On Labor Day evening, I drove the girls and Finn about three miles up into the forest for a walk. I had avoided the forest all during the holiday weekend, knowing that there would be several "campers" who drive their motor homes up there, find a parking spot, and party with their ATVs and booze.

On the way up, we encountered this bull, cow and calf standing in the middle of the road. Cows and calves are a frequent sight (your tax dollars at work, giving ranchers cheap federal forest land on which to run their cattle and sheep wherever they please). They usually move out of the way fairly quickly, although the calves aren't the brightest of creatures and often just keep running in front of the car rather than following their mothers off the side of road and into the forest.

Bulls, however, are a rare sight, and are usually quite willing to just stare you down and make you wait until THEY decide they want to move. Luckily, this group of three was happy to move to the side of the road. I debated whether to stop to take a photo, as I didn't want to learn what sort of damage those horns could do to my car door.

I guess seeing the bull was an omen, of sorts.

I drove another mile to a spot I know is frequently used as a free campsite. I figured if someone was still there, I'd go elsewhere, and if not, I'd park there and walk the dogs along what it is a very nice stretch of dirt forest road with great views of the valley.

The spot was vacant, so I parked. But when I got out, I saw wisps of smoke rising from the fire pit. Idiots. They hadn't completely drowned their fire! I hate this, I hate the sort of people who are too lazy to take care of such a wonderful resource as this forest, who risk burning it down out of their laziness.

As I got closer, I became even angrier, if possible, when I saw the broken beer bottles, plastic pop bottles, smashed aluminum can, and who knows what else in the pit.

I used what little water I had with me - water meant for the dogs at the end of our walk - to drown the fire as best I could.

Then I let the dogs out of the car.

They all three, immediately, went for a spot about 10 feet away from this fire pit, at the base of a tree. By the time I noticed, they were all three eating something there. From past experience, especially with Maia, I knew this meant the campers had used this spot as a latrine. Ugh. I yelled at all three dogs to "Leave it!" but only Meadow obeyed. Maia and Finn were going to town.

I was able to grab Maia by the collar and lead her away. But Finn, quick pup that he is, started playing "You can't catch me!" and would dodge away from me, then run back and take a quick bite, then run away again.... I was losing it. I put the girls in the car and drove away so that I wouldn't do something to Finn that I would clearly regret later.

I assumed he'd follow after the car, given his on-going separation anxiety. But no, I guess the tasty treats at the base of that tree were far more enticing. I drove about a quarter mile down the road and parked. I walked back toward the campsite, calling his name; he came running. I got the girls out of the car and put Finn in. The last thing he did before I closed the back gate of the car was belch like some beer guzzling frat boy.


I took the girls for a walk down the road, away from Finn, to try to calm down. This whole episode was quick on the heels of many small life disappointments and irritations (like the start of hunting season), making it all the more trying. Finn's timing couldn't have been worse. And seeing how people damage the forest - breaking young trees as they back their big rigs into a primitive campsite like this - makes me want to cry. Actually, I did cry. I've been doing a lot of that lately, which simply isn't like me.

Meadow, good girl that she is, obviously realized I was sad and did a good job of cheering me up. She found an insignificant little twig in the road, picked it up and started prancing and playing. She got the intended laughs from me, and while I was still pissed at Finn, I felt better as we got back in the car and drove home.
I had some wine, and decided to have a better day the next day. This particular day ended up being full of both bull and shit.