DESERT NOTEBOOK: Consigned to blister watch


Our full length, first floor glass door looks out on the waves of walkers, runners and bikers.

It’s a kaleidoscope of color dominated by the neon yellows, oranges, greens, pinks and purples of the biking faithful, interspersed with their supporting blacks. The runners are no color slouches, either.

The walkers? Anything goes.

And I mean anything. Young and old. Big and small. Singles, doubles and groups. Moms with baby strollers. Kids with scooters. Grandpas with walking sticks and, I swear it, an occasional grandma on one of those supermarket powered ride-arounds. Dogs, too. Lots of them, all on leashes.

Oro Valley, just north of Tucson, is on the move.

No wonder. The 60-mile-long paved Oro Valley Walking and Biking Trail is a statement investment in egalitarian outdoor recreation by the community of Oro Valley. It just happens to loop past our winter apartment.

Out the door I went and joined the parade on Day One. From a pre-dawn hike to get the morning newspaper to a longer jaunt in the mid-day warmth, I couldn’t get enough. More of the same on Day Two. I was really into it.

And then I was sidelined before Day Three.

Inside that right shoe, I managed to develop a beauty of a friction blister on the ball of my foot. A week later, I’ve been to an urgent care clinic and come away with pages of blister care advice. But if anything, the blister has enlarged.

The trail still hums with activity, but I’m just an onlooker.

There is discovery in the odyssey, however. I have a right foot (the culprit) that is slightly larger than the left. Responding to an ad in the Tucson daily paper, I went to a running shop which promised to provide a proper fitting with the sale of its shoes. True to its word, I have a new pair of shoes with an engineered fit, and I’m ready for the road again.

How many days do we have left in Arizona?