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I’ve done it. I’ve finally found a place free from the coronavirus crisis and it’s smack dab in the haunts of the Wolfman himself. Crazy times, indeed.

I left my home in Arrowhead last week to check on my Big Bear cabin and, as I pulled up my driveway, I was thrilled to see that the snowstorm in Arrowhead had given way to sunshine. After giving the cabin a once-over, I hiked up the nearby forest road as my truck keys, attached to my belt hook, jingle-jangled away. Suddenly, I heard the familiar bark of a dog around a bend in the road. 

Soon I was giving Sasha, the neighbor’s dog, a big helping of affection. I hadn’t seen her for months and she let out a mournful cry of joy. I then headed to her home as her mate, Gator, joined us. Their owner, Bob, was chopping wood. “Hey, Mike, long time no see.” he said, as Sasha and Gator wrestled nearby. 

“They were born on an Indian reservation.” he recalled. “They had Indian names, but my wife and I couldn’t pronounce them.” I didn’t bother to ask Bob about it. He’s a storyteller and I’m a born listener.

“Have I ever told you that Lon Chaney—the original Wolfman—had a cabin up the road…” 

Suddenly, Sasha and Gator bolted into the forest. “They’re going off to explore,” Paul said. I listened to his stories for awhile, then it was time to head back to my office in Arrowhead—back to snow and fog and COVID-19 news. Blah.

I’ll have to stay near my office—we’re open for business—as this drama plays out, but, soon enough, I’ll be back. Sasha will be sitting by the side of the road, listening for the jingle-jangle of my keys. She’ll get her usual helping of affection, then I’ll hit the hiking trail, beyond the lair of the Wolfman, beyond the year 2020, up to the blessed backcountry… where a veteran hiker like me doesn’t need any darned toilet paper! 

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