Water Dog

I’ve never been that dog who leaps into water after a stick. Mind you, I’ve never been that dog who chases a stick on land. When Logan was around, I’d compete for whatever was being thrown for him to fetch, but with him went any fetch inclination I possessed.

Waiting on the Chuck. (California 2012)

I’m also not a big swimmer. I can swim. I will swim. But I don’t go into the water just to paddle around. Water is for cooling off. The hotter I am, the deeper I’ll go and the longer I’ll stay.

But I do love water. These days I get thirsty more quickly when walking or on a warm day, so it’s become key to my comfort, but even in my youth I was drawn to the cool, refreshing effect of water. I’d stand in it, lie in it, slurp it up, and swim if conditions warranted.

When it’s a hot day and the water is shallow … improvise. (Arizona in 2012)

So, whenever we go camping or road tripping, I always cast my vote for somewhere with a river, lake, or stream, and this past week’s adventure didn’t disappoint.

We started off at a little provincial recreation area called Maycroft. The name doesn’t tell you much. It could be just about anything anywhere, but is actually a small campground right next to the Oldman River. It was mid-twenties Celsius when we arrived, so I was initially disappointed to find we’d be perched far above the river. But no matter how steep the bank, there’s always a trail to water. T and Nollind spent the evening playing music for the Oldman, and I curled up in the soft, new, green grass. It’s so luxurious at this time of year.

After one perfect night, we were on our way to our intended destination, Beauvais Lake Provincial Park. You might remember we visited this same place last fall, spent Canadian Thanksgiving there. The coloured leaves are gone, but in their place are flowers, lots of them. Mostly carpets of these little yellow guys called Trout Lilies, but also some crocuses, shooting stars, and sunflowers. I’m not really a flower guy, but T sure likes them and had her big camera out taking pictures.

Me, I like the walking and the water. On Monday, our first full day at Beauvais, we did the trail that circuits the entire lake. It was a warm morning, and the trail is ten kilometres, so I was pretty happy to have the lake right there to drink from and dip into over the course of our three-hour hike.

A dip in Beauvais after our hike.

On Tuesday, we ventured into Castle Provincial Park and found more water. A lake called Beaver Mines, and a river called Castle. There are a bunch of places to camp in this park and a long list of hiking trails so we definitely plan to return. If any of you have visited, I’d love to hear about your favourite campgrounds and trails.

We were scheduled to travel home on Thursday, but a bright red banner showed up on the Environment Canada website Wednesday morning causing T and Nollind to reconsider.

I know how they hate to give up a paid-for night of camping, and also hate being chased by weather, but they decided to leave a day early and avoid travelling in snow. Me, I was fine with the decision. I love water less when it’s falling from the sky, preferring to get wet on my own terms.

Rest stop on the final morning’s hike up Piney Point.

So, camping adventure number two for the season is in the book (literally … there’s a book). Three nights at Dinosaur, one at Maycroft, and three at Beauvais make seven nights I’ve claimed my space on the people bed. They used to have me up for evening cuddles before sending me to my own bed, but aging has its perks. And I’ve learned to keep to my space, not move around too much, and not freak T out by trying to get down in the middle of the night and crashing (yes, it happened).

Nothing quite like mountain water.

As for where we’ll go next? Well, your guess is as good as mine. As long as there’s water and a space on the bed for me, I’m game for just about anywhere.

Just Another Day on the Prairie

Back in 2011, when Logan and I started the Chico’s & Logan’s Great Adventures blog, we were just setting out on a five-month trip with our peeps, travelling by truck and fifth wheel trailer. It was all so exciting. Keep in mind I was just two with a fairly narrow life experience to that point. That trip opened my eyes to what a big and wondrous place is the world.

From enormous sand dunes to rolling blue water that went farther than my eye could see. From palm trees to giant cactuses. From the noise and lights of Las Vegas to the quiet, starlit nights in the Arizona desert. It was a journey of contrasts, new experiences, and adventures. We never lacked for stories or fun photographs to share.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and sleep more these days, or it could be the pandemic that’s kept us home a lot and other people away, but life is just not feeling very blog-worthy lately. How is an old dog living on a farm in Alberta the stuff of exciting stories?

