Maxed Out 

A sign and a light

One of the duties and pleasures of being owned by Zippy the Dog is the need – requirement – to take him for walks. Zippy’s a Lab and a reasonably smart dog. He’s not smart enough to sniff someone out of an avalanche or keep them from wandering out into traffic but he’s smart enough to make me go to work while he stays home and sleeps on the couch.

I often wonder just how smart he’d be if the 70 per cent of his brain dedicated to food and the 25 per cent dedicated to walks could be magically rewired to perform higher functions. I’m pretty sure I’d have to hide the car keys and chequebook.

From our place in Alpine, we have quite a few choices of where to walk. We can scramble down the berm keeping 19 Mile Creek from washing away that scandalous, transient housing project the Alta Lake Hatepayers fought so hard against. From there, we can pick up the Valley Trail across the highway. We can go north in good months, south in all months or meander through the trails around Edgewater and have a swim in Green Lake.

Or we can stay on the west side of the highway and follow the Valley Trail to Meadow Park, swim in the River of Golden Dreams, throw the ball at the fields and choose from various options there.

We can hike up Alpine Way to its end and take a beautiful trail over and down to Westside Road, stopping to admire the view of the valley from its apex. Or we can head up towards the waterworks and proceed to the Flank Trail or even make the long trek all the way to Emerald if we really want to make a day of it.

We can walk to the end of Valley Drive, strap on snowshoes – me, not Zippy – and enjoy(?) a gruelling grind up past the other waterworks and up and up and up to… well, we’ve never actually found out how far that trail goes.

Or we can follow the labyrinthine trails straight off the end of Valley Drive. There’s quite a network of trails in there that wind through the forest and, again if one perseveres, take you all the way to Emerald.

But there’s a new sign at the start to those trails. It’s a homemade sign encased in plastic and stapled to a stake. It advises people that the trails they’re about to tramp are in danger of being lost forever. It hints of a nefarious plot, of wool pulled over the eyes of unsuspecting homeowners by the municipality and urges the reader to take heart, it’s not too late to let the scoundrels know yer agin’ it.

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