Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hike 10 or Hike 15 or 16...The Last Hike

Up until a couple of years ago Mommy and I had the Thanksgiving tradition of taking an all day hike and then stopping by a friend's great big Thanksgiving gathering for pie on the way home. (Her friend is the oldest of 11 kids, which is an awful big litter for humans, and with all the spouses and kids and in-laws and leftovers like Mommy they rent a church hall for the gathering and the church isn't far from our house). It was fun taking those hikes because hardly anyone is on the trails on Thanksgiving Day and we'd get to see a lot of wildlife, but then a couple years ago Mommy's oldest brother stopped inviting Grandma and Grandpa to come to his house in Minnesota for Thanksgiving. When that happened Grandma and Grandpa decided they wanted Mommy and me to come to their house for dinner along with some old friends of theirs. So no more Thanksgiving Day hike.

So, we started a new tradition and now take a day before Thanksgiving Day hike. Mommy's work has a 1/2 day the day before Thanksgiving Day and Mommy doesn't do 1/2 days so that gave us the day for a hike. Today we took the last hike on the county hiking challenge. It was a wildcard hike which meant that we got to pick our own place to go so we went to the savanna that is not too far from our house. Mommy had to do some laundry first and I was VERY impatient to get going, but we got out around 1 p.m. The preserve wasn't empty like on Thanksgiving Day, but there were no bikes and no screaming kids and only one person who thinks that hiking means you talk loud on your cellphone so we got to see a lot of wildlife after all. Shortly after we started our hike we spotted two cooper's hawks circling over the savanna and then a third one came swooping out of the trees by the wetlands and flew so low over our heads that Mommy actually flinched! It flew off to join the other two and they all circled and swooped around the prairie. When we got to the wetlands we were suddenly mooned by a good two dozen ducks all at the same time. That seemed a bit rude to me, but Mommy laughed and said something yummy must be in the water. A little further along the hike we saw a flock of Canada geese hanging out debating about continuing south or staying at the savanna for the winter and then we spotted two sandhill cranes hunting mice in a burn area. I watched them quietly with Mommy for quite awhile, but then I couldn't take it anymore and I had to bark at them. Mommy made me move along at that point. After hiking a bit more we came to the wildlife watching area and we spotted a great egret! We see snowy egrets a lot, but we've never seen a great egret. He must have been a migration straggler. Then four more sandhill cranes flew overhead. I think they were going to go visit the ones we saw hunting mice. Maybe they were going to have Thanksgiving together. Finally, just as we were about to finish our hike three deer came bouncing out of a small clump of trees and ran right alongside us!! This was WAAAAAY too much for me and I dragged Mommy along behind me as I totally forgot my hiking manners and chased them. When they disappeared into another clump of trees I barked and hopped around trying to get them to come back out and run some more, but they didn't.

The wildcard hike was listed as counting as one hike, but, since we did a 3.6 mile hike for our wildcard Mommy isn't sure if it would officially count as two hikes so that is why we aren't sure if we are at 15 or 16 for the official count. Doesn't matter though since we only needed to do 7 hikes to earn our badge. I was very tired by the end of the hike, probably because of the deer chase, and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to hop in the car, but I did manage to climb in and I fell asleep as soon as the car started up. Mommy ran a couple errands with me in the car, including picking up my hiking badge, and I gave her the stink eye each time she came back to the car and woke me up.

Despite all the critters we saw I didn't get a single picture of one. Here are some of my shots I thought you might like though:

looking across the savanna

there wasn't a cloud in the sky

stopping for a drink

Doesn't this one look creepy?
Mommy liked the way you only see the guy's feet and shadow.

1 comment:

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

Oh, I is so sorry you cannot do your Thanksgibbing Day hike any more. That do be the bestest day and Chrissmuss day, too. But at least you got a pre-Thanksgibbing hike in. And wowser, so much wildlifes. I furgot my hiking manners last weekend, too. Usually skwerrels can run rite in front of me and I ignore them. (In MY yard they be fair game.) But last weekend a skwerrel CUT ME OFF on the trail and I taked off after him and the minit I heard mom say SHAWNEE I turned around runned to her hanging my head in shame. I dunno if'n I woz hasing a senior moment or a blonde moment. Dang skwerrels. I could hear him laffing at me in the bushes. Well anyways, Happy Thanksgibbing to you and your mom!