Welcome to the Wild West; Dog Edition

Bodie State Historic Park
My dog may be an asshole but at least she’s not an unthoughtful human being.

After my recent drama-filled day trip to Bodie State Historic Park, I have become one of those dog people who are about to give up on the basic goodness of humans and just spend all my time with my canine BFF. Let’s face it; Most humans are assholes. The last week of a well planned out in advance hiking and camping vacation with now ex-friends who treated my dog like garbage and almost lead to my good friend’s Husky getting heatstroke destroyed the rest of my hope for the human race.  After having “friends” use my boyfriend’s and I’s hospitality against us, it just goes to show you, people are jerks. Some of them have no idea how friends should treat each other. Some of them have no idea how animals deserve to be treated.

You might be a dog person.

I realized the other day that I have twenty times more photos in my phone of my dog and I then I do of my boyfriend and I. My dog may sneeze in my face constantly. My pup may loudly fart in my direction randomly and have no clue what personal space is but I still put up with her stinky shenanigans. After taking at least twenty selfies with my dog on our two-week vacation to the eastern Sierras and exactly two photos with my boyfriend, I realized maybe I spend way more time with my dog then my significant other. And this is coming from someone who never, ever thought in her life, she would end up as a dog person.

Bodie State Historic Park
I’m not sure who licks me more.

Adventures of Dog Mom

I never thought this dog fart filled world would be my life. My Subaru’s black interior is always crusted with little white doggy furs that will never come out no matter how many times I vacuum. Our cupboards at home are jam-packed with at least fifteen different types of organic sweet potato dog snacks at this moment and I’ll probably buy more when I go to Whole Foods in two weeks. I don’t own a dog mom hat or t-shirt yet but that day could be close now. Most of my everyday clothing is covered in pet hair or drool. I used to own nice things, I swear I did.

Bodie State Historic Park
A day in Venice, trying not to puke in St Mark’s Square

I started this blog ten years ago as a food writer. Then I traveled to Germany and drank all the beer in Munich at Oktoberfest. After that, I was off to Italy where I threw up all over Venice but still managed to take a selfie by the Grand Canal. After Venice it was a month spent living in Bangalore India, learning the correct way to barter for fresh produce and also the correct way to hold one’s skirts up while peeing in a hole. Then I road a motorbike without a helmet in Goa India and suddenly I was a travel writer. ( I also vomited into the Great Barrier Reef but I wouldn’t consider myself a vomit writer, no not yet.) When I began writing this blog I was focusing on sharing healthy recipes and every once in a while I would throw out a true story about that one time I got lost in Tijuana and terrorized some poor Federales.

Back in the day, in 2010, I wrote a lot more about my gluten-free diet and how to eat healthily then getting yelled at by passport control agents in London for wearing a jaunty hat through customs. Looking back now at the 2010 Hungry Mountaineer; I never expected to become the adventure-seeking wanderlustDog obsessed dog mom I am today. But even back in the day before I owned a dog, I was an animal lover. I knew the differences between right and wrong and how animals should be treated. I’ve had cats my whole life and yes, I thought dogs were slobbering idiots when I was younger. (Okay, I still think my dog is a slobbering idiot) Over time, I have grown to love this barking nincompoop and yes maybe I do miss her a bit when I am globetrotting; shoving butter chicken in my face in India or drinking a Black Caviar on a rooftop bar in Sydney, Australia.

These days most of my stories have to do with how My dog was attacked by a coyote again or the latest 14er I climbed with my pup (That is a mountain over 14,000 feet high that crazy day hikers like me live to summit)  Ten years ago when I started this blog I had no idea that one day I would be a dog person. My fur babies were felines and definitely not smelly dogs. Now here I am, almost forty years old, world-traveled and most days, holding a bag of doggy poo. I have learned in my travels how to cook more than a few different cuisines, hiked my way around this massive world and yes I am a dog person these days. (And yes I even cook healthy snacks for my pup)

Bodie State Historic Park,
Most of my stories these days include my adventures with this pup. Photo by Echo Woods

Here we are amid a pandemic in 2020 and I would honestly rather spend time with my dog than most people. Specifically, after the shit show that was the last twenty-four hours of my life on vacation. Life on vacation with friends should be nothing but relaxing by alpine lakes with perhaps a side of hiking and fishing. That is how our two weeks eastern Sierras vacation started. Then we made the mistake of hanging out with some uncaring assholes, okay I mean ex-friends.

