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Memories and paying attention

Last night we made it to a place called Moab. It is like heaven for outdoor families like mine, except

Mom is afraid of cliffs and I’m not fond of the heat so maybe not… There are lots of other tramps, and so much dog friendly hiking that we could have spent our whole trip here and hiked a different trail every day! We were going to hike on a trail that Mom said is one of the most famous mountain biking trails in the world, but then Mom read that all the sandstone could wear a handsome dog’s paws into bloody stumps, so she picked a different trail instead.

Mom wanted to find something where dogs were allowed to be off leash, because Moab is filled with cliffs and if we got too close to one and I tried to pull on the leash then she would probably have to lie belly-down on the ground so she wouldn’t slip off, and you can’t hike back to the car-house if you’re lying whimpering on a rock like a lichen. Moab is lovely, but I don’t want to be a lichen here.

We started on a trail that they call “The Stairmaster” because it climbs 1000 feet in the first mile, and if you climbed it every day you would have a butt that would be as great to look at as mine! It was like climbing a basketball, and it would have been easy to get lost if they hadn’t painted a line on the rock to tell us where to go. Even still we got a little lost sometimes and had to go around in circles a bit.

Once we were up on top of the basketball we ran whenever we could. It was hard because we had to climb over a lot of rocks, and sometimes it was really sandy or steep. There were so many things to see that I think Mom spent more time taking pictures than we did running. Mom also made me stop a lot to drink water, and I don’t know why I was so thirsty because it was cool out and there was a nice breeze.

At the end of the trail the world stopped abruptly. The earth was there, and then it wasn’t. Way, way, way, way, way down below was a green town, and then a couple of miles away off in the distance, the world started again. It was like someone had spliced in a section of the wrong map. Like there was a square of red rocks and high desert, then a slice of sea level Ohio, and then more Utah again.  Mom wanted to get a picture of me right up near the edge so you could see how far the fall was, but just like the last time we got close to a cliff, she screamed bloody murder when I got close enough for her to angle the camera so that you could see Ohio behind me. So I came away from the edge a bit and she was able to stop screaming and take my picture. But she didn’t get Ohio in the shot, so you’ll just have to believe me.

On the way down we ran more than we had on the way up. We even ran down the stairmaster, which I thought would scare Mom what with her fear of heights and all, but I guess she’s okay with falling off of a cliff as long as it happens at running speed.

I hadn’t had much breakfast, and when we got back to the car-house Mom tried to give me some kibble. But now that I’ve had

bacon, I have to be pretty desperate to eat a bowl of kibble. Mom said that I was being a spoiled brat and she ought to make me eat it, but she still feels bad for ruining my birthday so instead we went to a diner and got scrambled eggs, hashbrowns and bacon. Mom had the same thing, only with no bacon. I felt really special eating people food. I always knew that dogs were people too…

I thought that all I had to do for the rest of the afternoon was to nap, but Mom had another surprise in store. We got in the car and drove to ANOTHER trail! I was pretty pooped, but Mom said that she didn’t know when we would be back here again and she wanted to explore more. Luckily, this trail was mostly shady and stayed next to a river that we had to keep crossing and crossing over and over, so I had lots to drink and could stay cool.

This time Mom had me wear the GoPro. The harness is annoying, but people always give me lots of attention when I’m wearing it, so I guess it’s good. Anyway, when I was wearing the GoPro no one seemed to care that I was off leash, which is good because it’s hard for me and Mom to balance together. At one point we had to squeeze through narrow spot and climb through some rocks. As I watched Mom go through, she used her front paws to hold on while she scooted on her butt and got her back paws onto the ground. “I see how you’re doing that…” I said, fascinated. This was the first time I ever understood why Mom only walks on her back paws. It was harder for me to get through the spot, because I have to go face first and need a little bit of runway at the bottom to get all my feet under me.

Only a few minutes into our hike, the memory card was already full. “Oh bother,” said Mom. “I thought this would be a great day for video.” “It’s okay, Mom. You and I have more memory than the camera anyway. We can just pay really close attention to all the details and save it in our own memories. That will be better anyway, because we won’t need to look it up on some device to enjoy it.”

I thought that was pretty good life coach advice, but despite her best intentions I don’t think that Mom got it. I knew she wasn’t paying attention to her surroundings, because after the trail ended in a big rock wall we were supposed to walk out of the canyon. But when Mom stopped to take my picture she stood up and started walking the wrong way. I thought for sure she would notice that we were walking uphill again, but she didn’t.

Then we passed a poo bag that someone had left on the trail. Wouldn’t she notice that we’d passed it just a few minutes before? “Gosh, I can’t believe how many people just leave their trash in the middle of the trail like that,” she said. “Someone else left their poop bag in the trail just a few minutes ago. What pigs!” And we kept going.

Then we saw some of the people that we’d seen before. “Coming back for more?” they asked. But Mom thought they said that THEY were hiking the trail a second time. She smiled at them, then hiked on.

Finally we met another group that we’d already passed, and I talked to their dog. “Heading back in, are you?” said the man while I was sniffing the dog’s butt. “What?” said Mom. “You’re headed back up the trail.” “I am?” Mom was surprised.

Then I smelled that this dog was a real snob. “No, YOUR family’s clueless!” I shouted. So Mom took away my responsibility and made me run for a little while to put some space between us and the other family. Running again got me really excited, and when we saw some people puppies playing in the river I tried to yank her into the river after them. This made Mom grouchy because now her socks were wet, and so she stopped wanting to take pictures. Now that Mom was paying attention we found our way out of the canyon after all.

By the time we got back to the car-house, we had run and hiked over 15 miles and I was bushed. As Mom drove us to the next destination to sleep for the night, I sacked out in the bed and was asleep before my head even hit the bed.

-Oscar the Pooch


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