When a trail is called Swamp Forest, believe that it is named so for a reason and do not take your wild dog and baby there or you'll be picking bugs from your hair and feeling your feet as they wet inside your boots, which sink into the swamp forest ground.
A big bird, a pigeon or dove maybe, swoops down in front of us and into the reeds on our right. I scream. Baby cries. And the dog pulls toward the bird to bite it. I hurry us along.
On this horrid, beautiful path, there are signs on the left reading: NO TRESPASSING/PRIVATE PROPERTY...signs before dry hills that stretch high toward the wind and out of the mud. What would Woody Guthrie say if he were here with me?
We lose a baby sock along the way when I decide to run through the tall muddy grass, the leash stretching taut before me and baby strapped into her carrier, bobbing. I laugh as dog and I sprint for higher ground.
When back on trails with tree markers and firm land, baby fusses. She wants to nurse. I pull out my breast and hope that no one comes by. This is when the dog poops. I need to pick it up. It's right off the path. I pull my boob away, pick up the poop and tie off the bag. Baby fusses and so I pull my sweat-sticky boob out once again and feed away her fussiness. The dog pulls. She needs water and remembers the stream with the bridge up ahead. I start to walk slowly, holding a bag of dog poop and a leash and wearing a baby who's looking up at the green leaves with my nipple in her stubborn mouth, while I pluck bugs from my hair and feel my feet soak inside my soggy boots.
Never again Swamp Forest Trail. Never again.