Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The final installment

Part Three: A River Runs Through It

In what should be the cutest installment of the series, I will now describe what my youngest dog, Leo, would probably call “canine torture”.

On day three of the respite from the city, Russ and I had acclimated to our environment. We had gotten used to the bugs, and even used to the noise of the “yeehooos” and the complete catalogue of AC/DC. We also coped with my accident prone nature…or the accidents I am prone to making in nature. On the first day, while sitting by the fire, I dropped a prong I was holding to cook hot dogs, and seared the meat of my hand in between my thumb and pointer finger. Russ hauled up to the store for first aid supplies. When the woman asked what had happened, he told her I had burned myself, to which she replied, “Well that was stupid.” Welcome to New York.

I digress. We had chosen a campsite close to the water in hopes that we could hear the water running or something like that. Not so much, but we were close to the mouth of a shallow brook where we could go wade. The third morning, we hiked down with the dogs and their stakes to dangle our feet in the river.

For those of you who don’t know, my dog Toby is my oldest dog. I have had him since my junior year of college. He is now blind and deaf. He is also fearless. Last year, he earned the nickname “Rocky” after he took on a pit bull down the street in order to defend my honor. Toby is a 15 pound Lhasa Shih Tzu, who has the personality of an elephant.

Leo, on the other hand, is more like Lambert the sheepish lion. When introduced to new stimuli, he responds by vibrating in fear. New stimuli include people walking down the street, harsh gusts of wind, car rides, and particularly unsettling grocery bags.

However, during this trip, Leo had been especially pleased that he was outdoors. He was free to follow Russ and I everywhere.

So, we grabbed the pups and walked down to the basin. Toby, of course, plodded along, though blind and deaf, as if he had been there a million times before. Leo, however, began his usual vibration, signaling to me his distress. Russ, being the good dad that he is, gently took Leo and dabbed his paw in the river. At the sight of the water, Leo immediately began a disjointed paddling. Toby began looking for a good spot to take a drink. Here is a photo of Leo on his way to looking like a drowned rat.

Here is a photo of Toby stalking around.

Leo was so terrified that I had to hold him by his harness while I placed him in water about 1 inch deep. When I let go, he bounded into my arms, and scrambled to get out. Russ and I kept close eyes on them so that they wouldn’t slip and catch their paws in the cracks of the rocks, since they are so tiny.

Also, I should tell you that I received a new name on the trip. Russ has taken to calling me “The Fire Maven”. From start to finish, I tended the hearth. I am a good hearth-tender. However, on the last evening, we finally called it quits when a spark singed my belly, causing me to jump up and wake up a sleeping Leo. The fire essentially told us to go home. It was time.

And so ends my three part installment of “Do New Yorkers S*** in the Woods? Yes”. I hope we have all learned some lessons:

1) Do not f-ck with fog.
2) Small towns are quaint and full of nice people no matter where you are.
3) Rednecks are everywhere.
4) Respect fire.
5) Dogs love the outdoors, except when they don’t.
6) Camping is always expensive.
7) Remember to camp every year, even when it is a pain in the ass. It is one of those things that builds character, but I have no idea why.

I leave you with a picture of the fire that singed my belly.