Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Race to Beat the Cold

Monday was supposed to be the last of our warm days before another cold front moved in, so I wanted to make the most of it.  It was 66 degrees on Monday and supposed to drop to 41 degrees on Tuesday.  I had planned to go on the first trail ride of the year, despite not having anyone home to help.  I was going to the canyon I'm familiar with and knew there should be other horse people around.

However, first I had to put a radon test kit out in the mail.  Long story short, homes in our area are testing high for radon, which can cause lung cancer (and I've had this unexplained cough for several months), so I wanted to get our home tested.  Considering that I've already been to the doctor and requested a chest x-ray, and he refused and just gave me antibiotics that didn't work, I figured I could get the radon levels of my home tested faster than I could get this arrogant doctor to give me the time of day.  However, there are all these rules on how to perform the radon test and how to mail it, so I couldn't postpone mailing it until after my trail ride.  I walked out to my roadside mailbox only to find out that the box didn't fit.  This meant I had to drive into town.

If I had to waste the gas driving into town, I may as well run a few more errands.  I could have had 20 young people in line in front of me and I would have gotten through the post office line faster than having the one older lady who I did have standing in front of me.  After arguing with the post office clerk for ten minutes about what time her mail comes in, she sent the clerk on a wild goose chase in the back room to dig through some mail that hadn't been sorted yet to locate something she wanted and could not wait to be delivered.  Yikes.

By the time I got home from my errands, it was time to feed the horses their lunch, and I knew I couldn't take Lostine on a trail ride while the other horses were eating.  She'd get really grumpy.  So, I fed all three, but knew it would take two hours for them to finish eating, and by then the cold front might start moving in.  So, I grabbed the dogs and took them to the canyon along with my GPS and some coordinates to 5 geocaches in the area.

The first geocache I had previously attempted to find.  It's a 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 in difficulty.  I made my second attempt to find it, but knew from the clue that you had to feel for it, because you wouldn't be able to see it with your eyes.  So, here I was standing on the side of the road feeling up everything in sight, and every time a car or bicyclist went past, I had to stop and pretend like I was reading a sign.  There were just too many people watching my strange behavior, so I gave up and headed up the trail.  Nothing really makes you feel as self-conscious as geocaching.

We got probably 50 yards beyond the poop disposal container and Scrappy had to take dump, sending us back down the hill with our doggy bag.  The next geocache was further than I've ever taken the dogs before, so I hoped they could hold out.  I stopped to let them rest and bring down their little heart rates.

When we reached the location of the geocache, I had a pretty good idea of where it was, but it required some feeling around and peering into crevices.  Before I could find it, two men came up from behind me and then just stood beside me.  I guess they thought I had picked a good place to rest.  I was like, "Ummm, hello?"

It was weird.  I'm a very attractive person.  By that, I don't mean I am a good looking person.  I mean I'm magnetic.  I never have to worry about getting lost in the wilderness, because if there is anyone within a five-mile radius of me, they will bump right into me.  They will be inexplicably drawn to me.  I think that's why I like to be alone so much -- because I always have strangers crowding into my personal space, even when I'm way up on a mountainside away from civilization.  I suspect these guys didn't even know why they were standing beside me.

A woman came by on horseback shaking her bear bells with a dog in tow.  I called out a greeting to her after greeting the two men.  She said hello and then took off at a lope with the dog nipping at the horse's heels.  I noticed that one of the men was watching me while I was watching the horse.  I was wearing a hat and sunglasses, and I got the feeling that the guy was trying to figure out how old I was, because he was young and probably single.  His behavior was a bit reminiscent of back in the day when shy men tried to ask me out on dates.  I wanted these hikers to leave so that I could find the geocache, but they wouldn't go.  Then I remembered that I have this problem in which every time I move, other people move at the exact same time and we get in each others way.

You know like when you are in the supermarket and someone gets right next to you with their cart, so that your two carts are blocking the aisle?  Then you move your cart to unplug the blockage, then they move their cart at the exact same time and stay next to you?  Happens to me all the time.  Even when I back up to get away from them, they find a reason to back up too.  Also, when I go out to parking lots, I'll find people sitting in their vehicles all around me.  I'll spend a few minutes loading my groceries into the trunk, return the cart to the store, get into my car, start the engine, and as soon as I start backing up, all the drivers who had previously been sitting around doing nothing suddenly decide that they have to back out at the exact same time as me, causing a traffic jam.

So, I moved away from the geocache, and sure enough, these two guys followed.  I turned to face them, and they walked around me, continuing up the trail.  I did find the geocache, but the guest log was soaking wet despite being in what I considered to be a waterproof container.  So, I couldn't sign it.  I can only log it on the website.  This is the second time I've come across a wet sign-in sheet.

I then headed in the opposite direction of my two men friends to find the next geocache.  That one turned out to be up a trail that was very narrow and led into the snow pack, as well as bear country.  Having just seen some bear prints, I didn't want to go there.  So, onto the next location, which turned out to be way off the trail and up the side of a mountain.  Ummmm.  No.  I'm not climbing a bunch of rocks with my two dogs.  So, I headed for home.  The last geocache was miles away and the dogs were both thirsty and tired.

What was weird was that I ran into one man with two dogs just beyond the trail head on the way up, and he said, "If you see an old bird dog along the way, tell him to head for the truck in the parking lot."

I said okay, not exactly sure what a bird dog was.  A short time later I passed a Pointer, but it was with another man.  I thought perhaps he meant for me to tell the man with the bird dog to head for the truck, but wasn't sure, and since the guy was headed for the parking lot anyway, I didn't say anything.

