Camping With the Dogs

While I was out there pushing my bike all over God knows where, Kristin was hiking with Kimo and Annana up the Esmeralda Basin trail to Lake Ann. Along the way they came across a pair of mountain bikers sitting on the side of the trail taking a breather. The dogs, noticing the bikes, immediately ran up to them perhaps thinking I was with them.

"Don't worry, they're friendly. They probably think you're my husband and his friends." Kristin said to the guys. They asked if I was with the group they saw up ahead, to which she told them no and explained that I was doing the 5 or 8 drainages ride and might be back up this way later in the afternoon.

One of the guys had a puzzled look on his face, as if he was trying to remember an old friend's name. "Walsh?"

"Yeah, how'd you know?"

"We read his ride reports, you must be Kristin."

She tells me she was shocked.

I'm not sure who these two guys were, Kristin said their names were Carey and Jeremy (If you're reading this guys, I apologize if I misspelled your names) and it was uncertain whether they've seen my ride reports on the BBTC listserve or here on RG, but nevertheless, thanks for reading and for tolerating my dogs sniffing you while you were trying to catch your breath. And to think you guys even remembered Kristin's name from the ride reports; that's impressive. You guys rock! Hope you had a good ride on Saturday. Actually, if you were doing the Esmeralda loop, it'd be impossible not to have a good day.

So, anyway, Kristin and the dogs continue their climb towards Lake Ann and Kristin tells me she noticed a really funny thing about the dogs -- they can appreciate a good viewpoint. Whenever she stopped on the side of the trail to take a breather, the dogs would sit down momentarily but they wouldn't lay down. They would instead just look at her, as if to suggest that they should really keep going. But, whenever they reached a viewpoint and it really was a time to stop and enjoy the view, the dogs would immediately lay down and stretch and stare off into the distance. Without any prodding from Kristin, the dogs immediately recognized that they had reached a destination and that it was time to enjoy the view. They would just lie down facing the scenery and kind of look around smiling. It's almost as if they're thinking the same thing we are, "Yes, this is worth the effort of getting here."

Saturday night, back at camp, the dogs were exhausted. They had hiked about 10 or 11 miles of pretty steep, rocky terrain and were lying on the ground sleeping. They were each on a ten-foot leash attached to the wheel of my truck. Suddenly, a chipmunk runs between them and dives into a burrow under the truck. The dogs spring to life and immediately begin running half-circles back and forth around the truck to try and find the chipmunk. Kimo, our male, dives under the truck in hopes of finding it but he cannot. Kristin and I watch as the two dogs run back and forth around the truck in search of finding the wily critter. Finally, after an hour or so Annana goes back to sleep while Kimo continues to look for it. Yet, eventually, he too falls asleep.

The chipmunk had been hiding out in a hole under the truck for over two hours, apparently waiting for our dogs to fall asleep so it can make a run for it. But when it did Kimo and Annana immediately sprang awake and dove at the truck as the chipmunk made its breakaway. The chipmunk got away, but only Annana was smart enough to realize that there was no catching it. She went back to sleep within minutes. Meanwhile Kimo continued to do a perimeter search of the truck. He looked under it, around it, and even tried to crawl underneath it. We thought he would just give up, but over an hour later Kristin noticed that he was standing in front of the truck with his snout buried in the front grill of the truck. From there he went to the wheel well and craned his head up and over the tire to see if the chipmunk might possibly be hiding in the suspension. It wasn't. We all saw the chipmunk get away, yet Kimo was determined. Kristin and I laughed hysterically as Kimo walked back and forth trying to sniff out the chipmunk from within the wheel well and the grill of the truck and even under the front bumper.

Later on that night, about an hour or so later, it was time to put the dogs in the truck for the night. We take the rear seats out when we go camping and lay down a couple of blankets inside it for them. This way they're out of the elements and safe from animals and people. Annana jumped right in, curled up, and was asleep within minutes. Kimo, on the other hand, climbed into the truck, sat on his hind legs, and stared straight down at the floor of the truck. He seemed to believe the chipmunk was still under the truck, just inches beneath him. Laughing at him. We laughed about it and figured he would soon go to sleep but twenty minutes later when we were walking past the truck to use the outhouse, we noticed Kimo was still sitting upright staring at the floor of the truck. Somewhere in his mind there was a chipmunk having the last laugh and it was clearly driving him mad. But it gave us one hell of a laugh.

Finally, the next day, I was out riding the Esmeralda loop with the guys from the Arrogant Bastard team and during our final descent on the De Rouxe Creek trail, we came up on Kristin and the dogs. They had hiked up to Gallagher Head Lake and were about halfway back to the trailhead when we passed them. Unfortunately for her, we caught up to them on the steep switchbacks. The dogs were really glad to see me and ran up and start licking me which was cool. Once the other guys caught up, I said my goodbye and headed down the trail. The trail soon switchbacked sharply and within a minute or so I was directly below Kristin and the dogs. They saw me down there, got excited, and promptly started to run straight down the hill after me. Good thing Kristin has a strong grasp on the dogs and could dig in with her boots, because she almost got taken for a ride. Or should I say a drag?


Anonymous said...

Doug, I'm Cary from the "Camping with the Dogs" blog entry and the Esmerelda loop. I hadn't checked out your blog in while, so imagine my surprise when I see my name in there!

I know all about your adventures from recently finding your blog and seeing your rides, photos, etc. on various BBTC pages (don't worry, I'm not dangerous and most people don't find me creepy). I even knew you guys would be out that day, but certainly didn't expect to see you or Kristin.

I enjoy reading about your rides. I did the Flying Wheels Summer Century also. Took me 5:40, however I did a fair amount of drafting...and a lot of pace setting too, for that matter. I too like to ride mountain and road and hit the hills pretty hard.

My real love is high country MTB rides. I was out with my old friend Jeremy that day we met Kristin. She remembered our names very well! Jeremy and I have been riding together since the early 90s when we were both bike mechanics at the same shops, and have been riding ever since (notwithstanding breaks for school, birth of my daughter, home remodels....yadda, yadda, yadda)

After some years away from the MTB (for above mentioned reasons) I've been riding a lot again. I used to spend all my days off and vacations doing big MTB and road rides. That's why its fun to read about your Trans Rockies quest and preparations.

I re-joined BBTC last year after some time away and although I've been riding a lot, haven't managed to make any of the big rides with Igor, you, Borneo or others who like the big days out. I will make a point to do so! You guys sound like the kind of masochists I like to ride with. I'll tell you about the Klone Peak Epic I put together years ago. Let's just say it finishes with 25 miles of singletrack, mostly downhill (top of Klone to the lowest point of the Mad River trail).

Anyway, hope to meet you on a ride one day this summer.

Over and out,

Cary Westerbeck

Doug Walsh said...


Thanks for writing. Sounds like you and I have a bit in common. Definitely look for my rides on the BBTC listserve. I'll be sure to post a few for September to some of my favorite spots. Do try and come along if you can.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, September is an outstanding riding month. Warm weather, few or no bugs, snow is melted. I'm planning a 3-day weekend of riding and camping in the Methow Sept. 14-16 if I can recruit takers. I may post on BBTC to get the numbers up. We'd ride Angel's/Cooney, Starvation Mtn loop, maybe Tiffany.

Just something to keep in mind.