This morning, the lovely Alicia and I set out with the pups for some hiking action at the always interesting Dungannon Heritage Preserve. As I’ve documented in this blog before, the “interesting” aspect of this particular spot largely comes in the form of either poorly marked trails or marked trails that seemingly measure 5-7 feet in total distance. Despite prior misadventures, this is a spot that always leaves you coming back for more with its serene setting, intermittent “Hills Have Eyes” backdrop, and general lack of foot traffic.
That last point–the general lack of foot traffic–is a big selling point for myself and the lady when it comes to this spot and to hiking spots in general. Why? Well, one of our dogs is an asshole.
That one dog is Achilles, and more specifically he’s dog aggressive. Not to the point of trying to tear the flesh off any unsuspecting pooch, but rather to the tune of engaging in such behaviors as barking ferociously at any dog within 250 feet, attempting to lunge at fellow canines that come near him, and generally just being a pain in the butt for his owners and any other humans should he come near any other versions of man’s best friend (with the one exception, of course, being his little brother, Pete, whom he has largely learned to bear being around…mostly). Who would have thought so much hate for his fellow canine could come from such a fluffy and seemingly innocent pup?
In any case, Achilles’ hatred of his own species serves as a useful backdrop for Epic Hiking Fail #1. Fail Numero dos is more self-explanatory and universally understood…
Epic Hiking Fail #1:
Remember how I mentioned that good ol’ Dungannon Heritage Preserve is partially so great because no one else goes there? Well, that was far from the case today!
As soon as we had meandered but a mere 50 yards onto the trail, two pups came bounding towards us unleashed and seemingly unsupervised. As anticipated, this sent “A-hole Achilles” into a frenzy–barking like a madman, pulling against his leash every which way, whining, etc. As Alicia corralled Achilles and Pete back towards the car, I cut off the two approaching pups and spoke to them telepathically using my BeastMaster skills. Ok, not really. I actually just kneeled down and pet them, but that was effective enough at distracting them to give Alicia enough time to retreat.
However, all the time in the world couldn’t prevent another four dogs from coming up the trail behind the initial two pup brigade! These guys were also all unleashed and bounding free as they were led by a man that could best be described as an aging, borderline homeless Santa Claus on an old cruiser bicycle.
Luckily, ol’ Saint Nick really was a saint of a guy and was understanding of Achilles’ asshole tendencies. I took young Pete and let him sniff and be sniffed by a few of Santa’s reindogs while Alicia kept the problem child off to the side and out of any bad mojo. Our new friend even told me of a gentleman who often hikes in Dungannon with a “pit mix that would be a great playmate for Pete”. I guess I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for this other mystery man…
With a “Ho, Ho, Ho”, ol’ Whitebeard rounded up all his faithful helpers into the bed of his flatbed truck (the sleigh is clearly too conspicuous), and off they sped to deliver further smiles and cheer. While Alicia, Achilles, Pete, and myself headed back onto the trail and towards…
Epic Hiking Fail #2:
What transpired next can best be described as a very unfortunate and extreme case of “user error”. Achilles, having gotten his GI tract all worked up during a near run in with a pack of his furry mortal enemies, soon had to take care of business upon getting back on the trail. Thus, he popped a squat and dropped a deuce (fitting since this is the second fail of the day). Ok, nothing unusual about this scenario yet.
Next, Alicia (with her history of very questionable dexterity) opted to move the now delivered “package” far off the trail rather than sacrificing a doggie poop bag (which have been in limited supply at our household as of late) out in the middle of the woods. She attempted to do so using a stick she broke off of a larger branch (which also seemed to be a bit of an adventure and perhaps a harbinger of things to come) and a “fling” method.
Now I did not witness what happened next but it seems to have transpired via a combination of fate and perhaps defiance of the laws of physics (a la the “Magic Loogie”).
In Alicia’s official statement, she stated that she “went to fling the poop and it went the wrong way”. Per her account, the fecal missile became airborne, struck her on her winter hat, and then rolled down the hat and into her hair!
This last part I was able to verify as an eyewitness: Poop in the hair!
So all in all, it was quite the epic day out on the trails.
If this is a glimpse into what 2014 has in store for us, it’s gonna be quite a year!