Gone Camping!

I apologize if I scared anyone with my blog absence last Fur-iday. People do wonder about a guy my age when they don’t hear from me. It’s understandable. But … still here!

On Fur-iday last week I was in the land of no cell phones or internet. I was, get this, camping! None of us thought I was up for any camping this season. From my perspective, it seemed like a whole lot of effort just to be cold. From my peoples’ point of view, a few days in the hills wasn’t worth putting up with a pacing, pooping pooch in a small space.

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Who me? Camping?

The first change that made it possible was something we’ve all been waiting for for a dozen years. I have no explanation as to why but car/truck travel is seeming a lot less of a big deal recently. It’s still not my favourite activity, but no more morphing into a panting, pacing maniac that nobody wants to travel with. I’ve learned to ride it out.

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Drug-free travel.

The other thing is that I’ve been sleeping better at night, even in the house sometimes. Again, not sure how it’s come about but it’s such a relief for all of us. They still keep a light on for me and I appreciate it, but the night terrors have faded.

So, back to the camping trip. Our friends G and S were headed to Kananaskis Country and, in light of my recent normalness, Teresa and Nollind decided to hitch up Sid and join them. I can’t say I was thrilled initially. I’ve become quite comfy in my new dog yard. I’m working on my twentieth (or is it twenty-first?) den, I have the full spectrum of sunny versus shady places to nap, there’s a resident prairie dog to keep in check, and so much to observe in my half-acre paradise. But I try to be a team player, so did my best to look enthused about the journey and not get bogged down in the worries.

Worry #1, Travel Anxiety – Even though I’ve been travelling better recently, I’ve only been on short drives, so I wasn’t sure how a three-hour journey would be. But, I started the camping adventure off strong with the most relaxing drug-free vehicle travel I’ve ever experienced. So much for Worry #1.

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Matching Chico’s cool. Panting only because it was a hot day.

Worry #2, Being Cold – The first evening at dinner, I was treated to a padded bed, a pillow, and an afghan. This good fortune and pampering continued through the weekend. Nix Worry #2.

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Afghan hound.

Worry #3, Being Trapped in Sid All Night – I had my couch, I had a jacket, the light was on. What more could an old dog want? Forget Worry #3.

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Tucked into my couch for the night.

Worry #4, Missing Out on the Hiking – Okay, this one actually happened, and it was a bit of a drag. Chico came back to camp telling stories of his lake walks and, although I’d enjoyed my nap time, I did feel left out. Worry #4 realized.

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Hiking without me. Smiling through their pain.

But, one out of four is not bad on the worry metre. I was a pretty contented canine … until Saturday night.

They thought it was Saturday morning’s pancake breakfast, but I knew different. I am just not a food sensitive kind of guy and I wasn’t going to be taken out by a flapjack. It was something else, something evil, that sent my digestive system into chaos. We’re just not sure what it was yet, or is. We’re still working it out.

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Yum yum. Pancakes!

So my camping adventure didn’t end as strong as it started, but I have no regrets. Mountain air, campfire time, pancakes with a little butter and syrup, and good friends. A word from the wise … when every thing and every time could be your last, savour every bite.

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Da Boys at Da Beach

That’s us, “da boys”, or so we’re called by some very dear friends. And we’re here at “da beach”, that’s the beach at Lake Havasu. We moved Sunday from our boondocking spot in Craggy Wash just north of Lake Havasu City and came here to the state park, which is pretty much right in town and on the lake.

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Our camp at water’s edge.

We were here last year at this same time for Bluegrass on the Beach. This year, Teresa and Nollind are volunteers, so we were able to set up camp on Sunday, and got a spot right here on the water. It’s a nice change from the desert, water life instead of desert life. Boats instead of ATVs. Kayakers as opposed to cyclists.

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Even the dogs get out on the water.

It’s also a very different kind of camping from what we’re used to. Craggy Wash was already closer quarters than Quartzsite or Wickenburg, but now that things have filled in here at the state park, we are shoulder to shoulder. Sunday we almost had the place to ourselves, Monday the ticket holders started rolling in and today, it is getting very cozy.

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Sunday

But I don’t mind. It gives me plenty to watch when I’m lying outside … or not. Something about the sound of the water keeps lulling me to sleep, that gentle lap of waves on the shore, the put-put of a boat going by in the no-wake zone of the canal, the faint sound of someone playing a banjo in a campsite somewhere. Well, faint until about half an hour ago when the main stage started up.

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Imagine the sound of waves lapping at the shore.

