The continued misadventures of May

Trailblazer in training

Finally, an opportunity for a weekend escape! We headed to beautiful Cooper’s Rock State Park in West Virginia for a weekend of fun and frivolity with family. With Covid vaccinations completed, we rolled, unmasked, towards our next great adventure. We had big plans for turning our 3-month-old Labrador into a trail guide, which we knew would be a tad challenging since, simply taking her for a walk, entails dragging her around the neighborhood. We got Gypsy settled into her soft-sided crate for a ramble down the road. (This actually worked quite well for making her feel safe, while containing her movement.) At this juncture we were carefree, cock-eyed optimists.

Our exuberance began to fade when we approached our campsite. The one-way streets within the camping loop made it impossible to approach our site at an angle that would allow us to back in. After circling around and narrowly missing a ravine, we were able to get situated well enough that we could begin to back in. As we engaged reverse, we could feel the tow bar spear the hill behind us. It was as if our motorhome was harpooning a whale. We had to disassemble the towing mechanism in order to back in to the site. Let me rephrase that. My husband had to detach the whole mess because I had to hold on to a puppy who was having intermittent bursts of insane energy while trying to eat gravel, twigs, pinecones, weeds and insects.

It was 90 degrees outside and the pollen count was out of control. My poor husband sneezed, wheezed, coughed and continually rubbed his red eyes. He went inside to escape the heat only to discover that the brand new, under original warranty, air conditioner did not work. He continued to grapple with his allergies, and Gypsy continued to chomp on charred wood and gobble up gravel.

Almost Heaven, West Virginia.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

Gypsy did extremely well on the trails but much preferred being unleashed. Fortunately, the foot traffic was light and we were able to let her run free for a while. She leapt into streams, rolled in mud, and did her best Tazmanian Devil impersonation.

She was filthy, but a tired puppy is a good puppy.

I was determined to find the best hiking trails before my sister and my daughter arrived. We were going to spend the day in the great outdoors, getting some exercise and and enjoying the elevation changes, the vistas, and all of nature’s beauty. I laced up my trail running shoes, and a mile into my run I stepped on a rock and rolled my ankle. I knew when I heard the CRACK that the end result would not be good. I limped, gingerly, back to the RV, and immediately drove to an urgent care center.

On the positive side, we now have a new AC unit and (for the time being) the warranty work on Big Bertha is complete. The injury is merely an impediment. It may temporarily slow me down, but I will not be stopped. Too many roads to travel.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

2 thoughts on “The continued misadventures of May

  1. Ouch ! Two things that can strenghten your knees and ankles. When i run, I run for distance not speed. Started running a ‘Z’ pattern on roads and trails when possible which doubles the distance [with Gypsy on a long flexi lead]. If it’s a trail shared with bikers, run straight; you cannot do this fast but you can get into an easy rhythm. But since I started doing it, I have rolled my ankle a few times, get my bearings and start running again. My ankles and knees roll well with the punches of the trail. Another exercise which I forget the name of is foot lifts. Standing on a stair with a railing for support, place the front third of you foot on the step and do sets of 15 slowly lifting the back of your feet as high as you can and then as low as you can towards the flow. Do them slowly. A similar one I used to do in the gym was a seated version. I loaded 40-50 pounds of weights with the front third of my foot on about a three or four inch board, slowly raising then lowering the weight. You could do something similar seated with your foot on a log and instead of a weight, substitute one grandchild or Gypsy. You can still get hurt on a trail, but you will be far more likely to shake things off, start running again and be able to forget it even happened.

    Last year and this year I have seen far more trash being left at the campsites by newbie or as I call them Covid Campers. They didn’t start hitting parks to camp until Covid put the kibosh of traveling. Veteran campers like yourself and Geoff probably leave your campsite cleaner than when you arrived. Most long time campers do. At Pinchot I do most of my running on the beach and group camping area loop, although off season I hit all areas. This year I started jogging the campground once a week with a large bag and a grabber and essentially check each unoccupied campsite picking up trash. If I see something manmade [usually foil or plastic] that I could see a critter trying to eat, it goes in the bag. On weekends I usually run from the day use area trails to the dam and back [5-6 miles], and on one of those days I pick up trash hikers and families leave. After the campgounds closed last year I picked up roughly 30 bags of trash [an aquaintance of mine picked up roughly the same]. We had the grounds look good but after the hunters [who seem incapable of picking up a shotgun shell], dogwalkers and weekend walkers we each picked up an additional 30 bags each before the campgrounds reopened in mid-April.

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  2. [She] did her best Tazmanian Devil impersonation…HAH! I can just see it!
    Hope your ankle is doing better! I’ve done that many a time! Ouch!

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