Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I am Tucker, the Adventure Dog!

A little introduction about myself: my name is Tuck Norris, and I’m pretty sure I’m the cutest. Well, I am very charming, and handsome. Some hoomans mistake me for a mountain goat. Very close, but I’m a black Labrador-Rottweiler prince charming to be accurate. I enjoy lots of photo shoots since modeling comes naturally for me.

I like to pretend I’m obeying my master’s commands; it amuses me when he falls for it and feed me fancy food. I am shy 7 years of age, and still haven’t quite figured out how to lick my butt yet, but that will come someday. The only thing I’m a little embarrassed about myself is my foul breath. Though I’m still getting kisses, so I’m not too stressed out about it.



What makes me an adventure dog is the fact that I love hiking, backpacking for extended periods of time, or even multiple days. I would love to have a companion of my kind for many reasons, but hoomans will do for now. Being an adventure dog give me many benefits, besides the obvious like more treats and frequent pettings, my favorite part of a hike is the satisfactory amounts of butt sniffing from pretty four-legged females, even though I’m not interested in them because I have no balls. I do like to chase stuff, especially stuff that moves around in unpredictable zigs and zags. The Cheshire Cat from “Alice in Wonderland” had a quote that I can completely relate to: “Well, some go this way, some go that way. But as for me, myself, personally, I prefer the shortcut.”


I am quite possibly the most loyal and confident hiking guide you’ve ever asked for, and I’m very protective of my master. On the trial, I never need to put a leash on you as I trust that you will never go out of eye-shot, and you will follow me at all time. I always find my way without a map, hear things that you can’t, see life through the darkness and never complain, nor ever will I give you the stupid pep talk. Although sometimes, I do need to work on my speed; I mostly out hike you, but I always wait and make sure you catch up before proceeding on with my mission. 


Most hoomans I know aren’t out in weather cold/harsh enough that their dogs can’t handle it. That being said, winter is not an issue for me, as I can survive through sub temps that would kill most hoomans. However, when we’re out camping in the cold weather, I gotta admit I do love snuggling into my master’s sleeping bag at night because I care; rumors say that body heat is the best to stay warm. I snore really loud when I sleep as I often stumble across some kinds of epic adventures in my dreams. My master has no trouble sleeping through it because it is the most natural therapeutic sleep remedy for him.



 
One of my favorite two-legged companions is my master’s lady friend. She occasionally wakes me up from my 17-hour Tuck coma, drag me out of the house before I get to tackle my important must-do list, one of which is to sit and stare out the window for several hours pondering Einstein’s theory of relativity, until to see my arch-enemy Claus Von Squirrel-berg as he sits on the tree, mocking me. But, I’d rather go on a hike than completing my list. Just like anyone else, I procrastinate.
Being on top of Boulder Creek Falls, hopping rocks and crossing streams for several miles into the Canyon, climbing Colorado’s highpoint (my first Fourteener, Mt. Elbert), the short and simple 4 mile leg stretch, so called Mt. Sanitas trail, remains my all time entertainment: so many dogs, and plenty of devious chipmunks.



 

I've been through a lot of epic journeys with my master, and that’s how I find my love for the nature and adventures. I’m always up for a hike with anyone, at any time, to the end of the world and I’ll still be your “Mountain Goat”. Also, I’m open for new hiking buddies, no strings attached (pun intended, haha). Petting me IS required. In return, I will satisfy all your “Awww, that’s cute” needs. I will even let you carry my water and the travel bowl. Peanut butter and appropriate amount of dog treats are a plus.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Boulder Flood

I moved to Broomfield, Colorado, on New Year day of 2013. I was born in Vietnam and grew up in Saigon until the age of 14 when I left my country to the United States of America. I remember vividly growing up in Vietnam, during the raining season, it rained every freaking day, which produced frequent floods in the city. In my younger age, 3 feet of water in our house was super cool, sort of like having an indoor swimming pool. 

Living in Boulder for several months in the summer, at 10 a.m. on the first Monday of each month, Boulder tests its emergency warning system –deafening loud sirens and booming voice over the loud speakers chillingly announcing, “THIS IS A WARNING SYSTEM TEST.”

The “100 Year Flood” was part of the local lexicon, one of those legendary things that can’t really happen. On September 12 – 15, when the proverbial “100 Year Flood” actually happened, it was a shocker. For one thing, no one ever thought big flood would happen in September, when summer monsoon storms typically taper off and thunderstorm producing convection is weak. The year, the monsoon was stubborn, and a confluence of static weather systems and particularly abundant moisture produced a cataclysm that seemed to be “biblical”.

The hard rain started on September 11th, and that night I was lying in bed listening as the skies opened up with deluge. Thunder and lightning sent me scurrying for cover.  Then the sirens started. That night alone it rained 7”, exceeding the record of 5.5” for the entire month of September. It did not stop. By the time the weather system finally moved out, some stations had recorded 17” of precipitation.

The next morning, on my way to work, I had to take a detour  due to collapsed bridges. After making it to work safely, which is in Boulder, in less than an hour, our office announced “Closed” due to weather disaster. Instead of heading home, my curiosity got better of me, and I decided to stay in Boulder to see “what was up.” It was stunning to see how every usually tiny trickle had turned into a rushing cascade. The roads were washed out everywhere, and huge new drainage channels had been created literally overnight. Foot bridges over several little creeks had completely disappeared. I foolishly decided to check out Boulder Creek trail, one of my favorites. There was a crossing part over the creek, normally you simply step over a little trickle of water, this time was increasingly life-threatening.


Two days later, there was a break in the rain, and I’d been feeling all cooped up. By now, I saw pictures and video footage on the news – the road washouts and the towns of Lyons and Estes Park underwater. I decided to sneak up on Mt. Sanitas, wasn't sure if I could get on the hills or how far I could go. On my way there, I wasn't prepared for the devastation I found: roads were completely destroyed, houses and cars were in the raging creek. Military helicopters buzzed overhead, assessing the situation. Million dollar homes were parched undamaged up on the hillsides, but they might be worthless due to the inaccessible roads.


Boulder rain finally stopped around 9:00 am on September 16th. The sun timidly poked through the clouds as I walked along city streets, many of which were still in running water. There was mud everywhere, which quickly dried and turned to dust, churned up by traffic. Cops stopped to removed barricades from recently flooded areas, while yellow police-tape blocked off the most damaged areas. Piles of soaked carpet, insulation and furniture lined the sidewalks. In the wake of Boulder’s biggest flood in recorded history, some people lost their homes, tragically some even lost their lives, others are dealing with little more than flooded basements, and some of us very lucky ones are just wondering where we’re going to hike tomorrow.