Sunday, October 9, 2011

My First Post-Amputation Hike

Today was an exciting day because I got to go on my first hike since losing my toe, or rather having it taken by the vet, it isn't like I misplaced it or anything. My foot still doesn't have enough callous on it to allow me to walk barefoot on the crushed gravel trails so Mommy ordered me a hiking boot from Ruff Wear. That way I could hike and not have to worry about the gravel cutting into the scar tissue. Mommy had trouble at first getting my rather weird-shaped paw into the boot because the cuff part is quite tight to keep it from sliding off. I kept managing to get two toes in and the stump caught on the cuff leaving one toe out. So she put a thin sock on my paw first and my foot then slid right in.

Me modeling my boot

Mommy was charging up the Merlin Cam which was taking FOREVER since we hadn't used it for a month, and she had finished packing up all our other stuff, water, treats etc. and I got impatient because I knew we were going hiking so I started to whine. Mommy said, "Don't whine at me, Argentina." which is her weird way of saying "Stop it." so I started barking at her instead. After 2 hours of waiting she gave up on the Merlin Cam and unplugged it and we took it off with an incomplete charge. Mommy thought it might stop half way through the hike so she took her camera along too, but the Merlin Cam made it through the whole hike and beyond.

We chose the third shortest hike on the County Hiking Challenge. It was only 1.7 miles, but Mommy didn't want me to overdo it the first time out. By the way, some of you have asked what the County Hiking Challenge is. What it is is the county we live in picks 12 trails in 12 different forest preserves in the county and it marks them with little signs. They range from 1 mile to almost 4 mile hikes and you have three months to hike 7 of the trails. Trails that are over 2 1/2 miles count as 2 hikes and usually Mommy and I do all of the hikes (except the bad ones that don't allow dogs on them). In the past we would do them in quadrants. We would divide the county into four parts and then do all the hikes in one quarter in one go, but, because of my back and now my toe, this year we are only doing one trail at a time. Pre-toe I did two of the longer hikes so I'm up to 5 hikes now because of the double hike bonus. If you do 7 or more hikes you earn a metal badge that you are supposed to nail to a hiking stick. Mommy has sewn all of mine on my backpack, even though I haven't been able to wear the pack since I broke those vertebrae a few years back. It is a fun program and a good way to see trails you may have missed.

Well back to today. We chose the 1.7 mile hike and off we went. I started out being very excited and pulling Mommy along, but about half way through I realized I was getting a little tired and my paw was hurting a bit. So I slowed down and walked with Mommy the rest of the way.

Me out in the lead and very happy to be on the trail again

This preserve has a combination of woods and prairie and lawns where people can picnic and even a playground for kids to play on. Mommy objects to lawns and playgrounds in forest preserves because she thinks kids should be hiking the trails and climbing trees and jumping off stumps and stuff if they are in a forest preserve and not sliding down plastic slides or sitting on sod. They can do that in their city parks, but I guess other humans don't think that way. Anyway here are some Merlin Cam shots of the hike:

WoodsPrairie turning into lawn

I saw lots of squirrels and chipmunks on this hike and two [Auntie Naomi, turn away] snakes. One of the snakes was right in the middle of the trail and Mommy tried to get a picture of it, but I decided to take the oportunity that arose when she was trying to get her camera out of her hip bag to knock her hand aside so I could grab some treats out of the treat bag. She wasn't very happy about that. She did take a picture of me trying to find the first snake after it slithered into the grass to hide.

Me looking for the animal Auntie Naomi doesn't like

[Okay Auntie Naomi, you can start reading again.] At one point I recognized a branch of the trail as being one that leads off to one of my favorite hiking spots that we only do on cool spring and fall days because there is no shade there. There IS a lake with fish which I love and usually ducks and geese and sometimes swans and often horses. I wanted to turn off to go that way, but Mommy said no, we needed to stick with the marked shaded trail because she didn't want me to overdo it by hiking too far AND it was 80 degrees out so it was too hot to hike in direct sun. She also said I was too smart for my own good since I normally see that branch going the other way when we are coming back from taking a woods side hike while doing the lake hike. I hate to admit it, but Mommy was right to not let me take the longer hike. I was VERY tired by the end of the little hike we did and was more than a little happy to see the car. Mommy hung the Merlin Cam on the back of the passenger seat like she usually does after our hikes, but she forgot to turn it off, so I accidentally got a self portrait of me on the trip home.

You can see how happy I was to be back on the trails!

1 comment:

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

Great to see you back on the trail, buddy! That boot looks furry kewl and I see it has reflekshun racing stripes, whoa! I cannot beleef your Merlin cam still werks. I now has gone through 2 Shawnee cams. Mom is waiting to find a triangle screwdriver so she can take them apawt and change the battery. Anyways, pawsome hiking program your county has.