Monday, January 16, 2012

Bear Mountain - Sedona, Arizona

At home, in New York, She takes me hiking almost every day. We explore Bear Spring Mountain in Delaware County. She loves adventure and trees and smells and spying flowers where none should be able to grow. She gently touches the different trees, feeling their bark. BARK!  She doesn’t like when I bark!

We made it to the first white level

She decided today that we will explore three places, Bear Mountain, Doe Mountain and Palatki. Fine with me. Wag, wag, wag! I would stay outside all day with Her. Hiking and walking and smelling. When She sees the marker for Bear Mountain, She misses New York.

She has a pack there, Her family.  She shakes Her head and refocuses Her attention. She is not going to think about them. So She thinks. She wants to memorize everything here so when She has grandchildren She can tell them about it. We start out by climbing up and down through empty creeks. It is December in Sedona and everything is very dry.  She is undecided between exploring the smooth, flat red rocks that make up the creek bed and climbing Bear Mountain.  It makes Her think of our mountain, at home. I wait, looking over my shoulder at Her.  She wants to do everything, and see everything and touch everything all at once.

It was very dry. We were very thirsty in the desert sun.
It was harder climbing down, than it was climbing up!

Her joy gets chopped right in half with “reasoning”.  Humans!  Always waiting to have fun til later. She is different though. It makes her pups, and her mate and her pack nervous. She is their leader, the alpha.  They all look to Her to keep them safe. And She is not in New York now, where they are.  I can feel her pack drawing Her back to them.  They are worried about Her being safe. I will keep Her safe.We climb up the rocks. Not walking - pulling, jumping and pushing. She takes one of Her shirts off and stuffs inside the bag where She carries my treats.  She is breathing hard. Her face is red. We climb most of the way to the top, when She sits down. She pulls out water and my bowl. She always lets me drink first. She looks around and leans back, lifting her face to the sun. That goofy smile again. 
Her joy is back, almost full.  Joy has a smell. It smells like …………

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lost in the Desert

"One wrong turn and you could be out here for days" She said
I kept trying to get Her to turn around. She was going off trail. Ruff! Wag wag! Stop! I circled her feet a few times, ran in front of Her, stopped, ran behind Her, and stopped. I kept looking over my shoulder. But She wasn’t paying attention.  She was looking at me, but She wasn’t seeing me. She didn’t see the signs, or the markers.  She was looking at other things. Footprints, bicycle tracks, scraggly pine and prickly pear. And holes. She keeps thinking “Snakes”.   They are not snake holes, I could tell her. It is too cold for snakes. December in Sedona is almost snake free. Snakes don’t like 40 degrees and She doesn’t like snakes.
But She is not listening to me or seeing me.  She sees a horse hoof print and now She stops. She misses her horses.  It took that hoof print to make Her look around. “I didn’t see this on the way out” She says out loud. “Hmmmm, I better pay attention. The trail marker should be right around here” Nope. You passed it a MILE ago!  We keep walking. She has a silly soft hat on. That’s good. Because she is going to be sunburned.

Now I stay close, She doesn’t have to tell me. There are no people out here, in the desert.  But if there were, She thinks “They could be hiding in the brush, waiting to grab me!”  She is more alert now and walks faster.  My girl. She is now TALLER and STRONGER and BRIGHTER. Ha! She is angry? Yes.  And FOCUSED. This feels like hunting time or chasing time. Wag, wag, wag, Let’s go!  Out in front of Her. I come to a paved road. Let’s Go!

