July 14, 2013 — near Dominguez Canyon, CO, USA
At seven in the morning, my husband Kurt unzips our tent door from the inside. Through the open flap and the a.m. mist, we see a balding man in shorts and a ragged T-shirt approach with a dog.
“I guess you didn’t see my no trespassing sign over there,” he states matter-of-factly.
The owner of the private land on which we had just tented without permission, Ewell, stands just outside our “illegal” nylon shelter. Kurt and I expected a scenario like this but we still aren’t ready for it.
“We are so sorry,” I begin to apologize and Kurt gets out the tent.
“We were trying to meet up with our friends in Dominguez Canyon,” Kurt explains. “And we misjudged how long it would take and we ended up rafting in the dark and we heard rapids, and we pulled over here.”
“We have kids,” I blurt out.
Ewell surveys the scene.
“So, basically, you guys were in trouble,” he says and then comes closer to the tent.
“Let me see these kids,” he moves the unzipped flap over and his labrador bounds through, tackling my son Eddie and licking him and my daughter Kasey all over.
“That’s Odie,” Ewell says. “And he won’t hurt you.”
Leave it kids and a dog to break the ice.
And we needed to break the ice since we were completely staked out on this guy’s property, which turned out to be an orchard next to the Gunnison River.