So at home I have a lot of what I value most and can wander over to visit my friends Coco and Asta across the road, or chase off a coyote that comes too close to the farm, or just have my morning constitutional somewhere private, away from where everyone walks. Here on the road, it’s very different and, more often than not, I’m attached to the end of a retractable string. I’m quite aware of how long the leash is, so I rarely hit the end of it, but just knowing that it’s there changes the feel of an outing. And who wants to poop with two people watching and waiting to pick it up? It’s so degrading.
After a week at Fountain of Youth Spa, where we were leashed most of the time, we had the chance to go for a run at Imperial Dunes Recreation Area. At camp there were ATVs, sand cars and side-by-sides everywhere but on the north side of the highway, where the vehicles weren’t allowed, the dunes were completely untracked…until we got there. It was kind of like Huntington Beach piled higher and without water and I couldn’t get enough of running up the hills. Young as he is, I beat that little red mutt to the top every time.
Since that day we’ve had some off-leash time every day—at a second place we stayed in the dunes and now here at Saddle Mountain. This was the best spot yet for the first few days; I was free around camp and out walking. The only time the leash went on was when we got up into the cholla cactus, and I’m fine with that—I’ve had a chunk of cholla on my leg and I’m happy to not repeat the experience. But then a new threat was spotted by one of our fellow campers. I don’t know much about rattlesnakes but seeing one in the vicinity has meant a lot more leash time for Chico and I. We did see a snake on one of our walks a few days ago—Teresa almost stepped on it—but apparently it was a harmless type (although it did make her jump!).
At Wickenburg yesterday, another Albertan told us about a rattlesnake showing up in a firepit in his busy campground and that they’ve been coming out of hibernation the past couple of weeks. This made for a lot more eyes to the ground during today’s hike back here at Saddle Mountain. I stayed on the road and close to Nollind’s hip, not wanting to find out firsthand about snakes. I’ll leave that to my good buddy Chico.