“We are lost Charlie. What the heck? Did a miss a sign?” She asks me and herself. Yes! I tried to tell you! She takes the bag off her back and shoulders. Yippee! My treats are in there! And water bowl!  She uncaps the last water bottle. It is half full. She takes a small drink and pours the rest in my bowl. No! Don’t! I can go longer than you without water! This is my girl. She thinks of my comfort and needs. She treats me like I am a “people”. I love her.
She pulls out and unfolds a big piece of paper. She’s always reading paper. “Oh no!” Yup. I tried to tell you.  She is thinking, thinking, thinking words “Time, water, sunlight, paved road?”  She folds her paper and puts it away. Picks up my bowl and starts walking. Walking TALL and STRONG. But now She has a before-fear smell. “No wonder they call it Deadman’s Pass. One wrong turn and you could be out here for days” She says “Thank goodness we brought water” She says.
This was a long walk. We walked until the sun started to go down. We walked through the desert for 5 hours. We see the trail head and her car. “We made it Charlie. Just in time”

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Skiing in Purgatory?

The "Polar Express" Steam Engine roles through Hermosa, CO
as we drive to Purgatory

She studies her book and says “Skiing in Purgatory?, that’s a good one!” She laughs.  Wag, wag, wag. I like that sound. She is talking to the car again. Who is this car talking? She shakes her head and says “thank you” to the car and “Ok Charlie, this should be fun!”  She drives the car in a circle and stops when She sees big CLOUDS coming from a rolling machine. Always taking pictures, She is.
Driving. Her heart is beating faster, with more energy. Smiling. Wag wag wag. Wanna play? Wanna …….. JUMP! “Sit Charlie!” She says.  Why is She getting a JUMPING, FETCHING, RUNNING, HAPPY heartbeat and saying SIT!? L Her words don’t match Her energy.  Humans!
SNOW!!!! The car is on snow. The snow is on the car. HURRAY! Uh, oh…. She has fear. She goes  ….. slow ….. with the snow on the ground.  “Let’s do this Charlie” She says. OK!!!!!!
Those mountains are TALL. They go straight UP! She is sad, now. Not afraid. “No wonder they call it Purgatory” She says. She sighs … out LOUD but SOFT. She doesn’t know She does this whenever she is THINKING all of those things at one time. She thinks “Wow, Big, Steep, Hurt? Lost? How?  Fun! Challenge! Write about this …. awww Hurt? Alone …then what?”
Then She says something She never said before “I don’t dare” OK. She is not sad …. she is thinking “Sensible and Realistic” I don’t know those words. They don’t feel good.  They are not doing words they are thinking words. They are not dog words. Humans!

She takes those long sticks, those skiis, and puts them where I was laying down. Squished AGAIN. Between Her sticks and Her saddle.  At least she didn't bring Paco, Her horse.  Those sticks back in the car means something is different. Sad. What is "sensible?" The opposite of fun.

And now back in the car, driving, driving, driving, squished by Her sticks.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

From Durango to Denver - Hiking The Colorado Trail

Hurray! Snow in Durango, CO
"The Colorado Trail is Colorado’s premier long distance trail. Stretching almost 500 miles from Denver to Durango, it travels through the spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountains amongst peaks with lakes, creeks and diverse ecosystems. Trail users experience six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges topping out at 13,271 feet, just below Coney Summit at 13,334 feet. The average elevation is over 10,000 feet and it rises and falls dramatically. Users traveling from Denver to Durango will climb 89,354 feet"

She loves to walk. “Hike” She calls it.  I know we are going into the woods. She put those boots on . The strings on them are my favorite thing to chew on. When She puts them on, She always says “I wish you would chew on your toys Charlie and not my boots”  She is not sad or mad when She says it. She gets it. I like the smell and taste of Her boots. Those boots mean OUTSIDE!

The smells are not so strong here. But I can run in the SNOW! She is slow. Wait! I smell a friend! Two friends! Are they friends?  Wanna play? Let’s RUN! I’m …. gonna……..JUMP and RUN!
This is Blue and his brother Bo. Their She is a He. They did not want to play :(
After a LONG time on this path, She says “Charlie, let’s go back. It’s getting dark” That means her car again. Darn It! She talks to me all the way back. “Skiing in Purgatory tomorrow Charlie” and she laughs. Then She is quiet. And then She laughs again. What is so funny?