T tells me not to worry, that all writers go through periods of low inspiration, that I still have stories to tell. I sure hope so, because I’ve so enjoyed my life as a blogger, sharing my adventures with all of you. And I hope that it doesn’t come down to sleeping, eating, barking, walking, and pooping! Although, now that I consider this list, I think I’ve blogged about all of those things. :o)

The planned adventure to celebrate a big anniversary I mentioned in my blog post two weeks ago didn’t happen. So, when last Fur-iday came along and I was still just hanging out at home, I couldn’t muster up the energy to blog about anything. Why no anniversary adventure you might ask? Well, it snowed. In fact, April generally seemed to want to be winter this year, which is usually March’s gig.

I tried to get Storm to write something this week, but he’s spending all his time seeking out blades of green grass. The horses are a little crazy for the stuff at this point in the season after eating dehydrated food all winter. But he did send along this photo, since he promised a coat update when he blogged back in March and he’s committed to an update from the field next Fur-iday.

Storm’s end-of-April look. Tune in next month …

From what I hear, I’m not alone in my current lack of general enthusiasm. Between the pandemic and the weather, many are feeling weighed down. But I am ever optimistic that spring is here to stay, that the next adventure planned for just over a week from now will go ahead, and that very soon things will turn a corner on this pandemic. We all just need to hang in there a little longer.

In the meanwhile, on this Fur-iday morning on the last day of April, I think I’ll take a nap in that sunbeam over there.

Virtual Boondocking

As you probably know, the Canada-US border has been closed to nonessential traffic since March, but until recently, it didn’t have much of an impact on my life or the lives of my humans. We don’t typically travel down that way until late fall or early winter.

But now, as the weather gets colder and snow covers the ground and T walks by the sad, parked trailer on her way to feed horses every day, I know she feels it. It’s not just for the avoidance of winter my peeps travel south, although that’s a huge benefit, but for the trailer time, the boondocking in the desert, the days being distilled down to the very basics of life.

This will be the third winter in a row we’ve not travelled south, for various reasons, and I know that T and Nollind miss the desert and all the many cool places we camp. So, I’ve put together a little virtual boondocking tour of some of the favourite places we’ve parked over the years.

Our first-ever boondocking spot at the Kelso Dunes in the Mojave National Preserve, CA.

For those not familiar with the term boondocking, according to Campendium (a terrific website to search for campsites of all kinds) it’s this: “Boondocking is the opportunity to camp off-the-grid, far from the services and amenities that can be found at RV parks or developed campgrounds. It’s a quieter way of camping, one that often lands us in beautiful destinations for days or weeks at a time.”

We do a lot of boondocking when we’re south because there are just so many scenic, lots-of-elbow-room places to set up camp. So, sit back, put your feet up, grab a cup of tea or a foursies cocktail (depending on when you’re reading this), and enjoy the tour!

Fortuna Pond near Yuma, AZ. The people in the rigs beside us became good friends.
We camped with them at Ogilby Road in SE California a few years later.
Near Bouse, AZ.
Clark Dry Lake near Borrego Springs, CA.
Craggy Wash near Lake Havasu, AZ.
Saddle Mountain west of Phoenix. It was a km to our nearest neighbour.
Telephone Cove on Lake Mohave near Laughlin, NV. That’s our white box in the middle of the lakefront row.
Vulture Peak near Wickenburg, AZ. It was green that year!
Snowbird Mesa near Overton, NV.
Stewart’s Point on Lake Mead, not far from Las Vegas, NV.
Cibola National Wildlife Refuge near Blythe, CA.
Whitney Pocket, near Mesquite, NV.

We’ve travelled to the southwest deserts five winters now, and only one place has been on the list of stops for all five trips — Quartzsite, Arizona.

In any direction, there are plenty of places to camp around Quartzsite, and plenty of elbow room.
Plomosa Road north of Quartzsite.
Scadden Wash east of Quartzsite.
Dome Rock west of Quartzsite.
Another Dome Rock stay.
And yet another. Yes, we like Dome Rock.
And, no matter where we camp, always the desert’s evening show.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual boondocking tour of the southwest deserts. If it doesn’t make T dissolve into a puddle of tears, I might take all y’all wandering again!