Me and My Favorite Park Ranger

| October 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

Recently, I had an encounter with a park ranger, my third one with the same guy in a week. It didn’t go well.

I’m always trying to avoid them when I walk Rozzie because the rule is that dogs must be leashed in Rock Creek Park. I simply can’t bring myself to keep Rozzie on a leash in the park. The sight of her gallivanting with unbounded joy through the woods is just too appealing. How can I deny her that experience? So, I make some effort to look ahead on the trails when I’m walking so I can hook her up if anybody is coming towards me, not just park rangers, anybody.

A few weeks ago, I was walking into the trail at the intersection of Beach Drive and Military Road. It’s the trail heading up to the nature center. Since I was just entering the trail, I had Rozzie on a leash. A very nice young man, a park ranger, probably in his 30’s, with long frizzy hair was coming down the path from the other way. He greeted me very enthusiastically and I think even complimented me on the fact that I had Rozzie on a leash. I felt good about it, especially knowing that, had I run into him 5 minutes later, Rozzie would have been off the leash, gallivanting. A bullet dodged, I thought.

So, Rozzie and I walked up the hill to the nature center and then came down to the creek, most of the way unleashed. We came down to the creek and walked the mile or so along the creek back towards Military Road. Just as I was turning the corner on the last stretch, who comes around the bend, but the same park ranger. And Rozzie is running free. Uh oh.

He was so very disappointed in me and told me so. Gave me a little lecture about “predators” like Rozzie and their relationship with horses. He said, plaintively, “But you had her on the leash just a little while ago!” As if to say, “You used to be such a good person. Now look at you.” It was said more in sadness than in anger. And it really blew my day. I had been basking in his undeserved goodwill from our previous encounter. And then, I let him down. I felt like such a failure.

In time, I got over it and continued my daily walks in the woods with Rozzie mostly off-leash. Yes, I’m a recidivist. But I had a plan. I decided that I needed to walk earlier, before this park ranger got out of bed. And I need to stay away from Beach Drive and Military Road.

So, about a week later, I started my walk at 7:30 am and stayed clear of Military Road. At about 8:45 am, I was going over a hill toward Oregon Avenue, probably a mile away from my previous busts. When I got to the top and looked ahead, guess who was standing at the bottom looking up at me? Yup, my nemesis, the same park ranger. I immediately hooked Rozzie up and kept walking. Why I didn’t turn around and go the other way, I don’t know. I guess I subconsciously felt I needed to take my medicine like a man.

Another lecture. Again, more in sadness than anger. I’d let him down yet again. He didn’t say, “This is the second time, I’ve caught you!” He didn’t say, “You know, I could fine you $200.” He didn’t say (as one park ranger once said to me), “I could arrest you and put you in jail!”

No, just another weary lecture. He didn’t give me the slightest reason to be mad at him. He was totally in the right and I was totally wrong. I am such a bad person.

This time, I learned my lesson. I need to go out at 7.

Category: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply