The white dirt wasn't everywhere, though. In the sunny patches, the rocks made a messy set of stairs that wagged up the mountain. Above our heads the pointy crown of the mountain stuck straight up toward the sky and all around it in a giant skirt was the biggest pile of loose rocks you can possibly imagine.
I walked out onto one rock, and then another. But after that, I couldn't find a way across without getting wet. I cautiously put a paw into the river, but it was cold, and deep, and pushy, and not at all the kind of adventure that I wanted to be on. "Come back!" I barked. "Come get me!"
The best trails play out like a story. Some trails are like chapter books with sections of different scenery that each tell a little tale. Other hikes center around one big feature, and follow a story arc up a mountain or around something impressive-looking. But in Arnold we hiked for miles through forests that went into too much detail without moving forward, like a story that you didn't realize was dull until you'd already started telling it. (Mom tells those kinds of stories all the time.)
Sometimes you need to be brave to be scared. Not everyone's brave enough to run to Mom when they're frightened. What they don't know, and I didn't know until this week is that I really like nursing, because people who want to lie still and give me pats are my favorite people.
When we looked down from above, we could see all of the rocks at the bottom of the river. Some were small and the river flowed over them peacefully like mouth wash, but in other places there were bigger rocks that swished the river until it was frothy like toothpaste spit.
I followed her and watched where she was going so that I would know where to climb and what rocks she wanted me to jump "up-up" onto. Mom was climbing like she was walking through a dark room; putting her paws carefully on the ground and holding on to rocks like she didn't expect the ground to stay where it was. "Mom, what are you doing?" I asked.
My New Trail starts in the neighborhood where the ocean lives. I paid extra attention to signs of what kind of neighborhood it was as I patrolled my new turf and surf. The ocean must not be a good neighbor, because it had worn the paint off of any house that wasn't paying attention, and wherever there was metal it had tagged it up with bubbles of rust.
Our stuck house is very small, only about the size of a hotel room, but Mom insisted on keeping her big dreadmill inside it. That’s called “priorities.”
He stopped so we could pass, and I shouted, "HEY, YOU TWO BIG-MOUTHED FIDDLEHEADS!" I barked at them. "THIS COUNTY PARK AIN'T BIG ENOUGH FOR THE TWO OF US!" I had no idea if that was true, but since Mom had brought a real authentic-looking cowboy hat for me to wear today, talking with old west sass was fun.