My poor lovable pup has two strikes against him in the weight-management category: 1) His background as a Mexican street dog means he eats whenever and wherever he can get food. 2) He is primarily a Labrador and thus has no portion control. This also means he Hoovers rather than chews.
But now, I’ve added a third: 3) I, his owner and primary playmate, work out in a gym more often than outside.
These three factors add up to one thing: Wendell is chunky.
I didn’t want to believe it. Sure, he seemed a little bigger but it wasn’t until a friend visited last week and commented that I really accepted his growing waistline. So with summer quickly fading, I’ve been neglecting my gym membership in favor hiking around the woods while my dog unknowingly gets his heart rate up with me. However, these woods are new to me and on Saturday our hike became an interesting introspection on regulation.
I parked at the top of Casper mountain at the Beartrap Meadow trail head, and the first thing that struck me is how odd it is to drive up the entire mountain. Nevertheless, I started out on the Nordic trails eager to spend some time in tall trees. But then I got sick of going in circles.
Don’t get me wrong- I love loop hikes. But the 26 miles of Nordic Trails present themselves in a variety of small loops, and I wanted to hike in one direction for at least an hour. Roughly picking my way though various trails, I found myself confronted with “PRIVATE PROPERTY” signs just under an hour into the hike. While Wendell merrily trotted past the signs, I recognized my gun-loving county for what it is and turned towards technology for an explanation. The Google satellite with my GPS location pinpointed showed that I had l hiked to the far end of the park had nowhere to go but back. Sigh. And which way was back, exactly? Luckily, the magical arrow on my phone pointed in the right direction and I started choosing random, unsigned single track trails that would hopefully lead me towards the car.
I know someone who is ‘building trails’ for biking on Casper mountain. I’m not sure if this is entirely legal (my guess is not), but the county doesn’t exactly swarm this park with enforcement agents. Add in a healthy red-neck population who will squeeze a 4-wheel-drive vehicle any place said vehicle can fit, and the trails in this park have more variations than a Mexican climbing route. While I enjoy being able to bring my dog with me (something not allowed in National Parks), I resented the lack of clear trails and complete lack of signage. In Jackson, the National Parks in my backyard offered hiking for eight hours plus in one direction without encountering a road (dirt or paved) and only a few well-signed junctions. I loved that I couldn’t get too lost inside my head before a stunning vista or bear would jolt me back to the now. Now, my ‘now’ has too many marks of civilization, which is what happens when a place doesn’t have the supreme protection status of “National Park”. But having a National Park in your backyard is the exception, not the rule. And I’m no longer an exception. With ‘wild’ places such as this, it’s no wonder that life spans are shortening and obesity is on the rise.
Sewing how-to of the day: Make your own Pin Tucked Duvet Cover