It’s okay though, I like music, and even though I’m more of a classical kind of guy, this old-timey, acoustic, foot-stompin’ stuff is alright … for a few days once or twice a year. Teresa and Nollind play too, but not all day, and without the barrage of instrumentation. Just guitar and bass. But, even when they play, I tend to go up in the bedroom. They try not to take it personally but I have been accused of being a critic.

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Maybe a good spot for some quiet?

 

What’s really great about being here at the beach is the beach. There’s a bunch of it that’s off limits to dogs and other pets, but Teresa has scoped out all of the dog-friendly spots and we visit one of them at least once/day. We can get in the water right from camp but it drops off quite steeply and I’m not the swimmer or bank climber I used to be. The flat of the beach suits me just fine. And there’s just something about getting my feet wet and drinking from a fresh body of water that is soothing to my old canine soul.

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The beach near the boat launch.

Chico’s been out and about quite a lot more than I have, exploring some of the beaches that are too far for me. And yesterday he got a walk into town and some time on a patio that he wouldn’t shut up about the rest of the day. I know he doesn’t do it to gloat, he was just excited. There was food involved after all. Anyway, I won’t steal his thunder. I’ll leave him to tell you his fish and chips story.

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The beach along the canal.

Teresa and Nollind have headed off to the music area for the start of the festival … oh, and there it is, that distinctive sound of bluegrass. I don’t expect to see a lot of them these next few days but, as long as they leave the back windows open so I can hear the water on the shore, I’m a happy napper … or, I mean, camper.

We’ve Been Boarded!

It was bound to happen. When you’re always parked out in nature, sooner or later nature is going to move in. And, on top of that, here at Craggy Wash, a lot of people don’t seem to be following the golden rule of camping — pack it in, pack it out — which leads to more critters being attracted to the camping area.

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Craggy Wash campsite.

I’m a pretty good hunter, caught fifteen gophers last year, so I’m embarrassed to admit I slept right through the intruder. I noticed the strange smell in the trailer on Wednesday morning but I assumed it was something blowing in off the desert.

3d Pirate mouse with cutlassAnyway, there it was all over the counter and in the drawers … the evidence. Aaarrr … we had been boarded. A rodent had been in our house, sampling from the fruit bowl, walking around in the dishes, leaving a trail of droppings as it went. It was probably just a mouse, but a big one based on the size of the pellets it left behind. For his sake, I hope the little pirate has moved on as Nollind has laid out a trifecta of rodent repellent and killer.

Me, I slept with one eye open on Wednesday night and, as a result, was a bit tired for our long walk day yesterday. Long walk day comes every second day when T and Nollind take Logan and me for our usual morning walk and then take me for a second, longer adventure.

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Keeping watch.

 

For yesterday morning’s long walk we drove to a place called Castle Rock at the north end of Lake Havasu and hiked along the cliffs above the marshy area where Lake Havasu becomes the Colorado River. I was dragging by the time we reached the top of the first sandy hill, envying Logan who was no doubt lying on his couch back at camp. But, after a rest stop to enjoy the view, I got my second wind and led the hike the rest of the way.

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Getting my second wind.

We came up here to Lake Havasu City when we left Quartzsite last Friday. I would have been happy to stay on and continue to explore the washes of Dome Rock BLM but our fourteen days were almost up and it was time to move on.

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Dome Rock wash walk.

Sadly, I didn’t get my trip to Beer Belly’s. T and Nollind did go one more time, but it was at the end of a ride to Dripping Spring that would have been too long and hot for me. I’m okay with it. There will be other dog-friendly bars and patios, and I’m sure we’ll be back at Q one day.

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Apparently, the chairs inside are smaller, but this one would be perfect for me (with a boost). No more spilling out!

The weather has turned cooler which has meant a little less time hanging outside at this camp. In fact, one day T and Nollind didn’t leave the trailer other than to take us for a walk. If you ask me, they’ve gotten soft, and I’m a little worried how they’re going to fare back home in Alberta. Okay, mostly I’m worried I’ll never get outdoors! But, they have more clothes there, warm clothes, so that should help. I might even willingly don a jacket (yes, you read that right) if the temps are still below freezing. I’ve shed my warm undercoat over the course of the winter.

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Chilly morning walk at Craggy Wash.

Anyway, I’ve gotten way off track from the pirate story. So I’ll just wrap this up with a, “Yo ho ho, ye landlubbers and scallywags! This son of a biscuit eater’s got to get back to the poop deck and give that freebooter the old heave-ho! Aaaarrrr!”