Where there’s smoke…

The sun burned like a grapefruit over the mountain, and as it rose higher it lit the trees and rocks in the same color as the Wagon's tail lights had lit the trees and rocks the night before when Mom had almost backed into them.

More cowbell

Normally Mom makes me step off the trail and up-up onto a rock when we see someone coming, and then she turns her back to the trail and stuffs me full of kibbles until the people pass. But now, Mom pulled on the mask and the other people did the up-uping, as if by magic.

Vacation expiration

Before long we left the river and started climbing the day’s mountain, and the blades of jagged, waxy rocks pushed the trees even further apart. There was a rumbling up ahead that sounded like a motorboat. “Do you hear something?” Mom asked. “I think someone’s mowing the lawn,” I explained, not because it was true but because it’s rude to not know the answer to a question.

Hiking lesson

“You are so handsome!” Willy told me, when she saw how nice the flowers looked with me sitting on them.
“You’ve really got a talent for this hiking thing,” I told her. “There are people who hike for years without ever noticing how handsome I am.”

Sharing

From way up in the sky the lake looked like it wasn’t deep at all, and that a brave dog could walk all the way across if he didn’t mind getting his socks wet. But now that we were at the edge of it, I could look into the calm grey water and see that it was very, very deep, and that the tiny islands that barely poked their noses out of the surface were actually very tall rocks standing up from a bottom so deep that I couldn’t see it under all that glowing grey water. 

Fascinator

And with that she started boot scooting down the trail. Then, something changed and instead of scooting one buttstep at a time Mom was sliding smoothly.
“This rock that’s wedged in my butt crack… “It’s sliding quite nicely on this layer of snow on these rocks.”
"I always wondered what that slot in human butts was for!"

Rocky and raccoons

When we got back to the bottle with the beak that snogged the foul-smelling snot, I saw a family of raccoons fiddling with the trash dumpster. They weren't actually raccoons, they were two people and a dog, but I'd never seen people trying to unlock a dumpster before, so I figured that they must be raccoons in some very clever costumes.

Another dam mountain

One was a waterfall that fell thousands of feet off the rock like it couldn’t help itself. It flailed its spray desperately trying to grab onto the steep, smooth rock. But the mountain didn’t care what it was putting the river through any more than it cared about draining my battery, and so the cliff gave the river nothing to hang on to on its long fall down to the valley, where it kerpleweyed into an explosion of froth and guts.

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.

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