Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hauling Ass

By mid-Monday morning all the locals had left, leaving me with the place to myself and a few park rangers who wave to me like I’m an inhabitant of the neighborhood.
The area I now inhabit is not the flat, sandy tropical place one might expect of Florida. The terrain is hilly with a mix of tall pines and hardwoods, more like The Smoky Mountains. The park’s only redeeming features are its hiking trails and an old plantation house the CCC dismantled and moved across the Apalachicola River back in the thirties, (as one who’s worked in the construction trade a long time, I find that incredible). With only one radio station, no TV reception and little else to do, I started hiking small sections of the trails at a time walking through the flat bottom land with its palmettos, swamps and standing water, then climbing the steep switchbacks, crawling uphill using tree roots for steps.
Sputnik, with terrier blood coursing through her veins, is a bundle of pent-up energy. She not only requires, but demands she get vigorous exercise every day. I could walk thirty miles with her and it would do her no good, she needs more than that or she drives me nuts. At my last stop I started to let her run beside my bicycle on lead. No matter how fast I rode, she always wanted to go faster, tongue lolling to the side, straining against her collar like a sled dog. I would finally quit pedaling and let her tow me along. She pulls way harder than should be physically possible for her twenty-four pounds. Fearing her neck would become bruised I bought her a harness to fulfill her insatiable need for strenuous activity. Since there are few places to ride the bike at this park, I decided to hook her to my belt with a d-ring and adopt her talent as a beast of burden to the hiking trails.
Yesterday, we walked about seven miles including the western loop of the Torreya trail, up and down steep hills, through longleaf pines and thick wooded jungle, (this place must be hell in the summer with heat and mosquitoes). I ran out of my two quarts of water and the hills kicked my old, flatlander ass. Today my legs and back are sore despite the fact that Sputnik towed me up the steepest hills, fulfilling her role, much like the Sherpa guide who short-ropes rich women up Everest. All in the name of vanity, so they can go home and tell all their rich friends they’ve summited.
Today I pack up once again, and move westward.


  1. Man, I'm so enjoying the continued tales of Travelling Man and Hound, the narrative is always enthralling with descriptive prowess deserving of a wider, well paying audience . . . hope you remembered the Nyquil whilst savouring the joys of the Walmart Emporium of Earthly Delights. Roll on my man.

    1. Yeah Whitey, it's kind of like watching Aunt Lidia's slideshow of her trip to Milwaukee.
      Among their line of fine products, WalMart has an ample supply of Nyquil.

    2. Didn't realise northern Florida was hilly like that Hermit, would really love to be able to do what you are doing and skin out and chase the spring with my dog's, I love Walmart me, all life is there, a microcosm of society, the good, the bad and the ugly, the constant beep, beep, beep of the checkout scanners, the soundtrack of consumers consuming, throw another bargain into the wire shopping trolley Duane, guns and ammo, Bud light, cd's, dvd's and tee-pee's, cheap t's, cream cheese and Dickies...........

  2. You're making me miss my old dog Pete. Sounds like some good times you two are having. When we used to rock climb out here, a friend of mine made up a harness for Pete...and he'd literally pull you up trails. Everyone wanted to 'walk' him in the hilly sections. Never having been to Florida, I'd never have guessed it wasn't all gators and swampland. Some fine looking woods, and a fine looking mansion.