Friday, August 8
The crew and I feel like going somewhere!
Rather than wander aimlessly, I search my map for a destination. I pick a campground tucked in the mountains to the east of our camp, and soon the Perfect Tow Vehicle carries Bridget, Spike and me on another excursion.
The rabbit brush is in bloom all over the rolling plain around our camp at Boulder Lake, Wyoming.
After a time they take on a golden hue, followed by deep mustard. The blooming rabbit brush, set among the grey of boulders and the pale green of sage, create rock gardens on both sides of the road.
We drive south of Boulder Lake, emerge from the sea of rabbit brush and sage, and turn eastward onto Route 353.
This route takes us past ranches.
The main house on these ranches is usually positioned back from the main road. That way, one goes through an arch… not really an arch, usually two massive timbers with a cross bar, some made of fancy metal work.
One drives under the name of the ranch to get to the house. The enormity of this Wyoming countryside and its ranches makes a driveway more than that. It’s a road and needs to be well marked. Often the brand is proudly displayed on the entrance structure.
Our destination is Scab Creek Campground.
“Gee whilikers, Vern, we need a name for this here crick. Whatcha’ think we oughtta call ‘er?”
“I dunno, Clint,” Vern replies, scratching the scab on his chin. “She shur is a purty thang.”
“Will you quit scratchin’ that scab! I’ve watched you scratch that ugly thang all the way from Cheyenne and up this here mountain!”
Clint’s horse nods his head and whinnies in agreement.
“I got it!” announces Vern excitedly, whipping off his hat and slapping his thigh with it for emphasis. “How ’bout Scab Crick?”
Clint looks at the creek and then looks at the grinning Vern.
“Tell ya’ what, Vern. If you’ll stop scratchin’ that miserable face of yours, we’ll call ‘er Scab Crick.”
Many years later, Clint’s great-grandson is working for the Bureau of Land Management. Carefully he considers possible names for the campground.
“I know! We’ll name it ‘Scab Creek Campground!’ Whatcha’ think?”
Ranger Vern scratches his chin.
“Yeah, Scab Creek . . . Scab Creek Campground. I like it.”
“Out you go!” Bridget and Spike hop out.
I read the notices on the board and examine the map of the trails posted there. I peruse the registration book. Bridget is enjoying herself. Where’s Spike?
The sight of him stabs me in the heart
Spike isn’t having a good day. Instead of happily snooping and sniffing around the area like he usually does, he’s lying in the shade of the vault toilet building watching us.
Oh, no. Another mile marker on that road I don’t want us to go down . . . .
I walk over to Spike, gently pick him up, and carry him back to the PTV. I place him on the quilt on the bench seat.
“That’s okay, Spikey. We don’t have to go for a walk.”
I give Bridget a few minutes to investigate the smells on the bushes, all the while tenderly stroking Spike’s back.
Bridget skips over to where I’m standing at the side door.
“You ready to go, little girl?” She hops in and I close the door.
I slide into the driver’s seat, fold my arms on top of the steering wheel, and stare, unseeing. Images of the years with Spike come to mind. Where did the time go? Dammit, where did it go?
I drop my head on my arms and cry. To heck with the campground. I want to go home.
I turn the key in the ignition. “Okay, crew. Let’s get this show back on the road.”
We roll down the mountain and drift across the wide-open, Wyoming plain.
I walk down to the lake. Bridget tags behind. Spike watches us go from his favorite spot under the Best Little Trailer.
At the beach I sit on a boulder and Bridget wanders around in the sand. The soft sound of the breaking waves soothes me. We’d better not stay down here long without Spike . . .
“Oh look! Here comes Spikey!” I rush to greet him. “We missed you, sweetie! I’m so glad you’re here!”
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