I see a trail in the distance and decide fresh air will do me good, I bundle up and head out. The snow isn't that bad and there's some sun peaking through the trees. After walking for what felt like hours, I come to a clearing. It must be an area that is used during the warmer months, there's a picnic table and fire ring. Wiping the snow off, I sit down and enjoy the quiet.
Feeling something nudging my arm I nearly jumped out of my skin and looked down, a dog.
"What are you doing out here fella?" kneeling down to pet him. "What's your name?" looking for a collar. "Bella. I guess you're not a fella after all."
She seemed very friendly and her hair wasn't all matted up, so she belongs to somebody. "I bet someone is looking for you," petting her head. It's official, I'm crazy, having a conversation with a dog.
Hearing a faint whistle and she takes off, I watch until she gets out of sight, thinking nothing more of it. I'm sure she belongs to another guest at the hotel or someone local. Wiping the snow off my knees I sit back down until the wind starts to pick up, I decide I should head back. The snow that has fallen off the trees has covered my tracks, the trail is still open.
I shake the snow off of me as I walk into the lobby, being greeted by the clerk, "afternoon ma'am, can I help you?"
"I'm fine. I'm staying in room 312 and was just out for a walk."
"Did you make it the look out?"
"I made it to the picnic table, if that's the same," taking off my coat.
"The look out is only about another twenty minutes past the picnic table and the view is gorgeous, no matter what time of year it is."
"Tomorrow then," it sounds nice.
I head back to my room, reheat my left overs, take a hot, relaxing shower and fall asleep watching television.
Waking up, I make a cup of coffee, dress and head out for the trail again. This time I’m going to find the look out. The walk to the picnic table seems shorter than it was yesterday, I’m glad I’m in some sort of shape.
The look out does have amazing views, the desk clerk was right. You can see the entire valley. I can imagine how popular this place is when it is warmer outside. I snap a couple pictures with my phone and decide to start back down.
The trail is covered in snow and I'm mindful of the steps that I take, except, I didn't see the rock. My foot slipped off and I went down, twisting my ankle in the process.
"Son of a bitch," cursing more so at myself.
I try to stand back up but, I can't. Being brave, I take my boot off to look at it. "Well, it doesn't look broken," it is starting to swell though.
It's probably five miles back down to the hotel and I have no signal on my phone, not that I know the name of where I'm staying anyway.
Trying to hop one legged down a mountain trail with nothing to hold onto is nearly impossible, so I end up just sliding down on my butt. That's not as easy as you would think either.
Laying back in the snow seeing the sun setting and I sigh in frustration, I should've been more careful, though this isn't a bad way to go. Feeling something lick my face, I look and see Bella again. "What are you doing out here again girl?" sitting up.
"Thirsty?" grabbing a bottle of water out of my backpack and using my empty coffee cup to make a makeshift bowl.
"You, ah, wouldn't be able to help me down, would you?" petting her head as she drinks. "I didn't think so. Great, now I'm talking to a dog, Again," feeling slightly crazy.
After she's finished, I put everything back in my backpack and start to slide down again. I really haven't made it that far. She stays at my side, wagging her tail.
I can hear a faint whistle again, "go home girl," she doesn't. "You're going to get in trouble," patting her head. She's a really pretty dog.
She barks and runs a circle around me.
"Alright," continuing my slow slide, "don't say I didn't warn you."
I notice it's starting to get dark and I look at the time, almost five. Looks like I'm not going to make it back by dark. I've never really tried building fires in the wilderness, guess I'm going to have to try tonight.
Staying close to the trail I find an open area under a tree, incase someone comes looking for me. I doubt it though. I find some twigs and gather them into a pile and search for my matches. Bella is still with me and I can hear someone calling for her, "you better go," looking at her.
She leaves and after using nearly all of my matches, I manage to get a small flame. I assumed she went home but, she didn't, she comes back with branches. She brought me firewood.
"Thanks girl," taking it from her and petting her head as she lays down beside me.
I break it up and add it to my fire, it's still small but better than nothing.
Whoever is calling her seems to be getting closer. I'd hate for them to think something happened to her but, I'm also glad that she's still here with me. At least if I freeze to death, I won't be alone.
Finding a log, I prop my foot up and do my best to get comfortable. I don't want to fall asleep, I'm afraid that the fire will go out. I'm wet, tired and my ankle hurts. Bella has brought me a nice pile of sticks and I add them to the fire, just in case.
I lean my head back against the tree and close my eyes.