My oh my, what a day. I'm in bed and I'm starting to wonder about this ankle brace, it's really starting to hurt my foot in strange places. Blerp. Also my legs are scratched and bruised and rashy and I was stung or bit by something today... but they're tan... so that's a trade off.

Anywho, this morning was lovely and I ate more than usual, the granola we had was so good I couldn't stop! The morning was relatively uneventful other than the fact that today we broke a record for number of times losing the trail! We fence hopped a few times, barbed and not barbed wires alike. We walked through a prickly pear patch too which was pretty amazing, and beautiful in a strange way. They're such cool plants. Also I had the Bear Necessities stuck in my head because there is a line about picking prickly pears. Then more walking. Lunch was at a little market slightly off trail, or more like just on a detour, as no backtracking was required. We shopped, ate grape leaves, oranges and sandwiches. We met other hikers! They we Germans going north but still, the first other hikers we've seen! Madness! After lounging in town for lunch we headed back out.

We walked along the roads in town and were greeted by dogs a plenty. They usually barked at us or came up for a sniff, but one came over, and started walking with us. He was sweet, smiled and had his tail wagging. We walked and he would causally trot out in front, and glance back to check in with us. My childhood dog used to do that. We walked and eventually the paved road ended and we walked on a dirt road for a while. We casually named the pup Ernie. Bad move, I was falling in love and getting attached. Ernie navigated a cow grate and followed us into a cow pasture, where he proceeded to scare the daylights out of some calves, in the most playful of manners. We continued on then came upon a dead end. Ernie ran around excitedly and flailed his way through a cattle grid covered in water which was pretty hilarious. He always came running back to us smiling. Russ and I realized we had made a wrong turn, so we headed back towards town, assuming Ernie would head back to his home. We turned left onto another dirt road and he turned with us. Again out in front of us and checking in. We turned onto a black trail and he followed. We joked about keeping him at first, but both knew that wasn't realistic. Unsure of what to do we stopped and sat down, Russ went to the bathroom and Ernie just sat by his pack and waited. This dog seemed to love us. And we really loved him. We sat for a few more minutes and debated what to do. He had a collar, so I'm telling myself that someone owned him and he has a nice home he's at right now, but he couldn't continue with us. We didn't want to steal someone's dog and we didn't want him to cruise with us so far he couldn't find his way back, so we had the saddest Air Bud moment of my life. I looked at him, almost crying and yelled get out of here and pointed. I yelled and yelled and he looked terrified at me. He shrunk and hustled away from me but every twenty feet or so would stop and really look at me to make sure. Russ helped, but it wasn't easy and I wanted to die after. For a while I kept looking over my shoulder hoping he would come back and in some strange world I would get to keep him despite knowing how unrealistic that is. Blah. The rest of the day wound on with more wrong turns and getting into camp.

I miss Ernie and I think I need a dog when I get home.


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