No, I’m not speaking about people on the trails (although I’ve seen some that would fit that description). I’m referring to real turds. Big fat ones. Very large, very gross, smelly turds. Some of them are so big as to make you wonder just what sort of animal made such a thing. They also make me wonder what sort of humans might have failed to remove them.
I use the Fort Wayne trails quite a bit. I walk, run, and cycle on them, and so I see lots of things. Once, I encountered a kid riding a moped. He was zipping along toward me as I was riding my bicycle. When I realized what I was seeing, I got angry. So angry, in fact, that when the kid got to within maybe 50 feet of me, I shook my finger at him and agitatedly pointed in the direction of the street (where he should have been with his moped). Plus I gave him the stinkeye. The kid was so shocked at my reaction that he started wobbling on the machine. I looked behind me as he went past and luckily for both of us he was able to get the thing under control. I’m sorry, kid, but MOTORIZED VEHICLES ARE NOT ALLOWED!
I live near the trailhead on Engle Road, just east of Jefferson Blvd. A few months ago, over a period of several weeks and on several occasions, someone drove a truck filled with Segways into the trailhead parking lot. The Segways were distributed to people who had met there (a dozen or more) and, en masse, they attacked the trail. One of my neighbors reported seeing a woman on one of the Segways cross Engle Road and crash into a block wall adjacent to the trail on the south side of the road. These idiots were using the trail to learn how to ride the Segways. Come on, people. MOTORIZED VEHICLES ARE NOT ALLOWED!
And, of course, there are always those trail users who refuse to abide by the most basic rules of courtesy. Cyclists, for example, zipping past walkers and joggers with nary a warning. A cyclist can scare the bejesus out of a walker or jogger who’s reveling in the solitude and quietude of the trail. “On the left,” is a phrase all too often used only to describe Bernie Sanders. Using it on the trail when you’re passing someone, either mounted or on foot, is always appreciated by those who are passed. WARN SOMEONE WHEN YOU’RE PASSING! It doesn’t take much effort and it could keep someone from retaliating. Occasionally, you’ll see someone walking or running whose earbuds are blasting such loud sound into their ears that they cannot hear you approaching. This is particularly annoying when there are several earbud people side-by-side who are taking up an inordinate amount of space and who don’t hear your warning, making passing difficult. If this happens, it’s OK to scream as loud as you can, “GET OUT OF THE WAY!” Works every time.
Another example of rude behavior is leaving refuse on or along the trail. I’ve seen soiled baby diapers, bandages, cigarettes, plastic bags with stuff inside, various forms of leftover food, and pregnancy testers. NO LITTERING ON THE TRAILS!
Now, back to the turds.
I’ve been seeing them with greater frequency. They are ON the trail itself. The ones I’m referring to are very large, obviously not the product of a small rodent or cat, although I see plenty of those too. The very large ones could possibly be the droppings of coyotes, but it’s hard to imagine coyotes spending a lot of time on the trails. Enough time, that is, to leave very large turds in great abundance.
I suspect that these large turds are left by dogs that are on leashes held by people. If that’s the case, don’t the dogs’ owners understand what the dogs are doing when they stop suddenly, go into the squat position, lift their tails, and open their sphincters? Wait, I can understand how this could happen. If the owner is on a cellphone, yakking away incessantly, super-engrossed in the conversation and therefore completely oblivious to the world around them, then, yes, I can imagine that the dog could do something that would go undetected. Come on, people. IF YOUR DOG SHITS ON THE TRAIL, MOVE THE TURD! Of course, the best place to move it is into a plastic bag that you have brought along for the express purpose of keeping your dogs’ shit out of the way of thousands of trail users. But if you don’t have a bag, and don’t wish to drop a turd into your pocket, think of something else. If you can’t think of anything, here’s an idea: Just take a twig (there are millions of them on the trails), bend over, and push the turd off the trail onto the grass. At least that way, when I’m jogging away and admiring the view in one direction or another, I won’t plop onto the turd with my Adidas’s and end up answering to Mrs. Weaver about brown smudges on the carpet and a foul smell in the house.
So, please, IF YOUR DOG SHITS ON THE TRAIL, DO THE NEIGHBORLY THING AND REMOVE IT!