As a travel writer I love globetrotting adventures but one of my favorite places to travel is practically in my backyard, Mono County in the eastern Sierras. In all my adventures in the eastern Sierras, I have never wandered through Bodie State Historic Park. That was until today’s dog drama-filled adventure. This is how I find myself evolving from a travel blogger to a furry friend blogger. It seems like these days most of my blogs and my best stories feature man’s best friend.Bodie State Historic Park,

Last week we planned a dirty and dusty outdoor adventure with our good friend’s off-road toys. Good Lord, we were going to Bodie State Historic Park, the long, difficult and most gorgeous way. There would be pristine views, herds of antelope running alongside the Yamaha side by side and a lot of laughs. Of course, this was all well before the shit hit the fan and we told some ex-friends we could not take any more of their immature drama. Long story short we entrusted the care of our pups to two adult friends for a few hours while the four of us buddies took the dirt toys; two dirt bikes and a Yamaha side by side,

Bodie State Historic Park,
Views of Bridgeport Reserve

on the backroads to an old ghost town, Bodie State Historic Park, near Bridgeport. Our friends visiting from Colorado drove my boyfriend’s fourteen-year-old daughter and their fourteen-year-old daughter plus the two dogs out to Bodie the shorter dirt road route and were supposed to meet us. Yes, Bodie State Park is dog-friendly.


“Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie”

We were delayed on our venture to Bodie State Historic Park, as number one, the trail we were starting on was further away than anyone anticipated and number two my boyfriend had never ridden a dirt bike before. There were a few crashes and one instance involving a very deep puddle and perhaps some cattle.  We may have been delayed but I kept my boyfriend’s daughter up to date with our delays until we reached the Bodie Hills, at which point we barely had cell phone reception. (But we did have amazing views of both Bridgeport Reserve and Mono Lake. )Bodie State Historic Park,

I guess by the time we arrived in what was left of the wild west of Bodie State Historic Park, the rest of our group was hot and hungry and ready to get the hell out of Bodie. Angie and I took the dogs from both teenage girls because the girls looked like hot moody teenagers and we spent twenty minutes taking a few snaps of what was left of the Bodie ghost town. Bodie is not big; It’s not Disneyland. We perused around for twenty minutes and were on our way back to the parking lot. It was getting hotter by the minute and twenty minutes in the desert even when it’s only pushing eighty-five has even the rowdiest Husky dog ready to go back to swim in an alpine lake.

Bodie State Historic Park,
Obviously, Carly was thrilled by her 20 minutes at Bodie State Historic Park,

Except unfortunately for us, our “friends” from Colorado had driven off down the dirt road and were gone when we got to the parking lot. “Did they just leave without the dogs?” How is that possible, we were incredulously wondering. I mean we had two dirt bikes and a side by side; We had no way to safely get the dogs back to Mammoth Lakes where we were camped! Add to that, at this point, it was high noon and getting hotter by the minute. We also had no cell phone reception here in the high desert in the middle of nowhere. Tom jumped on his dirt bike and rode a few miles into the hills to try and get a cell phone signal. At this point, we thought there had to be an emergency. Why on earth would our friends just ditch our dogs in the hot desert-like abandoned trash? It made no sense at all.

So Tom gets cell service eventually and calls our friends multiple times. Finally, they answer and everyone yells at each other on the phone. I guess they got hot and hungry (Did I not tell everyone the Bodie State Historic Park itinerary ahead of time? No provisions at Bodie. It will be hot. There is no Starbucks with iced frappe lattes. Bring water. Bring sunscreen. There are no trees. No shade. It will be hot) I swear I said all those things but when some people are taking shots of vodka at 2 p.m. they get all forget-y.

Bodie State Historic Park,
Carly can barely put up with kayaking, let’s throw her on a dirt bike!

Apparently our “friends” thought we were just using them as dog sitters so they said f*%$ it and left, ditching the dogs with us in the desert with no safe way to get them back to Mammoth Lakes. And then they convinced two fourteen-year-old girls that these kind of shenanigans were an appropriate way for grown adults to act and we were in the wrong! I couldn’t make this up if I tried. We were all beyond pissed and incredulous. Our dog Carly is very resilient, she’s a mutt, perhaps a pug, terrier, beagle mixture and she looked hot but she’s built for adversity, but our friends Husky was the concern. Mocha looked like a hot sweaty Husky mess. We needed to get her to cooler temperatures ASAP. If it wasn’t July 2020 amid a pandemic, perhaps I could have just hitchhiked back to Mammoth with the pups with any of the other tourists leaving Bodie State Historic Park. With COVID cases on the rise in California, there was no way I was hitchhiking anywhere. That’s when my boyfriend said he would just take our medium size dog back on the dirt bike and we could shove Mocha in the front of the side by side with me.

