Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
Clairemont Mesa Blvd. is a massive street that runs East to West in Northern San Diego. It comes into the 'burbs of Tierrasanta and meanders its way along past Vista Grande Elementary school. While the school grounds are hidden from the road by a steeply sloped natural area there is one clue as to the existence of the grounds. A monstrosity of a staircase juts straight up the slope and ends at the backside of the chain link fence that marks out the grounds. Essentially a "Stairway to Nowhere". The steps are not used by students anymore, and little care has been put into them from the school. But this concrete beast is no where close to abandon. In fact, it may well carry more people per day then any other steps around. "The Stairs" as they are called by the locals, cater to a thriving scene of outdoor exercisers. Many of them local, but some coming from as far as Chula Vista just to test themselves against gravity and the 112 steps they must make against it in order to reach the top. People tell me they don't go to a gym and get all the workout they need right on the concrete. A strict routine of ascending with very particular strides yields a very wholesome lower body workout, and a quick and "floppy" trot down keeps the core tight. Arms, you're on your own, but not bad for the rest. Not only does it act like an outdoor gym, people treat it that way as well. Phones, water bottles, and stop watches are left at the top or on one of the 6 landings for people to come back to. At the bottom, small piles of stones keep count of the times these athletes have made it up and down. You'll find all kinds of people there too, the young kids getting in shape for their sports season, stay at home parents, professionals before and after work, even the elderly take some laps up and down and tell inquisitive writers how many decades, DEACADES, they've been flocking to this particular set of stairs to nowhere.