Today Buddy and I were headed to a hike we’d done before. But I needed to get home for a 10am meeting, so when I drove by Administration Road on my way to the back side of the mountain and only saw one car, I decided to hike there, instead.
I put on my microspikes, sitting on the edge of the trunk of the car, Buddy whining at me the whole time (I hadn’t taken him out, yet). I don’t move fast enough for Buddy. Despite those spikes, I discovered they didn’t really help enough in the fluffy new snow. I got quite a leg workout. It’s always fun to find out how out of shape you really are. But the air was crisp and clear and the snow was unspoiled fresh white snow. That timing where it is perfect, still coating the branches and leaves.
Buddy, as did Koda every time we hiked, did an early poop. Far enough in that I couldn’t walk the poop bag back to the car. Close enough to the beginning that I didn’t want to carry it our whole walk. So I bagged it and hung it on a low-hanging branch, a green poop bag flag.
I had set my timer for the point where I should turn back around so I would have time to bathe before my meeting. I had intended to just walk up the road. But I was taking some pictures and I took this one as we walked by the entrance to Jack Frost Trail. And I knew that it connected to Lower Link Trail which parallels the road. And it was calling my name. Trails can do that to me. So Buddy and I hung a right and blazed the trail through the new snow cover.
The mountain laurel was so close together that I brushed it as I walked. Which dropped snow into my treat bag, so Buddy’s treats got damp, but he didn’t mind (I dumped them out and let them dry when we got home). A little while after we turned onto Lower Link Trail, my turn-around alarm went off. But I’d walked this trail before (I redlined the mountain one fall) and I thought we were almost to the end of the trail. I was wrong.
Then something not so great happened. Buddy kept stopping and biting at his left foot. I knew he was getting some snowball accumulations, but after the third time I figured I’d better inspect his foot. He had a very large ball right in the middle of his pad and toes. I tried to get it off, but it was so packed, I couldn’t make it budge. I told Buddy to bite it away, and he did, as I held his paw sideways for him. And then we continued on our way. At one point, as he seemed bothered by things again, I inspected all of his paws, and we cleaned them up together in dog/human solidarity.
We weren’t even off Lower Link Trail when Buddy let me know he was DONE. That’s always a bad sign. We first had to get back to Administration road and then we had to travel back down. If you’re wondering how he lets me know he’s done, he turns wild. In this case, he was digging and jumping around in the snow off the edge of the trail. Luckily, it was right around when we hit the junction with Harrington trail, which led us back to the road. Oh, and right about then he decided to poop again. This time I had to carry the bag-o-poop. I figured out a way to hook it on the treat bag which made things easier, but in case you don’t know, just because a poop is in one of those little bags, sealed up tight, doesn’t mean you don’t get a whiff of it occasionally. Gross.
On Jack Frost and Harrington trails you have to cross a stream. Buddy loves running water. Before crossing the bridge, I let him explore the stream for a couple of minutes.
So we got back to the road and turned to head back to the car. (Only Buddy didn’t know that, which I realized a little further on, when we finally reached the point where we veered off onto Jack Frost Trail.) Buddy knows the phrase “keep going,” which he learned because he tends to want to pee on the snow on the deck. So I say “keep going, keep going, keep going!” to urge him all the way to the back yard before he lets loose. That phrase came in handy today, because Buddy didn’t want to keep going. He just kept stopping right in front of me. I felt like we would never get off the mountain, and told him so. But at one point I decided to just let him sit for a bit. And recorded this video. It was so peaceful and a perfect moment of rest.
I decided to try running with him for a bit. In snow. At least it was downhill. That kept him going a little better. Then, all of a sudden we hit the Jack Frost Trail junction and he perked up. He was a whole new pup with a burst of energy. He finally knew we were on the way back to the car. Some dogs might be able to tell by direction if you are heading back the way you came, even if you don’t follow the same way back. Not Buddy boy. I call him spatially challenged. But that’s okay, because I can be, too, in some cases. I’m usually pretty good with directions, though.
Even though he’s spatially challenged, he is right on point at alerting me to his poop bag that we leave on the beginnings of our walks. And did so this time, too, pulling me over to the edge of the trail and putting his nose right on it. I think he’d carry it if I let him. But those teeth are sharp and what a mess that would be if they punctured the bag. I’m not taking that chance. Nope.
So, that was our snowy hike. It sure did tire Buddy out for awhile, and that’s always a beautiful thing. But it was too long for him and I try to keep things appropriate for his age. My fault for not turning around when my alarm went off. Even old dogs can learn new things. This one is going to listen to her alarm next time.