Then two hours later on the way down a Golden Retriever caught up to us and was nervously looking around for his owner.  He'd follow his nose up one trail, lose the scent, run back and go down a different trail.  He finally bolted for the parking lot.  By the time we reached it, the dog was gone, but someone had left a water bowl behind.  Hopefully, the owner lived nearby, so the dog could find its way home. 

By the time we got on the road, huge gusts of wind were blowing, so I may not have been able to beat the cold front with a trail ride, but at least I was able to get the dogs out for another hike.  Even though we were gone for two hours, the pigs, I mean horses, were still eating when we got home.

Now, I know Lytha is worried about my welfare going out into the wilderness alone, but trust me, it's far more dangerous in town.  I wanted to get Midge a longer leash and a collar, as opposed to the choke chain we've been using, so I drove into town to the pet store.  Apparently, the lady who runs the pet store doesn't really want to do any business, because she opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 3:30 PM.  Where are most people during those hours?  At work.  She'd do much better business if she stayed open until at least 6:00 PM.  These hours are typical of the small business owners in my area.  Clueless.

Anyway, after getting pissed that she was closed (because I had somewhere I needed to be before sunset), I ran into the supermarket to see if they had collars and leashes.  On my way in, I noticed a very dirty bum digging through a trash can just outside the door.  He spotted me and got right on my rear as I was walking through the store.  He was so close that I could feel his breath on my neck, and I have pretty long, thick hair.  Two women pushing carts side by side very slowly were blocking the aisle and this guy was practically rubbing up against me.  I high tailed it up a different aisle and lost him.

No leashes, so I hurried back out of the market to head to a different feed store before it closed, and suddenly I felt that gross man pressing up against me again on my way out.  I figured he was after my purse, so I turned around and sat down on a wall just outside the market.  If he was going after my purse, he'd have to climb into the planter behind me to get it.  He looked at me, and then continued digging through the trash can in front of me.  I waited him out, and he finally left, staggering about in a drug or alcohol-induced stupor, so I could get to my car without any more unwanted intimate moments.

This town has never had homeless people before.  Maybe once every three years or so I'd see a drifter walking along a road, but that was it.  They were always passing through.  This particular homeless guy looked like he just got smuggled across the border.  I don't know how the illegal aliens make it this far north so easily.  It wasn't too long ago that my town wasn't even a blip on a map.  No one knew it existed.  Now everyone is finding us.

There was even an angry woman hitchhiking in front of my house.  She got visibly irritated with me when I didn't pick her up.  She saw me turn into my driveway,  and I was hoping she wouldn't follow me and hassle me.  I guess it's time to double and triple-check the locks on the doors and windows.  We seem to be getting a wave of desperate folks, probably because we're in one of the few areas to have decent weather in recent weeks.  Up until Tuesday, people could actually stay warm here.


achieve1dream said...

Wow people suck. And are just plain weird. Maybe you look too nice. Try glaring or something. :) I have the opposite problem. I love being around people, but everyone already has their own friends and things to do because they've lived here forever. That's what sucks about being in a new town. Maybe I should pretend like I don't want people around so they will be attracted to me lol.

Sorry you didn't get to go riding. Why does it take the horses two hours to eat? Was it hay or feed? Chrome takes about twenty minutes to eat his feed because I mix beet pulp and timothy pellets in it. I hope you get some pretty weather again so you can go ride soon.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

It's hay. They get a flake of hay for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner. I used to just feed them twice a day, but they got too thin. I can't do free choice, because Lostine doesn't know when to stop and she'll colic.

Dutch Hollow said...

I know exactly what you're talking about. Folks even on horses always seem to get in your way and sometimes they are actually attempting to get out of it but both of you do a dance until someoen actually commits to moving.

Love your ramblings... you're welcome to share your stories ever Tuesday on our Horse Blog Linky at http://www.RochesterTrailRiders.com

Dreaming said...

Some days just get 'lost'! Before you know it, the day is over.
It sounds like you are a magnet for strange folks - be careful out there!

Linda said...

That's weird that those two men came right behind you like that and didn't say something and then followed you. Crazy! Maybe it's where I live, but if that happened to me out in the woods, I'd be scared.

Poor dog--I sure hope he found his home or his owner came back to get him.

That's interesting too that you know people are attracted to you. you should make it work for you--like if they're going to be crowding your space, charge them admission! Or hey, sell them something. Carry an Amway brochure around when you geocache.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Linda - That's so funny. You know that trying to sell them something would definitely scare them off. I had the thought afterward that I saw so many beautiful dogs along trails that I should have started handing out my pet photography business card.

Stephanie said...

Gosh... some people are really just creepy, didn't anyone teach them to respect personal space!

Hope you get out on a trail ride soon :)

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, shops in my town are being burgularized and thieves are even hitting people on the head and stealing purses! It's the DAMN economy...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

The geocaching sounds like it was frustrating. I agree about it being safer out in the woods than in the city, but I still prefer to letterbox and hike with someone, for three reasons: 1)In case I twist ankle or break something and can't walk 2)Because it's always more fun to have a buddy to talk with 3)Sometimes I get stumped trying to find a letterbox and having another person to bounce ideas and clues off of is indispensable.

I would have went up with trail where the bears are this time of year because bears are still in hibernation until about March or April. The snowpack would have made it difficult but that's why I use trekking poles on the trails.

I'm amazed at all the crazy situations and weirdos that you experience when out and about. I'm must not be attractive because my outings are much more mundane and boring. lol!


Susan said...

Creepy people. We're having similar things like that here.

And I know what you mean about being magnetic. I have that happen to me, and it's horrible!