Sunday, June 29, 2014

Camping Big Lost River Lower Campground - Part 2

Meet Bubba.
I am not certain exactly what kind of dog this guy is, but he is the coolest and most laid-back dog that I have ever met and I like the big lug very much.
Capp was there when Bubba was born, and pulled the umbilical cord from around the newborn pups' neck.
The birth had been difficult, and momma dog gave birth to one dead pup, one pup born with only three paws, and Bubba.
From the moment of birth, these two bonded and they have been together ever since.
Now 13 years old Bubba is struggling with many of the same hip problems that Jamie had last year.
Because Kory is so much younger she wants to energetically play with Bubba, and this big, slow, meandering, Cujo-knockoff begrudingly indulges the younger........for a while.
Until the old hips get weak, and until the back legs start to buckle just a bit, and then Bubba turns and lets out his low growl that warns "OK - enough kid!"
The first time I met Bubba was at his and Capps' home in Arco.
This big boy slowly lumbered over to me as I was standing beside the truck, promptly pushed his nose between my thighs, and just stood there.
A disconcerting greeting, I looked up at Capp in surprise and he told me that Bubba does that with everyone.  And he does.
He just stands there with his face buried until he eventually backs up for air, and then he looks up at you with that wide open and friendly face that implores you to pet him.
I like this sweet natured boy very much, and it is obvious that Capp and Bubba have been best buddies since that first moment of birth.
A (dog) lifetime of shared experiences with this one man.
Capp is a dog person much as LC and I are dog people.  There is love and respect and admiration and friendship in Capps' voice whenever he speaks about his black, furry companion.
There is also sadness and resignation in a man's voice when he speaks of Bubbas' advancing age and increasing hip problems, and LC and I know exactly how he feels.
It is a very sad and cruel joke played on humans, that dogs do not lives as long as WE do..............
After the perfect sunshine of Mud Lake and the watery sunshine of the campground in Mackay when we first arrived, the weather suddenly collapsed in on itself - it quickly became cold and all three of us reached for sweaters.  Within minutes after that it began to rain and we all grabbed for rain jackets.
It took all of 30 minutes to go from sunshine and warm, to overcast and cold, to pouring with rain.
At the end of 30 minutes the sun came out and the sky turned blue again.
That cycle of sun / cloud / cold / rain played out continuously throughout the rest of the afternoon.
We, in turn, spent the afternoon layering on and layering off clothing, trying valiantly (but only partially successfully) in keeping up with constantly changing weather.
I remember in Tennessee that the old joke was "if you don't like the weather just wait for 10 minutes and it will change".
Inflate that exponentially and you have some understanding of the weather in SE Idaho.
There was one afternoon we spent in Arco a couple of months ago where we saw it all - sun, warm, rain, sleet, hail, snow, sun again...........all in the span of a couple of hours.............
I had already walked the perimeter and walked each of the driveways within the campground with my dog, but I was restless and needed to move, and so we walked some more.
As we wandered, the same dog that had approached us in an aggressive manner earlier approached us again, still with the same pissy attitude.  The silly, ineffective and apologetic lady quickly bounced around the trees to apologize one more time, and as I smiled at her I thought to myself "it happens again lady, and that dog is getting a kick to the ribs".
I have a black belt in karate.  I can kick hard..............

