Tuesday, September 8
It’s our first morning at a boondock on Oak Ridge Road in Fishlake National Forest, Utah, and what is the first thing I see out the window of the Best Little Trailer?
I sneak out the door with my camera, leaving the crew inside.
What a contented sound they make!
It’s not a gobble, rather a soft murmur as they walk. “Yum, tasty seeds here, oh yes, I’ll have one of those crunchy bugs, yum, yum, yum . . . .”
I watch with wonder, standing in my nightshirt, ignoring the chill.
The sunbeams haven’t cleared the ridge yet. The parade of turkeys makes its way up the slope and over the other side.
Okay, before you leave will somebody stop chowing down for a sec and look at this lens please?
Well, readers, there you have it. Turkeys in the morning. Remember the big boy in full display that visited our camp at Ivey Creek not far from here? I used that photo for a Thanksgiving card to you last year.
Click and see: What a handsome fellow!
Bridget and Reggie commence barking.
“All right, you can come out now!”
Before letting Reggie out the door, I put him in his camo suit and snap him on the tether. He’s anxious to survey the perimeter of our camp due to my break in the routine, sneaking out without him and the Bridge, and plus it’s his job.
Suddenly he goes ballistic!
Can’t blame him. He hasn’t been awake but a few minutes and he’s confronted with this.
Oh, my. Big bossy.
She turns her attention to the nine pounds of barking bravado in front of her. Reggie stands on his back legs, straining against the tether, hurtling what I imagine are some pretty scathing canine threats . . What, Reggie? Gonna’ punch her in the nose? Bite her titties?
The cow reacts with the classic, bored bovine stare, then slowly walks away, following the route of the turkeys.
I pick him up.
His little body shivers with adrenaline.
“Wow! You told her where to go! She doesn’t want to mess with The Reggie Man!”
Meanwhile, Bridget, a veteran boondocker used to cows, has sat watching Reggie’s drama play out. She pays little attention to the big, black visitor. . .
I carry Reggie inside and tuck him under the comforter.
I lift Bridget up on the bed to join him. I light the burner under the percolator and proceed to cook the crew’s chicken breakfast.
Soon Bridget is gobbling the tender morsels on her plate. Reggie takes one sniff at his and turns away, his head hanging.
What a sensitive boy. That cow encounter was too much for him, too early in the day.
“That’s okay, Reg,” I reassure him as I pick up his plate. “You can have it later.”
Again I tuck Reggie and Bridget in bed. I sit between them and open the laptop to blog while they nap.
Later the crew and I go for our morning walk.
Reggie has recovered and is excited to explore a new day!
At the close of a lazy afternoon around camp, the crew and I take another walk, as is our daily custom.
We don’t go through the woods for our last walk of the day. Dusk is when wildlife become most active. Instead we walk up the wide road. Across a broad meadow, two turkey vultures drift in circles over the treetops.
I bend down to pat Bridget.
“You’re keeping a good pace today, aren’t you, Bridgie.”
A raptor makes a few, low passes over our heads.
I bring the crew in close. (Later I check my National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Western Region and identify the raptor by its under-wing pattern. A red-tailed hawk.)
We continue to enjoy a pleasant walk until we come around a curve in the road.
“Forget it, Reggie. Let’s go back to camp. It will be dark soon anyway.”
Reggie readily agrees. He sprints down the road ahead of Bridget and me.
That evening Reggie is awakened by strange noises outside the Best Little Trailer.
His white globe of a head pops up out of the covers. In the dark I see two big black circles above his nose. Another howl. Reggie looks around warily.
“Those are coyotes.” We listen together as the howling comes closer. Bridget doesn’t wake up. I make out the shape of Reggie’s ears, in the dark, silhouetted against the window glass and alert to every howl.
I pull him close.
“Don’t worry, little guy. Just more creatures who live in the forest.” I stroke his cheek. “You learned a lot today, didn’t you, Reg? A lot about becoming a boondocking dog. I’m very proud of you, you know. You’re such a brave dog. You’re turning into a great boondocker. . . .”
I ramble on and on in a low, soft voice.
After a while the coyotes move away. Reggie falls asleep with his chin resting on my shoulder near my face. I doze off to the lullaby of his breathing.
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