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Walking along the Tempe Canal in 1982

Walk with me. Today it's 1982 and we're going to walk along the Tempe Canal near Apache and Price. We will go from Tempe to Mesa.

In this blog I usually use my imagination to time-travel, but this time I'm going to use my memory. I walked there often during my last year of going to ASU, living in a converted garage on Wildermuth Road as a "starving student".

The first thing we'll need to do is to get the dogs. I don't have a dog, but I have an agreement with my neighbor that I can borrow his dogs anytime I want to. They're big dogs, and they love to run. There's a huge open field across from Wildermuth, and that's where we go, all of the way to the railroad tracks.

I suppose, if you want to get picky, that we're breaking a couple of laws. The dogs are off-leash, and we're walking on the railroad tracks. In the 21st Century, this would be unthinkable, but in in 1982 it was common. The two dogs, by the way, both of which are German Shepherds, are named Kona and Kamaya. My neighbor has a fascination for Hawaii.


Kona is an old dog, but does his best to keep up. Kamaya is a young and very strong dog, and loves to chase after the rocks that I throw. She is very fussy about which rocks to run after, they have to be the black ones, never the lighter-colored ones. I'm throwing them along the railroad tracks. We can see for miles in both directions, and there's no train now, although the track is still in regular use.

There's the canal. To give you some idea how empty this area is, there are bee hutches (you know, the kind that farmers use) on the east side of the canal, by the railroad bridge. The photo I found of this area in the 1980s shows apartments, but they weren't there at the time I walked with the dogs, just bees. Let's walk along the west bank of the  canal now, going north.


The dogs are well-behaved, and Kamaya even jumps into the canal and swims. I've never seen that dog tired - even after swimming, she jumps out and runs like a rocket. She must love this, as most of the time she spends in that tiny little yard, locked up with barely room to move.

Look! Horses! The horses at the farm walk up to say hello. The dogs bark, and say "Wow, those are the biggest dogs I've ever seen!" The farm goes from the railroad tracks to Apache, where we turn around and walk home.

Just before we get home the dogs enjoy a nice mud bath in the open lateral along Wildermuth. Mud dogs! It cools them off a bit, and gives them that wonderful aroma that dogs love, mud and whatever has died in the lateral. Then it's time to put the dogs back in their yard and maybe get back to doing my homework.

Thanks for walking along the canal with me, and the dogs!

Image at the top of this post: The Tempe Canal in the 1980s, south of Apache, east of Price. The silos are still there, by the railroad tracks, near Broadway. The bees, and the farm, are gone.

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