One of my favorite parts of a walk (aside from the obvious—cats and squirrels) is walls. There’s something so comforting about scootching your shoulder and flank against a good wall and sliding along it. It protects you, it supports you, and it can be like a gently scratching massage. Like someone petting you or lightly brushing your coat. They are my outdoor spas.
There are three things to consider when judging a wall: Duration, Texture, and Accessibility.
Let’s start with Duration. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as a good, long wall. The longer the wall, the better the experience. A good stretch of wall can put me in my zone—and keep me there.
Texture. Perfect texture is important. It has to be just rough enough to give me that grooming feel, but not so rough as to slow me down or scratch me. Contractors in Southern California, take note: The newer, smoother stucco textures are far inferior to the old-fashioned, nubbly ones. Think twice before using them. You will be giving some wall-seeking dog an inferior experience
Finally, we come to accessibility. You have to be able to get to the wall. Unnecessary ornamentation, shrubs, or foundation plantings will totally ruin what could have been a perfectly good wall.
Now, let’s rate some walls.
This wall gets an A-. Length—excellent. It extends even farther than the picture shows. Accessibility—excellent. Nothing to obstruct a long clean run. Texture—here is the only problem. Too smooth. I need a little more friction to get the perfect wall experience. But nice try.
This wall gets a C. Texture is fine, accessibility is good. Where it falls down is duration– much too short to give a good experience.
The above wall gets a D+. It has excellent texture and good duration. But the accessibility—tsk, tsk. Those vertical faux buttresses, or pilasters, or whatever you want to call them, are a disaster. Not satisfying to skim along at all. And it’s all the more disappointing because without them, this wall would get an A+. Get your act together, people.
This wall gets an F for its lack of accessibility. Just look at those bushes. Why, you can’t even get to the wall. I’m so disgusted that I can’t even look at it. That’s the price you pay for foundation plantings. F. Every time. You are warned.
As you can see in the photo above, this all applies only to walls on my left side. Only the left side feels good and safe and protective. Walls on my right side are dead to me. Dead. To. Me. They are useless. I don’t see why people even bother to put them up.
Addenda: One final note. Some walls have an added benefit. If they’re just the right height, I can hop up onto them. And then I’m taller than my packmate Blitz. Who thinks he’s so special just because he can rest his chin on my shoulders. Well, I’m cute, Blitz. I don’t need to be tall. So, there! But when I am taller than you, then neener, neener. So there, again!
Ta for now,