“My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That’s $21.00 in dog money.”-Joe Weinstein
Before I tell you about our hike, I would like to tell you about Chili’s last 6 weeks after a spine injury. He does end up being the hero of this hike!
Almost 6 weeks ago Chili slipped a disc and it pushed into his spine, which caused a partial paralysis in his hind legs. The first few days were serious and uncertain, but major steroids, daily acupuncture and massage has gotten him up and going. We started off limping to the corner and back and tried a little farther each day. He is now off the steroids and has a few balance problems, but he’s eager to go! I wanted to do this hike because it is fairly close and easy in case we could only manage a couple miles.
Black Creek Trail is in DeSoto National Forest in southern MS. We started at the southern most end where the trail is mostly flat and wide for long stretches. What I didn’t think of were the TONS of hunters and their dogs. Chili had his orange backpack and I tied an orange tshirt to mine. We encountered quite a few dogs that were zigzagging through the woods and rounding up turkeys. Really beautiful and interesting dogs. And silent! Chili got into a tiff with an armadillo until I screamed and they both looked at me like I was crazy.
The trail goes deep into the woods and curves around to the creek in several areas, but the bluffs are too steep and overgrown to climb down them. We hiked in about 8 miles and I found a tiered area to climb down. It was very sandy and soft so it didn’t hurt much when I fell and rolled down half of it. I did roll into the perfect place to camp.
I set up camp, Chili played in the water and we had an early dinner before the sun went down.
All was great until these two strolled in.
Hunting dogs are never fixed so I stuffed Chili into the tent. Girl was young, timid but very playful. And it didn’t take long to realize something was really wrong with Boy. He was limping, shaking and seemed like he couldn’t catch his breath. He came right up and laid in front of the tent, but every few minutes tried to scoot up into the tent. He was wearing 3 tracking collars that were still working so I figured someone would come looking for him. I put him on a pad and climbed into my sleeping bag. Girl decided she wanted to run around the tent and tease Chili. She continued to do so every 30 minutes or so, ALL NIGHT! We heard gun shots until well after dark and dogs would bay and come close then fade away. Nobody came. Around midnight I started thinking about The Walking Dead. Around one I started thinking about the Honey Island Swamp monster, and right on key around 2am, Boy started making a really loud Chewbacca noise. Checked on him and tried to quite him, but that didn’t happen. Around 4am a rooster (???) started crowing and then dogs baying started again. I made coffee and waited for the sun to come up.
With so much time to think, I decided to cut the hike short and try to get help for the dog. I knew how hard this was going to be because a few years ago I was hiking with my friend Judy and we found a starved hunting dog in the bushes. We had to carry her out and there were 2 of us. We climb out of the tent and both dogs had disappeared. Didn’t even say goodbye. I was just finished packing up and here comes Girl. She finally came up close enough to meet Chili and then followed us to the path up. I almost missed him, but Chili found Boy laying in the bushes. I couldn’t carry him up the hill so I hooked Chili’s leash to my pants and he literally pulled us up the bluff. I had to have Chili take turns pulling my pack while I was carrying the dog. Then on the grassy areas I pulled him on a towel. It took us 3 hours to hike in and 8 hours to hike out. I put Boy in the back of the car and tried to coex Girl with food. She did get close enough for me to read the # on her collar, but when I tried to grab it she BIT ME! Called and left message for owner, waited for awhile, but I had to take the boy in. A hunter told me where SPCA was in the next town. It broke my heart to leave the girl and I’m just really hoping the owner went and found her. SPCA was very kind and they took the # I had so we know who you are and you better man up or else!! I know this was a long story, but it was definitely an adventure for Chili the hero, and I!
And after all that, don’t forget……. Everyone should have access to clean running water. Digdeep.org and NO to Dakota Pipeline.
As Alway, Digdeep