Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Journal Day 6 (Getting Less Lost, Vaseline Popcorn, and Maya)

My hike to the lake today left me feeling like an idiot. As usual I put Maya on the lead so she wouldn't wander after me and headed up the hill for my shortcut. Again, there were no new bear track. I descended the hill and followed the fire road to FR147, and FR147 to the lake.

On the way back, I wound around the forest road until I got to the culvert with the Mountain Dew and Bud Light litter. On this occasion, the area looked more familiar than it ought to.

Curious, and no longer worried bears were going to molest Miss Maya, I decide to explore a little bit. I turned and headed up the primitive road. It led to my camp. I have been doing a big circle around the forest on FR147 before following it to the lake. On the way home, I've been blowing right past the turn to my camp to travel around and come up the back way. I'll need to look on a map to figure out exactly how this works.

I've always prided myself on my sense of direction in the wild, this is humbling and a bit embarrassing.
I should be able to knock nearly an hour off the trip from now on.


Maya and I agree, Zataran's Dirty Rice Mix is excellent camp food, even without the meat. Shoulda known Louis Armstrong wouldn't steer us wrong. Saw a lot of Grasshoppers today. Maybe tomorrow we'll roast some up.


Elk due east fifty yards.

Speaking of food and all, lets say you find yourself in the woods with five pounds of popcorn and no oil. A little dab of Vaseline from the first aid kit will do just fine. You don't even taste it. I assume it's safe enough, I saw my sister give a spoonful of the slippery stuff to my niece once for constipation.


Maya has been more active tonight. Her pads are looking much better. We went for several walks tonight through the thick pine needles and she seemed unfazed when we hit gravel. Tonight, with the last rays of sun, she headed toward the warmth of the tarps as she usually does. Halfway there she stopped and gave me a look to see if I was following, like I was crazy to be out in the cold. It occurred to me that she might not understand fire means warmth. I called her back and fixed her blanket by the hearth. She dug it, and later, wasn't so eager to go to the tarps.

I worry so much about her. I know our time together is growing short. About five weeks ago, I returned home to find a growth the size of a tomato protruding from her girlie parts. She didn't seem bothered by it as much as I was. Not knowing what else to do, I wrapped my hand in Saran Wrap and gently pushed it back in. The next day we saw a vet. It's cancer. I wish I had known, but if female dogs aren't fixed, the vet told me, they almost always end up with reproductive cancer. They said it's not a good idea to try and operate because of her age. 

So far, the tomato has not made another appearance. I'm hoping for the best.

Maya came to me in the desert when she was only 5 weeks old. A nearby rancher had lost her. He said her mother was a Labrador and her father was a Coyote who had an ongoing, seasonal relationship with the lab. He said this wasn't the first litter they produced. Maya was the runt, and the others kept tossing her out of the box. He said I should keep her, otherwise he feared she would be harmed by her litter mates. 

I didn't want a dog. Being a fugitive isn't a stable profession, but I couldn't resist.

She was raised on the desert and mountain trails in and around Tucson. We'd been in the city for years. Its good to be back out where we were both happiest. When she is gone, I don't know what I'll do. All these years, I've had to take care of myself and remain free so I could take care of her.

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