There used to be a guy in Tennessee who lived close to M&M's house.  The first time I came across him I was walking a country road with Jamie (who was on leash).  
We had been having a very good and very quiet time together when suddenly Jamie turned in alarm.
A pit bull was crossing the front yard diagonally - running at full charge and heading straight towards us.
That dog meant one or both of us harm.  I had no doubt about that.  
As I watched him heading towards us I shortened Jamie's leash and pulled her closer to me, while reaching into my shorts pocket for the pepper spray.
The dog was within five feet of us when I heard the owner finally call the dog back.  The dog thankfully stopped, turned and returned to its owner.
The owner yelled "sorry about that" and turned back to his yard work as if nothing had happened.
The next day I was riding my bike without Jamie.
Same thing.  Exactly.  Right down to the same worded apology.  Even the same light-hearted tone of voice.
Perfunctory.  Without meaning.
After that second incident I realized something.  I was becoming the unwilling partner in a game.  A game to both to the owner and to the dog.
A power game.
A sick power game.
As the saying goes, the more I get to know people, the more I like my dog...............
I've seen it in Tennessee, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, all over the country and it always makes me smile.
If guys with guns are around, and metal signs are available, those signs are always fair game for target practice...............
While Kory played in the river for a few minutes, I sat on the bank beside the river, looking up at the rock wall in front of me.
It was an interesting and curious site to me, and I found myself studying its face.
If you look at something closely enough and long enough, you actually DO begin to see faces..............
I did a lot of long races over the years - 30 hr, 48 hr, 72 hr, 5 day.
In that time I had many hallucinations - the unfortunate (and sometimes entertaining) byproduct of continuous movement for prolonged periods of time without sleep.
As I looked at this huge wall of rock that towered silently in front of me, I remembered a race in West Virginia.
72 hour race I think.  We had been going non-stop for quite a while (more than 24 hours) - had trekked and navigated, and biked and paddled - and were again on foot.
It was morning and we were walking a trail with uneven rock bluffs to our left, much as this one was.
As our team trekked to our next checkpoint I had amused myself (translation:  trying to stay awake) by closely watching a small log that I was approaching.  It was laying unmoving in the middle of the trail and looked exactly like Daffy Duck.
As I got closer I kept watching it, and watching it, and watching it, because I was absolutely convinced that at any moment it would jump up and start talking to me in a Daffy Duck voice.
Suffering Succatash.
I needed to sleep.  
Suffering Succastash back at ya.
After bypassing the Daffy-log I looked to my left and saw the rock face.
I could see faces in it.  They were going to talk to me.  I KNEW they were.  They were going to talk to me in some slowly, raspy, very deep, Harry-Potter-movie voice.
I was way overdue to crawl under a bush on the side of the trail and sleep.................
Capp is one of those large-guy, large-personality, outdoing and gregarious kind of men.
He was a marine, but I am not certain whether he did his time and got out, or whether he put in his 20 and  retired, but that similar background was an immediate bond between LC and Capp.
He has called Arco home for a good number of years now.
Capp knows everyone in town, always has his post-it attached to something he wants or needs that he has accidentally happened upon in his travels, and is an excellent wood worker.
 Recently Capp discovered that he enjoys restoring old campers.
He once told me that he knows where every single vintage camper is located in the county (both the restored variety and the long-forgotten-and-discarded-in-the-back-field variety).  I don't doubt it.
He's good at it all.  Wrote a humorous book about the addiction that is vintage camper restoration.  Proudly (and rightfully so) enjoys showing off his first restored camper, which is a wonderful thing considering that he learned as he went....................
Stopping just long enough for Kory to bum a piece of bologna and cheese sandwich from LC, we continued moving.
I couldn't stop and I didn't know WHY I couldn't stop.
Refusing to become introspective re: the why, my dog was happy to keep moving with me, and this time (instead of turning towards the river and the aggressive mutt who was living on borrowed time), we turned left and wandered down the lane leading towards the two-lane highway that we had come in on.
At the end of the lane (and the entrance to the campground) I looked across the road at the mountains.
I love this area.  This whole water, green, mountains.......area.
And then I looked to my left.
How had I missed this when we drove in?
I started to make my way down to the grassy place under the trees where this make-shift memorial lay, and then immediately thought better of it.
Somebody had died here.  In this place.  And somebody (maybe a number of somebodies) had cared for this person.
It was not up to me to impose on that.
Momentarily introspective despite my best efforts, I looked down at my dog.
Crouching down to her I rubbed Korys' ears, kissed her on top of her furry face, and then got pulled off balance when she lunged forward.
My dog still needed to walk...................
Pictures taken on our take-our-time walk back to the camp site.
By the time we got back, the guys were gathering up their fishing poles and tackle boxes, and were preparing to head down to the water.
Good...........catch me some fish for dinner!!............
While the guys were gone I snapped these pictures of the outside of Capps' great little camper.
It was a buckled-metal, rotted lumber, piece of warped junk when he rescued it from in back of someone's house last year.  That someone cared nothing about the old camper and was happy to have someone just haul it off for him.
From an unloved and rapidly decaying metal shell, Capp restored it and then embellished it - making it into a very sweet and uniquely "Capp Camper".................
20 minutes after I left the guys at the river, LC came wandering back into the camp site alone.
He wasn't feeling well.
Dizzy.  Light headed.  Sick to his stomach.
He had tried to rest for a while inside our camper a couple of hours earlier, but there was a lot of noise throughout the campground and rest hadn't happened.
I hadn't realized it, but the last full day that we were at Mud Lake, LC hadn't rested then either.
Hadn't napped then.  Or today.
When LC was injured in the line of duty as a law enforcement officer it became necessary for him to find ways to rest and sleep.  Regularly.   And he hadn't done that it the last couple of days.
We had only eaten junk food since we got up that morning (muffins and the largest coffees we could find, and just an hour before fishing LC had eaten a bologna sandwich).
We'd try a protein, carbs and fat combination and see if that settled his system.
It didn't.
And so late in the afternoon we reluctantly but necessarily decided that it was time to just head for home.
We felt badly for leaving Capp to himself, but in truth I was not disappointed to leave the campground.  Too many dogs, too many people, too much noise.
The Big Lost River campground is so very beautiful.  
I would love to camp here late in the fall.
Or in the dead of winter.
When the world is beautifully stark and beautifully quiet again.  
When the world has finally slowed down enough to be able to curl up and peacefully sleep through the endless months of cold that we have in this part of our world.................
He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.... In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers" 

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