Today, we decided to take the dogs on an adventure. We recently discovered an area by the river close to our home that appeared to be fairly secluded. For the last week, my husband has had some unfathomable desire to trek through a forest, so I finally agreed to it.
First thing, I secretly filled the backpack full of water, collapsible bowls, treats, bug spray, and people snacks. I had to do this as carefully as possible so that I would not alert the dogs—when they discover that it is adventure time, they become excited to the point of spontaneous combustion. After having done this, we prepared the truck (took out the back seats, threw in an old blanket, etc), and pulled out the leashes. As soon as the dogs saw the leashes, it was like a hyper-bomb exploded in our house. Mylo started chasing his tail, Toady started trying to break down the door, and our cat (who was not invited to come along) started ripping up and down the hallway.
Eventually, we loaded them into the truck and set off on our journey. They were like lunatics. Just like every other time we have taken them on an adventure. They jammed their heads out of the windows, barked at poor unsuspecting bikers, and paced. We got to the parking area, which is really just a big circle of dirt, and let them out. They tore off, with us scrambling behind, down a hill and onto a trail. It was beautiful, for about 2 minutes. The trail ended and we were left staring at a crumbly forest. Of course, the dogs thought this was wonderful and started to pull us through it. We followed along, Toady whining like a banshee, and Mylo sniffing every bloody blade of grass that we went by, until we saw a small path that went down to the water. We rested for a bit, hydrating the dogs and ourselves while stretching out on a beach of mud. No incentive could tempt either of them to get into the water, which blows my mind since Mylo is a Golden Retriever—aren’t they supposed to want to retrieve floating objects from bodies of water???
Since neither of them wanted anything to do with the river, we hauled ourselves up (I did so by holding onto Mylo’s leash for dear life as he pulled me over the bank) and kept going. Have I mentioned that this was not what anyone in their right mind would call a trail? The grass was at least a foot high, and there were dead trees all over. I think perhaps we had been following a deer trail, since I don’t understand how a person could make their way through there without being constantly clothes-lined by low-hanging branches. We carried on, and just when I was starting to enjoy the experience, I felt the ground disappear beneath my feet as I slid back down to the river on a bed of mud. At this point, I was cursing nature with a vengeance. In my head I was making colorful threats to the trees, the mud, and the husband that had come up with this brilliant plan.
We decided to go back. After all, we had been hiking through fairly dense trails for about an hour, and it was getting hot. At some point I lost my phone, and then found it again in a pile of clay-like mud. I also discovered a new species of bug that was attempting to make Mylo into its new home. I hollered, husband brushed off the bug, and it flew onto Toady. Husband hollered, brushed off bug and cursed insects. We had some trouble finding our way back to the dirt circle where we had parked, and ended up going up and down the bank a few times before finding anything that even slightly resembled a path. Mylo discovered a bloated, rotten fish by the water and tried to eat it. I hollered, husband hollered, and Mylo continued on his way. The entire way back Toady was emitting high-pitched barks and whines to express his disgust with the forest. After getting whipped in the eye with a branch, stopping every few meters to allow the dogs to pee on things, and keeping Mylo from digging up what looked like old dog crap, we found the vehicle. It was like on TV when a white light comes down and the angels sing.
By the time we got home, the dogs were ready to sleep for the next week, I was finally convinced that no bugs had made it into the vehicle by way of my body, and husband was exhausted. Perhaps this is why we try to limit the number of adventures that we have. I think next time we will use a different adventure venue, and we will buy some of that marigold bugspray for dogs.