For the past few weeks, Laddy and I have been walking a half mile from the RV Park to the street that runs parallel to the beach. We follow the street another half a mile until it dead ends at the dry Morro Creek, where we turn into a large dirt parking lot and follow a sandy trail down to the beach.
I’ve watched people walk across planks over the dry creek and up to a dirt road on the other side and I wondered where the road led. But I was afraid it would be too far for me or Laddy to walk all the way from the RV.
So this morning, the four of us got in Marika’s car and drove to the dirt parking lot and began our walk down into the creek bed, across the wooden planks and up onto the other side, heading south.
Marika is a slower walker than me and she likes to bird while she walks, stopping often to scan the brush for sparrows and warblers. Mabel is happy to stop and sniff around. I am more interested in keeping a steady pace, getting a little cardiac workout, and Laddy tends to get impatient if we stand still for too long.
Often, this difference makes me resentful that I have to walk at her pace and then I feel bad that I’m not willing to just be with her as she is.
But today I was able to accept each of our ways as good for who we are. I took Laddy and Marika took Mabel and we agreed to meet at the end of the road.
It was only about a quarter of a mile walk to the end of the dirt road and we were greeted by the sight of water and fishing boats and a relatively new bike and pedestrian path that leads from the north end of the busy Embarcadero out to Morro Rock.
The morning was still draped in fog, the Rock half hidden under a blanket of gray. Laddy sniffed the bright green pickleweed as I sat on a bench perched on a small hill overlooking the bay and the boats, happily waiting at the fork in the road for Marika and Mabel to join us.
Marika wanted to continue on the pedestrian path toward the rock so she could watch for otters and birds. I wanted to explore the docks. Again, there was a moment where I thought we should stay together, but we easily agreed to go in our preferred directions.
Laddy and I walked along the Harbor Patrol offices where a giant sign welcomes boaters to Morro Bay, a state and national estuary. People stopped, as usual, to comment on Laddy’s size, his beautiful coat, his unusual pedigree. “He’s a little something tall, something gentle and something smart,” I always say.
We walked along the docks where fishing boats would return later in the day and unload their fresh catches. Laddy smelled the white spots of bird poop on the wooden planks and I breathed in the cool, damp bay air, both of us utterly happy. At the end of the dock we turned around and headed back onto the sidewalk, intending to walk further along the Embarcadero.
But the sidewalk ended and too many trucks were moving in and out of the roadway so we turned back toward the pedestrian path, then took a detour down into a small sandy inlet where the water gently curled onto the short beach. Laddy found a stick and carried it back up to the walkway as we headed back toward our meeting point.
I sat on a bench watching the gulls bobbing on the water, the mist rising around the base of the rock. Laddy laid down near my feet, panting, sniffing, watching people walk by.
We met up with Marika and Mabel, then headed back along the road at our own pace, across the planks, to the car. The dogs were tired, thirsty and happy. We all were.