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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Unplanned Bushwhack

Becca spots Mr. Tacoma driving his Toyota truck in the distance
About two-thirds of the way through our hike this morning, as we were closing in on Tortugas's west side after a trek into the outback, we heard a dog barking/yelping in a secluded area at the base of the mountain.  As we were trying to spot the animal a young woman emerged from the desert off trail, and I felt relieved, thinking it was her dog we heard.  But she said she didn't have a dog, and she hadn't heard anything because she was wearing earphones.  She did say she had seen a girl jogging with a dog a short while earlier.  Since the young woman we were talking to was heading out the same way we were we let her hike ahead.  "Otherwise," I told her, "Becca will be turning around to look at you every ten seconds."  When the woman began the ascent up the trail  leading to the foothills about fifty yards ahead of us we heard the dog again.  I recognized the bark/yelp as a plea for help:  "Help me, I'm stuck."  The young woman had heard the barking this time, and she was staring in the same direction Becca and I were.

I made the decision then to bushwhack across one of the most rugged sections of the desert near Tortugas, an area filled with cacti and thick stands of Ocotillo.  It took us about twenty minutes to reach a spot about three-fourths of the way to the location where I thought I saw something through my camera viewfinder at 10X magnification (penultimate image).  Meanwhile the young woman had gone up the road leading to the top of Tortugas, and I yelled to her, "Do you see anything?"  She said, "I don't."  A guy was jogging down the mountain road just then, and I could hear her ask him if it was his dog we heard.  It wasn't.  She told me then that she had to take off.

Becca and I continued bushwhacking toward the spot we thought the barking had come from, though we never heard the barking/yelping again; and because sound travels in crazy ways out in the desert, we decided to abort our potential rescue mission.  Going back the way we had come was out of the question, so we bushwhacked in a southwesterly direction until we hit the dirt road around the mountain--at least a mile further back than we were when we first heard the distressed barking.  We stopped for water--Becca had a huge drink--and I carefully examined her paws and legs to make sure she hadn't picked up any thorns or spikes.  As we came around to the spot where we'd first heard the dog I almost expected to hear it again, but there was nothing.  Odds are that the dog was out with its "guardian," had headed off in pursuit of a critter (a jackrabbit, perhaps) and had temporarily got itself stuck before getting free.  (At least that's my hope.)  You probably won't be surprised to learn that many people jogging in the desert treat their dogs as if they're afterthoughts.

Because of the unexpected bushwhacking we spent an extra hour out in the desert; good thing it wasn't excessively hot this morning.
Up one level

Time for a long shade break

From several miles away I thought I spotted something (center)

The rugged territory Becca and I bushwhacked through


Scott said...

You two were Good Samaritans, even if the hard bushwhacking came to naught.

I was once bicycling out in a fairly rural part of central Florida. A car pulled alongside the road, the door opened, and a dog jumped out. The door closed and sped away. At first, I thought that the people were giving the dog exercise by allowing it to walk back home (and maybe they were), but I suspect they were dumping the dog. Humans are unbelievably cruel, thoughtless, and inhumane sometimes.

packrat said...

Sad to say, but I must agree with your last thought there, Scott.

Dr. K said...

I sure hope that dog was okay.

Joint Jaunt

1st 4:  Willow and Frio Dr. K, Willow, Frio and I did our usual trek this morning.  When we were descending LDR-A arroyo we caught a glimpse...