As we started hiking, a group of giggling and clucking flags flapped across the trail ahead of us. “They’re not flags! They’re ladies!” I squealed, running ahead to introduce myself.
The best thing about this little sprout of a canyon was that it was on my scale, and Mom and I climbed in and out over the rocks, taking in the canyon from all angles. Then we walked out over the sandstone plane that surrounded the canyon-let, losing the trail almost as often as Mom took pictures. Come to think of it, I’m not so sure we were following a trail at all, so much as wandering from one interesting thing to another.
she kept staring up toward where the sunrise should have been. Instead of a sunrise, there was a giant mountain covered in an armor of thorny rock spikes. Puffy clouds were stuck in the spikes like trash stuck a fence along the freeway, and those clouds were lit up from underneath by the missing sunrise. The whole thing worked like a trap to pull on Mom's eyes like a giant billboard that said CLIMB ME.
Even though it was very easy to follow, Mom tripped and swore almost as often as she took pictures because the big rocks above our heads kept stealing her eyeballs making the rocks under us steal her feet.
Then we came around the bend and saw that the trail had fallen into another hole. In the spot where it disappeared was a rickety metal ladder that had fallen in and was trying to climb back out. I peeked over the edge, and saw that the drop was almost 2 Moms tall, so I backed up real quick so it couldn't suck me down like it had the ladder. Mom stayed at the edge inspecting the rock. Then, to my horror, she held out her arms and tried to scoop me up! Luckily, I am very fast and she can't run.
I looked at Mom's weird boxy body that's flat in all the places where humans are sometimes curvy, and then I looked at my sleek, athletic frame that was black, but not blobby at all. "Well I don't have any boobies, and neither do you," I said. "And if one of us is going to chase contaminated critters, it should be the one of us that is up to date on his flea meds, don't you think?"
Well... mostly to ourselves. We were running through the skirt of the mountain, where the boulders and bushes fight to see who can win the trail, when I came around the corner and saw a turtle-person right in front of me. "What are you doing here? Let me see your early morning permit!" I barked. She looked suitably scared of me, so when Mom called my name, I figured it was okay to leave the turtle-person, go get Mom and show her.
This morning Mom took me to a trail that I didn't recognize, and imagine my surprise when one of my professors was waiting for us! I was so excited to see her after all these years, and squeaked like a manly cowboy for Mom to let me off the leash so that I could go knock her over. As I got close, a dog stepped in my way and said, "Just who do you think you are, and what do you think you're going to do to my Mom?"
“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.
Finally Mom had had it. The trail was under a long stretch of white dirt, and we were practically within view of the top. “This trail may be covered in snow, but there is plenty of open ground if we make our own path,” Mom said. "Let’s see how high up we can get if we go straight up.” I was proud of Mom. I always explore the mountain outside the trail on our adventures, but she’s usually less curious. The West is a land with a history of explorers who had to break their own trail.