A half hour into our "hunt", the dogs were beat, gasping for breath. They could only jog between slices of shade. We flushed thousands of grasshoppers, some tampons, broken glass, and burned tires. This was one of the walk-in areas the state likes to brag about. There was no water. I used both of my 32 ounce water bottles just to keep the dogs alive. Finally, I put them in the truck and drove to the Tongue River, where the interstate blasts over in a concrete memorial. The dogs swam for an hour while I listened to college football.I downed two Coors Lights for hydration only. A rancher came by and looked at me from his late model Chevy. My team, Virginia Tech, was struggling against a cream puff team. The rancher wrote down my license plate while I tried to understand why our coach always passes on second down. Finally, after staring at me for an uncomfortable moment, Roy Rogers drove off in a veil of dust and country music. Rocket, who is 80 year-old in human years, still seems a little goofy from the whole experiment. It's mid-September, yes, but it's not hunting season. At least I can say I was alone, more or less.
Not every hunting or fishing trip can be a great success. I get it. But this one almost cost me my old dog. I can see why whole generations of Americans now split their time between The Olive Garden and Buffalo Wild Wings. Or they binge watch television slop from their slave homes and try to sell it later as cultural literacy. It's not. But don't tell them I said so. I think our country needs some sort of unifying character to come down from the hills and cure us. Think John Denver. Think James Taylor.