I was adopted, and it was the best thing that happened to both me and Mom, but mostly Mom. We want to repay our good luck by helping other strays find the same kind of love and security that we have. Mom is "allergic to children," so we can't bring any home, but there are other ways to help. Instead, I have committed to raise money for Mountain Circle Family Services, which runs programs so that the stray people puppies can learn leadership through fun adventures a lot like those that Mom and I enjoy together. Just like Mom loves me, keeps me safe, teaches me about the world, and takes me to explore, Mountain Circle provides the same kind of love to the people puppies until they find their forever home.
Who ever heard of a duel where the hero gets grounded by his Mom?! "No! Mom! I can't see him!" I barked, wriggling around to try to get free and wrenching my neck around to see if he was satisfactorily scared by my spastically assertive barking. If he pooped his pants in fear, I missed it. "I'm coming back for you!" I shouted over my shoulder as I struggled to get free. "I challenge you to a duel! Just as soon as Mom lets me..."
This trail was like nature's storage room, where all the cool things to see were in one place, but all disordered and piled on top of each other in a way that made them hard to look at. There were big bits of sandstone sticking out of the ground that had holes scooped out like swiss cheese, and slabby bits of rock all fanned out like someone had knocked over a stack of pancakes, and little villages of boulders in shady glades that definitely had gnomes living behind them, and a tractor that had been used in the revolutionary war, and a patch of fuzzy white plants that looked like they were covered in frost as a fashion statement, and wildflowers in all the shades of grey, and as we got higher there were views of the mountains in every direction that you looked. We could even see off in the distance where the mountains fell into the ocean and the cool, grey fog clumped like a bad mood.
Next we met a very handsome gentleman dressed in a tux just like me. Only Oscar and James Bond can wear a tux on a hot day without panting, and this guy was struggling. But as I came past, he rose up from being a potato to say hello and sniff my butt. "It’s a miracle!” said his lady. “He was too hot to walk down the hill, but now that he’s smelled your irresistible butt, he has legs to stand on again!”
“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.
“A lot of it goes through National and State Parks where they don’t allow dogs. That’s why we couldn’t go to Glacier or Yellowstone in Montana... or Yosemite, or Big Sur, or Olympic State Park, or Crater Lake, or lots of the other places that people recommended.” We both sighed when we thought about all the places that I can’t go just because I’m a dog and I poop in the bushes, bark at people, and chase bunnies. It really doesn't seem fair, because Mom does all those things except chase bunnies. "Anyway, it gets really hot in some of those places and you have to hike in the middle of the day. You probably wouldn’t like it,” Mom said. Then she pointed at an old dead tree that had its butt sticking up in the air. “Look! That tree looks like an octopus’s cloaca! Go stand on it so I can take a picture.”
The trail turned out to be an easy 7-mile flat route that followed a happy river through the pine trees to a waterfall. “Isn’t this great, Mom?” I said. “No dirt roads to get here, no mountains to climb, no big trees blown over the trail, no dog-boiling weather... Just a nice, easy run through the pine trees.”
The thing that had turned Mom into a a cream puff was that there was a perfect waterfall falling from right above our heads. It was small enough that its roar wasn’t scary and you could look at it all at once, and it spit a mist into the air that made the air sparkle. All around the waterfall were shiny rocks with bright green furry moss decorating them, and next to the big waterfall were smaller blue ice waterfalls. On the ground there were giant chunks of ice that were perfectly clear and looked like soccer-ball-sized diamonds. We were in a fairy land for tough people, like that elf city in Lord of the Rings (obviously, I’m Legolas and Mom is Gimli).
It took a couple of miles, but eventually reality caught up with Mom when the white dirt started sucking up her legs like a couple of pieces of spaghetti. Every time she tried to climb out of the hole, sluuuurp, her leg would get sucked back in up to the shorts line. On each one she let out a roar that was a little bit like a gladiator going into battle, and a little bit like someone whose leg was being bitten off by an alligator.