In fact, if our getting soaked on a hike means rain has come at last, we are up to the sacrifice.
Anyway, true to form for any trip with Turtle, we left a little later than we wanted to, so our planned four-mile endeavor turned into a hurried three-mile jaunt, with the last mile rather nervously trudged along an old railroad track... within the range of coyote yips.
For the first mile, we walked between two pastures: one full of bored black cattle and the other full of the setting sun. I kept stopping to take pictures and getting hit by turtle, who was carrying a twenty-five pound pack.
He's getting ready for a real hike with some friends--a backpacking excursion in the mighty Ozarks, back where there are real streams and roads that go up and down and around bends. So far there are four or five men going, and most of them are in great physical shape.
I'm a little worried about Turtle keeping up with them. However, he assures me that he won't have any trouble. His twenty-five pound pack will be lighter than what he has been carrying on his body for the last five years.
Turtle's lost thirty pounds since January. However, he hasn't been exercising at all, so his muscles and bones were complaining a little yesterday evening. As for the hike? Well, he'll plod along behind, I'm sure, but then he's always been a plodder. We didn't just randomly pick Turtle for his nickname.
This evening we'll try it again, hiking out into the country. Maybe there'll be another beautiful sunset or promising storm. I'll carry a little backpack myself, maybe fifteen pounds or so. There's no use in over doing it.
So, what will I carry in it? I think some bear mace, a squirt bottle full of ammonia for coyotes, a snakebite kit, and a sturdy stick to knock the rattlers off the railroad tracks.