Tuesday, September 4, 2012

County Hiking Challenge 2012--Hikes 2, 3 & 4

Mommy and I did two hikes in one day and one the next for the county hiking challenge this weekend.  The double hikes were both short hikes (1.1 miles and 1.2 miles) and the second hike in the pair was kind of on the way home from the first hike.  The second day hike was 1.9 miles long. We used to do all the hikes in four days because Mommy would divide the county into quarters and we do one quarter's worth of hikes in one day, but that is too much for me to do these days.  However, anything around 2 miles is just about right especially if I get to rest in the car in the middle.  So here are the hikes.

The first hike was in a sedge meadow with a creek running through it.  The creek was in really bad shape when the county got the land, so they restored it.  Now they are working on fixing the problems that have made the creek polluted.  So, even though there is a creek, it was a no swimming hike for me.  Mommy and I don't remember being at this preserve before, but we could be wrong.  There is a big playground right off the parking lot, which Mommy doesn't approve of.  She thinks that playgrounds bring in the wrong type of people. People who think their kids need playgrounds tend to not see why they need natural surroundings.  Anyway, it was a nice little hike with lots of good smells.

Heading towards the sedge meadow

The creek is right in the middle of this picture
All the yellow is various sunflowers, ragweed, goldenrod, and cone flowers

Resting up on the way to hike 2

Hike two was at the river and marina.  We've done this hike lots of times before and this hike always has a background sound of Mexican polka music which is actually called conjunto norteño.  This is because every time we have been there there has been a group celebrating a birthday or anniversary or graduation or quinceanera and they are always playing this music.  So here is an example for you to play while you continue with this blog post:


This hike goes through the party area, where the music was playing but no guests had arrived yet, then over to the river where I get to swim in the boat launch.  Then the trail goes to a river overlook and then you can go down to the marina or turn around and walk a low trail along the river or you can keep going and go through a little bit of trees and then past the parking lots and back to the party area.  This time I wanted to do both the top and the bottom river walks so that added about a half mile onto the hike.  I didn't want to see the marina though so after looping the river walks we went through the woods and back to the party area where the guests had arrived for what turned out to be a quinceanera, but nobody was dancing.  Mommy says, "How can you play polka music and NOT dance?" and she always does a little polkaing on the way back to the car which is very embarrassing.  Also, I am never invited to these events which is wrong because the food always smells really good and I always try to get Mommy to come crash it with me, but she refuses every time.

Swimming in the boat launch

The lower river walk
I used to be able to climb down to the river here, 
but it is too hard for me these days because it is just big rocks

Look, Mommy a handicap space close to the river walk!
Why didn't we park here? I'm handicapped.

 Falling asleep in the car on the ride home

 Home! Where a big dog biscuit is waiting for me.

My total mileage for the two hikes with the added part was 2.8 miles.

The third hike was along the river trail that we hike a lot.  Once, a few years ago, there was a cougar that was being spotted all over the county and the "experts" were saying it was an imaginary cougar because there are no cougars in Illinois and besides nobody was seeing the cougar get from one place to another.  But Mommy and I walk so many trails and bike paths in our county that we figured out the cougar was following the trails. So we would check the cougar reports before hiking and pick trails where the cougar hadn't been seen lately.  Well, we were on this trail that year when I started sniffing and wuffing and then I spotted some tracks that looked and smelled like great big kitty tracks and Mommy looked at them and started looking around A LOT.  Then she spotted something not far up the trail and we went to check it out and it was a really freshly killed bunny.  So Mommy and I turned around and walked very quickly back to the car.  Anyway, I tell you this because once again a cougar is being spotted in the county, but he seems to be following a different set of trails this time, but still, when we got to the dead bunny spot Mommy did a good and thorough scan of the woods before we continued.

It was a busy day on the trail with lots of bikers.
If you look closely you can see some people ahead of us.

 We pass a lagoon which is always covered in algae and turtles

This guy struck Mommy funny because of how much algae he's wearing.

Another biker

On the return trip I got hot and tired and grumpy because all my favorite wading spots had dried up.
There is supposed to be a swamp full of frogs to my left but it wasn't there.
I figured I'd wait for it to come back, but Mommy got impatient.

I took another breather and got a good shot looking up at the trees.

When we got to where I normally take a dip in the river the water was too low for me to get to it.
Mommy and I wandered off trail a bit and found a spot where I could get in.
Getting out was another matter and I ended up having to swim upstream a bit while Mommy walked along the shore holding my leash until she found a spot I could climb out at.
There were interesting smells there and not too much poison ivy.

 Hooray! Mommy's car!

So that was my busy Labor Day Weekend worth of hikes.  Three more hikes to go and I will have completed the challenge, but Mommy and I hope to do all the dog-friendly hikes like we've always done in the past.


Sam said...

What great hikes! Be careful with the cougar - is there something to bring along to help protect yourself?


Shawnee the Shepherd said...

OMD, Merlin, I missed so many of your bloggies but I is catching up now. So you take your mom hiking where there be cougars and I take mine hiking where there be wanted murderers. That will teach them to dance in public and embarrass us.