Leah versus Usery Mountain Park—Part II
The air has cooled quite a bit down here, so much so that we have actually pulled the heavy comforter back out of retirement. I have to be honest when I say that I didn’t expect to use that particular blanket until we moved again, if we move again. But the highs are no longer ridiculously high, and the nights especially are much cooler. Let’s be real though, I’m not complaining, at all. We still have our windows open. We wake up to blue skies and our days are filled with sun. I absolutely love Arizona for this, even if it is getting a little chilly (like 70).
And today was no different. Veterans’ Day always seems to come at just the right time during the school year, and while admittedly my year has just begun, I am very appreciative for this day to enjoy the freedoms we have. When we attempted the 7.4-mile Pass Mountain Loop last weekend, but ended up on some random trail, Tyler had a great idea for us to use our day off to try again. [That’s why I like him.]
We set off for the loop from the pay to hike parking area this time. I don’t mind paying to use a park if that means I see some signage, or arrows, or rocks piled up as if we were still living in the stone age unable to communicate with actual words, stacked along the way indicating the correct direction. Thankfully, we did see some signs today. And the first half of our hike was both desolate and beautiful with an easy to follow windy trail that took us up and over ravines and into the mountain pass. All was good as you can tell from the few pictures we took.
Warning: I am going to preface the following by saying that I know that some people do not care about their pets the way that I love Leah. I am completely aware that I take a ridiculous amount of pictures and video of her. I am okay with that. She is a huge part of my life and I do treat her like I would a child. If you think animals should just be treated like animals as it were, you probably won’t “get” the rest of this.
Sadly, the second half of our hike was not great, mostly for Leah. We had already stopped twice to pick thorns from her poor little tootsies, once even called for the tweezers out of the first aid kit. But even at this point, it wasn’t a big deal. We were almost halfway when Leah seemed to hit a wall. I have never seen her act the way she started acting, and as I look over at her now, you would never know anything was wrong.
She began to eat most every plant in sight, which wasn’t too pretty. I mean we’re in the desert, there wasn’t a whole lot of choices. I tried to give her some water fearing heat exhaustion, but she refused. We were completely surrounded by nothing, with equal amounts of trail in either direction, so we just decided to move onward, but from that point forward it was hard going. Leah stopped every few minutes to eat dead, brown grass. During one particular search-for-vegetation frenzy, she ate at one plant that left her with a cactus ball stuck in her lip. Tyler pulled that one out. I understood that she was trying to make herself feel better, forcing herself to throw up, but what I didn’t get is what happened. I started worrying that something poisonous had somehow bitten her without her crying or me noticing, and that she was actually dying. Yes, this is how much I care about her.
After a bit of super slow movement forward, I heard this large noise erupting from what I thought was above us in the rock cliffs. It was not from the cliffs at all. The noise had come from Leah’s stomach as she proceeded to gag up the hugest amount of what appeared to be a white, foamy, dry-grass ball. I was way more relieved than she was because she just continued to eat dry brush for the next mile or so. She also decided to relax by lying in some shady areas. We took some mini breaks. She finally drank some water, ultimately both Tyler’s and mine, but she was just not herself. Typically she is like a goat dragging me up mountain after mountain, but for the remainder of this hike, she walked right next to me or behind me.
There is one more hike in this park that we would like to tackle, but sadly I think Leah will have to sit that one out…