Take a hike…

My wife and I and our dog walk daily, usually a two-mile loop around neighboring pecan orchards, irrigation ditch roads and through our inviting neighborhood. We do it to get exercise following my heart operation a year ago and to keep our still rambunctious golden doodle, Chester, somewhat tired so he doesn’t get into as much mischief.

This morning, we deviated from our regular route and drove to New Mexico State University and walked a two-mile loop through the heart of the campus. For those of you thinking about where else you can walk to break the monotony of your routine, I highly recommend a slow stroll around your nearest college campus.

Like many of you, I’ve spent a lot of time on campus, going to meetings, taking an occasional class, attending an arts or entertainment event and watching sporting contests. But I usually just found a parking spot closest to where I was going, hurried in, did my business, then headed back to the car and left.

Besides the usual lush and inviting landscaping of a college campus, there’s lots to be discovered. There are hidden courtyards, murals, statues, memorials (some very tacky) to graduating classes or fraternal organizations and lots of plaques commemorating construction dates of buildings and donors who helped pay for them. Lots to learn and enjoy. Chester enjoyed the walk too, finding new and interesting scents everywhere.

Also surprising were the large number of abandoned bicycles chained to racks outside campus buildings, probably sadly hoping their owners would one day return to rescue them. Most of these had flat ties and many were missing wheels, seats, handlebars and other attachments. Rusting chains stained the sidewalks beneath the bikes, indicating than many had been there for a long time.

Whether it’s NMSU, the University of New Mexico, Western New Mexico, Eastern New Mexico, Highlands, New Mexico Tech or some other school with a large footprint, take a day away from your routine walk and explore these campuses.

There’s much talk about how these schools will operate going forward in the aftermath of COVID-19, when distance learning seems to be a go-to plan. After this morning’s walk, I hope that doesn’t diminish the value of on-campus learning experiences.

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