Bodie State Historic Park,
Smiling on the outside, but I was pissed about this situation we were thrown into.

I looked at him like he was crazed. Carly can barely handle going out on the kayak with me, how do you think she is going to handle riding a motorbike? We needed a better idea. The only real option we had was to take both dogs back in the side by side, Carly on my lap for the hour drive back and Mocha down by the engine that was burning my legs in shorts. As temperatures and tempers were rising quickly at this point to nearly ninety degrees we had to get the hell out of Bodie State Historic Park. We basically shoved both dogs in the side by side, I held Carly on my lap as we bumped over the rutted dirt road and we made our way back to the trailer we left near Bridgeport. Poor Mocha was so hot I kept spitting in my hand and giving it to her to drink. I know it may sound gross and unsanitary but I was so worried she would get heatstroke. She looked so hot and I could feel the motor of the side by side burning my legs next to her.

As animal lovers, we were all pissed. Who in their right mind thinks it’s okay to ditch dogs in the hot desert-like this? And to try and convince kids these kinds of shenanigans are okay? I realize that Bodie State Historic Park used to be the wild west but this ghost town adventure got a bit too crazed and drama-filled for our laid back vacation. When we got back to camp our “friends” were impossible to talk to; Telling us we took advantage of them and treated them like dog sitters.

Okay, let me tell you, that right there is beyond ridiculous. Number one, if they had asked us to watch their dog for a few hours we would have said sure, no problem. I would do that for any dog-owning friends I know. Because friends help each other out. If they had told us ahead of time they were uncomfortable watching the pups we could have put them in doggy daycare in Mammoth, no big deal. Besides that, I planned this entire vacation. I found the campsite and sent everyone the info to book it. I bought most of the food for everyone in our camp. We brought almost a cord of our own firewood for our campsite. Since our ex “friends” were driving out from Colorado and renting a trailer to be delivered, we brought the easy up, corn hole, everything for the camp kitchen, our hammock and so many other essential parts for the camp set up. I went out of my way to plan so many essential elements of this vacation but sure, we are taking advantage of people.

Bodie State Historic Park,
Vodka, for dog people, or people who need a drink after the day they just had with abandoned dogs.

I honestly have no idea how on earth grown adults think treating animals this way is okay. In my mind, ditching any dog, especially a Husky in the hot desert is animal abuse. After we got back to camp I told our friends I thought they have no idea how friends should treat each other and I never wanted to see them again. Anyone who thinks it’s okay to treat animals like this is no friend of mine. The sad thing is I had to bring up repeatedly how upset I was that the dogs, especially Mocha could have gotten heat exhaustion from being ditched at Bodie State Historic Park. Our “friends” did not understand why we were so upset by the whole ordeal or the danger they had put the dogs in. (And keep in mind, these are people who own dogs)

As Dale Evans, wife of singing cowboy Roy Rogers said, “If we never had any storms, we couldn’t appreciate the sunshine” I guess eliminating crap friends from your life makes you appreciate good friends. It made me appreciate the friends in my life who understand how animals should be treated.

As a travel/dog mom/ outdoor blogger, I think that Bodie State Historic Park is a hidden gem of the eastern Sierras. But take my advice and don’t check out this well-preserved ghost town left over from the days of the California gold rush with crap friends! We got a little more adventure out of our day out at Bodie then we expected, but the good news is both these pups survived to chase squirrels and each other through alpine lakes another day.


  1. Donna @ Modern on Monticello

    Wow – what a story! So glad you took care of the dogs and got them out of the heat. My four dogs are my spoiled babies and I would be so upset too if someone treated them – or any other dog – like that. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us this week. #HomeMattersParty

  2. Gail

    What a nightmare! One thing Covid has shown me is that I need people less and less. It’s good that you were assertive eith your ex friends. Their behaviour was appalling. At least you’ll never forget the Bodie national park! Thanks for joining #WowOnWednesday

Comments are closed.