me, so I put them back where I found them. If you give this some thought, how would a guy lose his underwear near the freeway?

What was the strangest thing I have seen along I-35E and Cliff Road? One morning just after crossing the bridge on the freeway overpass, I decided to take the shortcut down the hill to the Target store. This trail passes through a small set of woods that abut the Target parking lot. Just before I stepped onto the blacktop where the customers park, I walked right smack into a brush wolf. We couldn’t have been more than 10 feet apart. We momentarily stared into each other’s eyes. I slowly walked onto the blacktop and Wiley Coyote slowly walked away.

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