Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

Memories of Anubis - Part III: The Trailblazing Dog

I finally finished scanning pics last night. I uploaded over 70 to the LJ scrapbook. I don't know how many will end up in posts, but feel free to have a look if you so desire. I was especially happy that I found the pic of him only a few days after I got him home. OMG! I forgot how tiny he was! That will probably go in a post tomorrow. Today I wanted to cover a side of our life together that meant a lot to both of us. I had mentioned how much we loved to travel together. Today I will describe some of our adventures in the wild. Here's a pic to make you want to click.

This was taken near Ladron Peak about an hour south of ABQ. There are some wonderful fossil beds here.

Our outdoor adventures started right away. Sometime late in '94 we took a hike to the top of Humphrey's Peak, highest point in AZ (elev 12,633'). It almost didn't happen. We started hiking down the trail when for some reason Anubis got spooked and ran back to the truck. Perhaps he was used to only walking in an urban environment. I angrily put a leash on him and forced him down the trail. Within a short distance he was fine, and I took the leash off. That was it. He was never afraid of hiking down a trail again.

Anubis and I on the summit of Humphrey's Peak

Over the years we also bagged Wheeler Peak, highest point in NM (13,161') and Guadalupe Peak, highest point in TX (8,749').

Anubis on the summit of Wheeler Peak

The trip to Guadalupe Peak was a little interesting. Since it's in a national park, there were restrictions on where pets could go. Dogs were not allowed on the trail to the summit. This pissed me off to no end since horses WERE allowed on the trail. So for the entire hike if I ever met someone on the trail (and fortunately there were very few) Anubis was introduced as "my little horse."

Anubis on the summit of Guadalupe Peak

I guess I should mention that not only did Anubis get to some of the highest spots in the country, he also visited the lowest spot. We did make a pilgrimage to Badwater in Death Valley. What sucked for Anubis was that he got salt from the dry lake bed in his paws.

On of my pastimes while living in Yuma was exploring old mines. Now if there was some shaft to descend, Anubis would of course stay on the surface. If there was a tunnel, however, he would follow us in with no problems. It wasn't always like that, however. On one of our trips to the Mojave National Reserve in SE California I found a small mine site just north of Amboy where I decided to camp for the night. I found the tunnel and walked in. Anubis stopped at the entrance and whined. I assured him that he would be alright, but he was afraid of that dark opening. I went on in alone to look at the geology. After a few minutes I hear a jingling coming down the tunnel. I shine the light towards the entrance and am greeted with 2 glowing eyes. I smile and call him "Devil Dog." Soon he's right next to me getting praised for his bravery. In later hikes he would actually lead the way into the mines.

Anubis at the mouth of a mine in Death Valley

Whenever we went camping I never tethered Anubis at all. He had free reign over the entire area. Even at night he could wander freely if he chose. It was just never an issue. Usually he was perfectly content to just sleep outside of the truck and chew sticks all night. Occasionally I was awaken in the middle of the night by his growling. Bear? Coyote? Only he knew. He really didn't care about coyotes even though he loved to chase them close to home. On one trip to the desert outside of Yuma a whole bunch of coyotes started howling right outside of my camp. My camp in those days was pretty much just a cot with a sleeping bag thrown out into the desert. I got my light and shined it out into the blackness. All I saw were a bunch of glowing eyes about 100' away. I howled back at them and then went back to sleep. Anubis just curled up next to the cot and kept a wary eye.

Hiking in the desert could be a pain in the ass. I not only had to carry my own water but also a supply for the dog as well. Fortunately there WERE natural bedrock tanks scattered around which he could use for drinking. More often than not, however, he used them to cool off. As I mentioned earlier, he LOVED water. If he found a cattle pond or a large puddle, you KNEW he was going to be in it!

Water dog!

Another problem with hiking in the desert especially if you're a dog is that there are all sorts of things out there that wreak havoc on paws. The bane of Anubis was cholla. This stuff was nasty, and it was found everywhere! Anubis became a botanist dog. He could recognize cholla and always gave it wide birth. I always carried my Swiss Army Knife which had a pair of pliers. They were invaluable for removing the nasty barbed thorns from paws. On one hike he had a run-in with cholla that was epic. We were climbing Kofa Butte which was a vertical-walled mesa in the middle of nowhere. According to maps there was only one way up. As we made our way to the top, I stopped for a drink. Anubis wandered off. I turn around to find that he had walked into a pack rat nest. Pack rats used cholla as a natural razor-wire fence. His paws were completely covered in old, brittle cholla spines. It looked like he was wearing mittens. OY! It took a good half hour to free his paws of the awful spines. His paws were bleeding in places where the spines had penetrated deeply. He was ok, however, and we completed the hike. Whenever he got thorns in his paws after that, he would stop, lift up the afflicted paw and wait for me to come to the rescue with the pliers.

So how much of a "trailblazing dog" was he? I was most impressed with him when we took a trip to the Grand Canyon. I found a place on a map on the south rim where you drove into the Kaibab National Forest. There was a spot where you could get within a mile of the rim but you would be in the Forest, not the Park. That meant no entrance fee, camping wherever I wanted, and Anubis could run free. Granted, we would still be entering the park to get to the rim, but we would be about 20 miles from civilization. I found the camping spot I was looking for with the aid of topo maps and a 1st generation GPS. To get to the rim, I got out the old compass and headed due north. For those that have never been to the Canyon, because of the slope of the land and the dense forest, you never see the canyon until you are right on top of it. Soon we were both on the rim soaking up the beauty and solitude. Over the next few days we made several hikes to the rim mainly for sunrises and sunsets. On one occasion I decided to let Anubis guide me back. He seemed to know where he was going. It might have been foolish to put blind faith in a dog, but he safely guided me the mile from the rim to camp with no trail.

Of course we took dozens of hikes over the 15 years we were together. I think the last camping trip we did was May of '07, the week after I had found Mesa. Going through LJ I found this pic from the trip.

He did pretty well on that trip even though we had stopped our daily walkies by this point. Perhaps he also showed Mesa how to act when camping. During the night Mesa had chewed through his tether but he remained in camp with Anubis and Thipher's dog, Blue. *nods* Anubis was a great camping buddy. I don't go enough any more to know how Mesa would do. I gotta change that this year and get out more.

I think the last post will be just a picture post with lots of cute pics. Stay tuned!

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