Fox Mulder went wandering throughout Appalachia yesterday, and he heard the call of the wild.
This corgi has had some good hikes in the past, as well as hikes in which he only goes one mile and then craps out. To be fair, Fox was raised as a suburban dog. Now he’s been chucked into the wide world of hiking, mountains, forests, and good smells. The day wasn’t about counting miles or making good time on the trial. No. It was about Fox finding happiness.
We took a slow and steady drive through Pisgah National Forest and up along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The goal was to check out Graveyard Fields, a spot in the aptly named for it’s rough difference in environment compared to the rest of the area. The valley is coated in shrubs, tall grass, brambles, and rhododendron, but it lacks the lush forests that flourish in the rest of the area. Graveyard Fields is said to be named after the nubs of trees that resemble gravestones. These were left scattered through the area due to several possible events: a horrible windstorm that knocked out trees over a century ago; heavy logging; and a fire.
Typically I go on a scouting mission before I take Fox on any trails. If it’s too rugged or rocky, I won’t make him hike it. This time I just took a chance. The trail started out tame… almost too tame. A paved path led to some man-made stairs and boardwalks over the Yellowstone Prong which flows throughout the area and creates a couple of waterfalls. However, the trail quickly changed to dirt and rock, and it proved to be a bit more interesting since it cross-crosses with a river/creek often and has numerous muddy patches.
In the past, we’ve nicknamed Fox “The Puddle Jumper” due to his fabulous ability to hop over, skirt, or refuse to go through water and mud. I was concerned he wouldn’t go too far on this trail at the sight of water. Maybe it was because he was happy to actually be out hiking, or maybe he wanted to make me happy hiking, but Fox quickly decided to be a big dog for the day and plow through everything.
Halfway through our hike, we took a break at a campsite next to the stream. At that point, he became a wild beastie. He dove in and out of the water. Every time I tried to sit down for a moment, he decided to maul me. His favorite pastime is ‘bit the arm’, but he became relentless and kept barring his teeth and chomping down hard on my arms and legs. After spazzing out, he’d take a break, sploot, and then start all over again. Finally I gave up the notion of resting and we hit the trail again.
As we made our way back to the trailhead, Fox’s energy began to wane. We had been going for a couple of hours, which is pretty good for the little guy. More and more hikers appeared that wanted to say hi, but he was on a mission to finish up. Fox had found his wild side, but at the end of the day all he wanted was peanut butter sandwich, some water, and lazy car ride through the mountains.