Mommy was working in the yard and was about to start digging more leaves into the vegetable garden when she looked at me and said, "You know what? Today is too nice a day to not go hiking. Especially since they say it might rain tomorrow." So she put down her shovel and off we went on our 8th hike for the county challenge. This hike was 2.6 miles long so it counted for 2 hikes which brings our total up to 13. We haven't been to this preserve for about three years and boy has it changed! It used to be a hike through great big old trees, but now it is a hike through great big stumps and windfalls. Remember earlier this year when we had the really big wind that made Mommy go crazy and decide we were going to live like pioneer dogs with no lights even though it was scary dark out and also that caused her to take me on the Dumbest Vacation Ever where we drove all our food to Grandma and Grandpa's houses? Well, Mommy thinks that that is why there are a lot of big stumps and windfalls. She thinks that nasty wind took down a bunch of the old trees and they knocked down a lot of the smaller younger trees too. There was also a gigantic pile of dead trees in one part of the hike. It was almost as big as our house! We aren't sure why they were there. Maybe they were invasive species being piled up for burning or maybe (we hope not) they had gotten emerald ash borers in them and were waiting to be hauled away. It was a very sad looking preserve.
There were still a lot of younger trees and the river that the hike runs along was still there, although there were some big trees tipped over into it too. There were enough trees that I got to see a big bunny, or deer as Mommy insists on calling them. He was hopping through the scrub and I barked at him to tell him to stop hopping. I also saw a great big V of geese heading to their winter home and a great blue heron flying to the river. Maybe he was related to the one who hangs out by the lake. We veered off the official hike at one point so we could hike down one of the mowed prairie trails and it was flooded. I walked through it with my boot on and then was not happy about having to wear a soaking wet hiking boot for the rest of the hike. I don't understand why Mommy wears shoes on hikes, they are a pain in the neck. I wore my camera but I got only two shots that weren't blurry pictures of my chin and neither showed the trees or the river. Here they are anyway:
Here is a shot that was taken as Mommy and I were arguing...um...wrestling over...um...fighting about...um discussing...um putting on my hiking boot because I had walked my bootless limit of 1 1/2 miles:
We aren't real sure where this one was taken. It may be by the gigantic pile of dead trees that we passed. If it is, then the lumpy/hilly shape on the right would be the far edge of the pile: