I spent the next two hours following the ‘Happy Squirrel’ trail line if the occasional smouldering signpost was to be believed. The park, which must at its peak have been a nice, woodsy draw for suburban consumer-zombies and their spawn – all sanitized trails and bear repelling rangers armed with elephant guns – was now a wonderfully ironic wasteland.
Grey ash blew everywhere, carried by hot winds from distant fires still burning. It might’ve been depressing if not for the handy opportunities to light cigarettes from cinders as I walked.
Junior didn’t seem to mind, though after the first few minutes he had managed to accumulate a shoulder-high coat of grey muck. This only added to his unique appearance, putting him somewhere between pokemon reject and something H.P. Lovecraft would have run the hell away from.
Shortly we came to a pond, stocked trout all belly up and gnarly dotted its surface like decomposing sprinkles on a gooey cake you wouldn’t eat on a dare. I sighed and stooped to refill my water bottle.

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