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Robin Hood of the Wild West

Mom and I listened to stories about the real-life bandits and stagecoaches of the Old West. “Mom, we’ve been to a lot of these places!” I said, astonished. “Some of them were so small that their gas stations didn’t even have Perrier or string cheese! How could a place be famous and forgotten?”

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My own private outside

Usually we can't even go to this trail on the weekend because there's no time to run between all the jumping into the poison oak whenever a bike rides by. But this year Mom has only gotten poison oak one time.

Outback of Nevada

Soon, the road-like-thing turned to conceal itself between the toes of the mountain, and we followed it inside. The trail was marvelously horrible. It looked like the path to a lair of a wicked monster that would crunch the bones of hikers that came to visit him.

…Previously, in South Dakota

They looked like their father was a cow and their mother was a warthog, because they looked like someone had taken a cow and squeezed all of its extra parts up around its shoulders until it had no neck at all. And their haircuts were just terrible, like Julia Child or Norm MacDonald, but worse.

The biggest butt in the west

When a hill pokes out of the ground like a human's big toe in a place where it doesn't belong, that's called a butt. This Wyoming butt burst purposefully out of the ground and seemed like it was leaning forward like it had something urgent to tell us. It was made up of long, straight columns and still seemed to be erupting out of the ground before our eyes. It was the biggest butt I'd ever seen in my life. I felt drawn to it.

Floods and quicksand

Mom and I had unfinished business with our next trail. We had planned to visit this trail on Christmas day, but then The Weather Jinx brought us a white Christmas and the Covered Wagon got stuck in the white dirt just 25 yards down the road that led to the trail. That began our 5... Continue Reading →

Mud running

When we arrived at the park, the low clouds crouched over a shallow valley surrounded by melting cliffs that had dripped and sagged like candle wax from giant vampire-castle candles into spikes like upside-down icicles. Each spike-cicle was a sloppy shape, but together they stood tall in neat lines like a box of used crayons. There were rows of spike-cicles not only on the sides of the cliffs, but also in eery towers that were taller than everything around them, and weren’t near anything that could drip on them.

Breaking in

But just because it was dangerous, illegal, and a really bad idea wasn’t enough to make Mom accept that the walking rocks were out of our reach, and for the next hour she kept trying to bargain with The Witch to find a way in.

The Pounding Fathers

It must be tough running with the weight of hundreds of miles on their backs when they didn't even know what the next mile held yet. But then I remembered how Mom finds her way around places we'd never been before. Maybe humans can see the future better than dogs can, and that's why they like planning so much.

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