Dusk. He tips the beer back and takes a swallow. The parking lot is emptying. “Well, Lucky, we better go on along home.” The big white dog barks. “Who is it? Well, hi there Maggie. Hi there, you.”
“Where’d you go?”
“On the ridge?”
“That’s far. When did you get here?”
“3:00. What time is it?”
“It’s great up there.”
“I haven’t been up there in a while. Did you go to the wires?”
“I went to the top. It was wonderful. I could see forever, no houses, nothing, just chaparral.”
“Lucky you can git here so early.”
“You want a beer?”
“Naw. I have to go home. I’m dirty and it’s getting cold. This poor dog.” She pointed at Truffle. “It was tough sledding for her.”
“She doesn’t like to go down hills, see. Her center of gravity is in her chest. I think she thinks she’s just gonna’ go down in somersaults.”
The hill down the fire road from the top of Fortuna is very steep. Along it are power lines. It was a lot of fun to run down, and I ran down it many many times in ensuing years. Ask me how that worked out for me long term… 🤣
Once coming down that road, my three dogs, the Good X, and I were stopped in our tracks by five coyotes. I held the dogs and the coyotes just looked at us for a few minutes before ambling up the canyon. We continued and turned into the side of the canyon the coyotes had just left. A woman was hiking along saw my dogs and said, “Well, THAT explains all these footprints!” But it didn’t. The coyotes had made the tracks, splashing in the stream. That’s when I realized we probably have no idea what’s going on.
These are all stories from a folder I found in an old trunk. As I was busy shredding them, I stopped to read. This turned out to be something I didn’t want to shred. I’m sharing it here and I have also put the stories into a little book. The stories are from the very first years I lived with dogs and hiked on my own, with dogs, in the California Coastal Chaparral of San Diego. The stories are a kind of record of the beginning of the best things I’ve done in my life — hiking in nature with dogs. I wrote these stories in my late 30s.
9 thoughts on “XIII — Summit, Continued, AND More Wild Dogs”
We must be stuck in the same time warp. My letters from camp are from 1988 – about the same as these stories.
One of those definitive times in our lives, I guess.
What a wonderful life. I’m jealous!
Good you thought to write them, good you stopped from shredding them.
I wanted to be a writer back then but I didn’t have a story. I got my story but THAT was a bizarre adventure with immense sacrifices. Life is so weird.
I’m glad you didn’t shred these stories!! I’m fascinated!
Thank you. I’ve sure learned a lot from them.