I feel like a whole other dog from the last time we were travelling in the US. What a difference four years makes when each one is like seven. Back then, at eight years old, I was already considered a more senior statesman in the dog world, but now I’m well and truly in the senior citizen category. And back in 2017, with thirteen-year-old Logan beside me, I looked like a pup!
Time marches on, but I don’t so much these days. Once we get this digestive thing under control (T’s still working on it), I think my energy will be better, but for now, I’m on the short-slow-walk program. You’d think this would mean I’d be spending more time in the trailer and truck and less on the trail, but not with T and Nollind in my corner.
Our first stop in the southwest was St George, Utah, a city in the bottom corner of the state where the elevation is low and the weather mild. The RV park was a tiny thing, so I had no issues handling any and all walks around the park at my somewhat sedate pace. But our first outing, to Chuckwalla Trailhead, just about did me in, going up and down hills and over rocks in the warm sun. And that was only a short out and back, a small portion of the trail.
So, two days later we returned to do the entire loop of three different trails and six kilometres. I was worried. It was cool that morning, but it was going to take more than a friendly temperature to get me around the loop. And then Nollind pulled my chariot out of the box of the truck. I was saved! I’d only had one quick test ride around the yard back home, but I figured out pretty quickly what a benefit it would be in the desert.
I walked the first kilometer, and then, right around the time I started to get tired, the trail sloped off to one side and I had a hard time not doing a little sashay right down into the ditch. So up I went into the Cabriolet, my chariot, my Canine Transportation System (CTS).
There’s a foam bed on the bottom, and T used a fleece jacket to give me something to lean against. Cushy, right? Well, it was at first, until we hit the rough part of the trail. I thought they’d turn back, and so did T, but Nollind was determined to get me around that whole loop, I think for T and for me. Bouncing over rocks, pushing through deep sand, acting as a human brake on the downhills, Nollind was the trusty steed for my chariot.
I got out for a break at the top of Beck Hill to have a drink and stretch my legs, and then Nollind took off down the hill without me. What?! You expect me to walk? They did, as it turned out. I humoured them for a short distance before stopping in the trail and staring at the CTS. They picked up what I was laying down (without me actually laying down—that was next) and I was back on the road, bumping along down the steepest part of the hill.
Two days later, we were off to another nearby destination, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. I’ve done dunes before, a few times, so I was pretty excited. But these dunes seemed different than any I’ve experienced—much steeper than Kelso or Algodones and the sand much tougher to walk in. Or so it seemed. I made it up the first gentle incline, but there was no way I was getting to the top of the highest dune. Where was my trusty chariot when I needed it?
Back in the truck is where…wheels and deep sand not being a good combination. Just when I was about to throw up my paws in defeat, I found myself hoisted onto Nollind’s shoulders. My trusty steed turned Sherpa came through for me again. I was going to the top!
It won’t be the same this winter without the ability to keep up with the peeps and get everywhere I want to go on my own steam, but at least I won’t have to miss out on the many adventures ahead. With my Canine Transportation Systems, I can go almost anywhere, and still not miss my nap.