"What's an obstaple?" I asked. "I don't know. Like crawling through mud and jumping over stuff and things. I didn't really read the website that closely. You'll love it. I brought treats." Now I was real excited to do obstaple racing and show off how good I am at getting dirty and looking cool in pictures. But I guess Mom didn't read the website closely at all because she found out that the humans had to do the obstaples too. "Oh, well I can't do that," Mom told the lady with the t-shirts. "I have a medical issue." "Mom, what's a medical issue?" I asked. "It means that I'm wearing socks," she said.
Once we started walking downhill on the shady side of the mountain, Mom, whose heart pumps ice rather than blood, started to turn blue. Every mile or so, I had to come back to her and block the path so that she could bang her hands on my handsome butt until she could feel them again. It wasn’t that cold, Mom is just made with lizard parts.
Then The Man threw something on the ground a few feet in front of us. I looked where it fell, and... "HOLY CRAP!" I said. "There's a spaghetti monster sitting right next to where you were tapping your boot a second ago! Hang on, let me go check it out." The spaghetti monster was about as big around as a rope leash, and had a shakey thing on one end that made noise, and mean eyes on the other end. I knew from experience that this was called a "rattlesnake" from when Mom and I saw a bigger one
I'm not the one with leash aggression, that's Mom! Mom is the one that growls and snarls and gets all exasperated every time I stop to sniff something in detail and the sudden braking whips her around. She's the one that throws a temper tantrum and barks bloody murder when we chase a squirrel or a cat. I don't know why she can't just chill, so I usually ignore her while she's acting out and being unpleasant.
“I’m not worried about hikers. There are cats that hide in these trees. They jump down and before you know what’s happened, they've grabbed you by the head are dragging you into the bushes to eat you up.” “Oh! I love cats!” I said. “They are great fun to chase! I hope one drops on me.” “Not these cats…” Mom warned. Mom gets so scared of the silliest things.
As we were getting close to the ledge, Mom’s foot slipped. It probably only slipped a millimeter, but that was enough to turn her into a screaming fool. The trouble was that the path was steep enough that when she turned around to flee, she found her nose right in my manly chest hair. Since there was a handsome dog blocking her escape, she screamed even uglier. The problem was that she had tied that handsome, trail-blocking dog around her waist, so he couldn't get out of her way, no matter how ugly her screams.
I could smell something big, and there were recent tracks in the snow that looked like deer hooves, but were way bigger than any deer’s feet I’d ever seen. I remembered about the flying tampon last night, and the mystery of all the big things on top of the mountain yesterday, and concluded that there must be all kinds of giant things roaming in these hills.
A little while later the Mad River waited until Mom and I were separated and ambushed me. I had run ahead because of Excitement, and Mom was still around a bend behind me when the river said, “Aren’t you thirsty, Oscar? I’m so cool and I taste so good! Come stand on this bed of soft pine needles and drink from me while you wait for Mom…” That sounded like a great idea, so I walked out onto the bed of pine needles that was sitting at the edge of the river… and fell right in!
In addition to the dozens of portraits of me Mom has been taking every day, she has also been taking video so that she can relive the experience in even more detail when we get home. Usually I love taking video because it means that Mom gets me very excited, and then we run back and forth while she laughs and tells me that I’m ruining it. But this time she was taking too long, and was too focused on The Witch, so it was an opportunity for a teachable moment. While she was picking moss off a log, I ran into the woods to chase An Exciting Thing. Because she didn’t yell at me right away, I kept running and running until I was very absorbed in The Exciting Thing and Mom seemed like a distant memory.