10 March 2011

a girl and her dog

It's a classic, time-honored Hollywood storyline: a timid, uncertain girl sets off on an epic journey of self-discovery, with only her faithful dog to accompany her. The dog remains by her side through thick and thin, and helps her overcome trials and tribulations. By the end of the movie, the aforementioned girl has grown as a person, and become stronger and more self-assured.

Examples of this plot line can be found in the Wizard of Oz, in which young Dorothy must undergo a perilous journey to find her way home, accompanied by her dog Toto. It is also featured in Anastasia, which is a fine family film about a young woman who travels to Moscow in order to uncover her true identity. Her constant companion is a small dog whom she names Pooka. They're both fantastic films, but I think I'm going to choose to self-identify a little bit more with Dorothy, for several reasons.
What does this have to do with me, you ask? Well, in the last post, I had just mentioned my journey to Santa Teresa, and my encounter with a large, shaggy, white dog. Let me please stress that I am NOT a dog person. So when the dog
started following me, I was not thrilled. I did not make eye contact with the dog, nor did I give him any indication that his presence was welcome. Nevertheless, he continued to keep pace with me, with a wide dog smile on his dog face.

And suddenly it occurred to me that maybe he wasn't just a dog. I'm familiar with stories of spirit animal guides, but more importantly, I've seen Anastasia. Little Pooka appears out of nowhere, and leads Anastasia down the right path. . . and maybe that's what this dog was here to do. As Anastasia says after Pooka points her in the direction of Moscow, "Okay. . . I can take a hint. . ."

So I decided I was okay with this dog following me. And even though I refrained from petting him, I did give him a name: Loki. He could be our hostel's mascot, plus Loki was originally the name of a mischievous Norse god who could be helpful or troublesome, depending on his attitude. And the name Loki also sounds a little bit like Lucky, which is just a classic dog name.

We walked. I was under the impression that the hydroelectric plant was nearby, but it ended up being over an hour. Along the way, my trail led me right beside the river, over massive boulders, and across thin bridges made of wooden boards. I passed a few other trekkers, but not as many as I'd expected.

When I arrived at the hydroelectric plant, I wrote my name and information in the register book. With the approval of the ranger manning the book, I whistled to Loki, and we officially entered the Machu Picchu region. The two guards standing before the entrance to the train station asked me if I wanted to buy tickets or water, but I declined. I knew I had about three and a half hours before the sun set, and I had two liters of water in my backpack, weighing me down.

It was clear that I'd picked a good trekking partner when I came to the first fork in the path. I could go up a dirt road that curved to the right and then possibly curved back to the left (which was the direction I wanted), or I could go up a steep set of stairs, the rails of which were wrapped with caution tape. Vaguely I remembered reading something online about needing to go up a set of stairs shortly after the hydroelectric plant, but I couldn't tell if the tape on the rails was meant to keep me from straying off the stairs, or meant to keep me from taking the stairs at all. I looked to Loki, who bounded straight up the stairs without a second thought. I followed at a slightly slower pace.


Uncle Dave said...

So........how does the story end?

Anonymous said...

Lizzie, Lizzie, where are you? Ready for more photos. You could still blog about THIS summer! :-)