this. It felt good and the dogs were overjoyed: it's been way too long since we've done any hiking worthy of the name, because that dawn trek by the river every morning doesn't really count, no matter how many ghostly Japanese scroll herons are standing in the water. Lately in the morning I'm too busy worrying about my life and stuff to even notice anything anyway; I'm not sure I'd believe I'd even been to the river if it wasn't for the eye opening smell of wet Django in the car on the way back. There's something about soaking wet spaniels that makes the car windows fog over immediately, too.
Anyway, C & I hiked and then I came back and drove over to South Asheville and picked up the QOB and took her for a long scenic drive up the parkway to Craggy Gardens. I had planned to go all the way up to Mt. Mitchell but alas, the parkway's still closed up there. Oh well. She didn't get out of the car much but we enjoyed it and I took some pictures like this one of mountains starting to turn all orange and red and clouds looking like some kind of funky toys in the sky. It was totally gorgeous up there and I told, yet again, my story of Wilbur the pig at the Craggy Gardens picnic area.
That was the day I came down the trail with Theo and looked across the parking lot and thought to myself my GOD, that is the ugliest dog I have ever seen. Then I looked a little more closely and I thought my GOD, that's a baby rhinoceros! They have a baby rhinoceros at Craggy Gardens! Then I looked more closely yet and realized that it was not, alas, a rhinoceros but in fact a pig. On a leash. A gigantic, 400 or so pound pig on a leash in the parking lot. Well. So, naturally, I put Theo in the car before he saw the pig and went literally barking mad and sauntered over there and struck up a conversation with the very nice couple who were walking this pig. His name, I learned, was Wilbur and he loved to go for walks, but he always tried to root around in the dirt on the trail, which made him dirty, which in turn meant he had to have a bath before he went back in the living room.
Well, yes, of course. I too bathe my GIANT PIG before I let him into the living room.
So every time I go to the Craggy Gardens picnic area, I think of Wilbur and smile. And the QOB thought this story was completely hilarious and then told me that my Great Aunt Claire actually had a pet pygmy pig herself. This was surprising, since Great Aunt Claire was about the single most elegant woman on the face of the planet in a time of elegance. A pomeranian, yes. A pig? Huh. The things you learn on expeditions to see the fall colors.