I’ve always loved mountains and everything that goes with them — hiking, flannel shirts, fire pits — you name it.
We had just moved to Colorado Springs and I was so excited. I would reinvent myself. I’d hike every day, talk with people about the price of firewood, maybe get a jeep with a winch (or at least understand what that is.)
My dearest friend from my hometown lived in “the Springs”, as I was now privileged to call it, and she soon invited me for a hike. This is it, I thought. This is the day I become a real mountain woman.
I’d bought a new backpack and stuffed it with jerky and granola bars and trail mix. This, I reasoned, must be what Colorado people eat.
I wore new hiking shoes and overpriced shorts from REI. Life is a stage, after all, and my setting would be the Rocky Mountains.
It was a gorgeous sunny morning, the kind I imagined they wait for to shoot Coors beer commercials. Pines were backlit by the sun. Waterfalls sparkled and seemed to say, “You’ve arrived. Now get out there!”
Lynn pulled up in her Jeep with two enormous dogs in the back. True confession: I’m not what you would call a “dog person.” I dislike sudden noise, being jumped on, and finding uninvited wet noses in my crotch. I’m sure it’s shortcoming on my part and I’m working on it.
Still, I was determined to have a good time so I ignored them and hoped they would extend me the same courtesy.
We went to an amazing aspen grove surrounded by high jagged mountaintops. The winding trail was sun-dappled and magical. The dogs ran ahead, coming back to check on us but having their own fun. Mercifully, they found me not the least bit interesting (which is fine. I get that a lot.)
Every turn brought a new breathtaking vista. I was enjoying my Rocky Mountain High completely. This, I thought, is the bliss I’d been seeking.
Suddenly my friend said, “Oh no. Daisy ate some shit.” I thought her language seemed unnecessarily colorful until I ascertained that this creature did, in fact, consume feces — her own or that of the other one, I don’t recall learning.
She checked that her fur baby wasn’t wearing any of this canine waste and then regaled me with a story about a dog once eating a used tampon and later pooping it out. It was a very educational day.
We finished our hike and made our way back to the Jeep. This was the old-school primitive kind so the dogs were in very close proximity, just behind the two seats. I hoped they would lay down, preferably facing away from us.
But no. The snacker, dung on its breath, hovered a giant head between us and, with an impressively long tongue, exhaled excrement with every pant.
I surreptitiously rolled down my window and leaned as far to the right as possible, trying to breathe some poop-free air as we careened down the mountainside, my stomach lurching.
Just as I thought I might make it back home without becoming seriously ill, my friend said, “Cindy, could you roll up that window? It’s a little windy on the dogs.”
Seems I had one more lesson to learn that day: Turns out there’s such a thing as Rocky Mountain lows too.