Sunday, September 29, 2013

County Challenge Hike 6/9

I realized I mislabeled last week's hike. It should have been Hike 5/7 because it was a double hike. It also meant that technically we have finished the challenge as we have hiked 7 hikes, but, as you know, we try to hike all the hikes I am allowed to take each year.  So today we did hike 6, another double hike, so it could also be hike 9 depending on how you are counting.

This was a woods hike.  Mommy doesn't take me to this place very often because the parking lot is very small for an area that gets a lot of visitors. We've come down here in the past and have been unable to get a parking space. Plus, some of the people who use this preserve are rude and Mommy says I tend to develop an attitude on the trails here too because either there are female coyotes in the area or people walk bitches in heat on these trails an awful lot. The official trail goes through the woods and was 2.7 miles long.

We had just started on our hike and I was behind Mommy sniffing a tree and Mommy was picking up our water jug which had fallen over in the stroller, when a woman jogged past Mommy.  Mommy heard me go "Oof!" and turned around to find me sprawled out on the ground next to the tree. She said, "What happened?" and I looked over my shoulder at the woman jogging. Mommy isn't sure, but she suspects that the jogger kicked or shoved me for some reason as she ran past me, which, catching me off guard, since I was concentrating on the tree, and with my bad hind end, would easily topple me over.  Mommy helped me to my feet and brushed me off and we continued hiking.

 Wooded trail

We walked the official hike until it met up with the river trail (at a quarter mile).  Then I decided I wanted to ride in my stroller and Mommy decided she wanted to take the river trail for a bit.  We hiked the river trail until we got to the next trail head and then we turned around and went back to the  official hike. We hiked along that trail for a while and then I barked that I wanted to get out of the stroller and hike again. I hiked for another 3/4 of a mile and then I told Mommy I wanted back in the stroller.

I picked up a whole lot of burs as I hiked.
Mommy says I'm made of Teflon because she can always just pluck burs right off me with no trouble.

As Mommy was helping me into my stroller again a couple who were hiking the other way stopped to talk to Mommy about me and my stroller.  Mommy explained that I've been her Sunday hiking companion for 12 1/2 years and she was NOT going to leave me behind now.  They said they thought it was wonderful that she would consider me like that.  I rode for a bit more and then decided I wanted to walk for the last half mile.  Mommy let me out after warning me that I was going to have to walk the whole way back to the car, and I did.

Mommy complained that I had to sniff EVERY SINGLE **bleeping** tree as I hiked.
Well, yeah. There are lots of messages in these woods!
(And it is a sneaky way to take a rest.)

Total miles walked by me: 1.5. Total miles riding in my stroller: 2.7. Total miles hiked: 4.2.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

County Hiking Challenge Hike 5/6

After our hike number 4/5 Mommy and I both got sick.  Mommy felt very run down that night and kept yawning while she was out at the theater. I just went to bed while she was gone.  The next morning Mommy woke up feeling sick to her stomach and she ran to the bathroom.  While she was in there I felt sick too and I tried to get up to go poop in the other room, but I had gotten myself stuck lying down in the middle of the hardwood floor and I ended up pooping as I was lying down and then getting the poop all over myself and the bedroom floor as I tried to get away from it.  Mommy came out of the bathroom finally and saw what had happened to me and we had to go out and I had to have a second bath in two days and Mommy had to scrub the bedroom floor.  Then, even though Mommy didn't feel well she went to work because she knew they were understaffed.  She only lasted two hours at work and then had to come home.  I had pooped in the back room while she was gone.  Mommy cleaned up that poop and we went to bed.  Later that day both Mommy and I got fevers. The next day I felt better, but still a bit poopy, but Mommy didn't feel better, she still had a fever so she didn't go to work that day and we slept almost all day.  That night Mommy's fever was gone and I was STARVED. Mommy gave me food and extra probiotics and a Carafate for my ulcer just in case.  Mommy still didn't feel like eating that day, but by the next day she was able to eat.  The best we can figure is that when I jumped into the lake on Hike 4/5 I picked up some kind of bacteria and then when Mommy gave me a bath (a full contact sport around here) she got lots of the bath water on her and in her and so she got the icky bacteria too.  Being a dog, I was able to fight off the bacteria a bit faster than Mommy was. Anyway, Mommy says, "No more swimming in lakes before Mommy has a chance to give them a good look-see." but I don't think that is going to happen.

Anyway, we took a weekend off to be sick, but then today we did our Hike 5/6.  We go to this hike quite a bit because it has a nice CLEAN lake that I can swim in so I know it well and have various places along the hike where I have to go down to the water. 

 The lake. We have never figured out what that smokestack belongs to.

I hiked the first mile which included going down to the water and chasing fish a couple times.  I love chasing fish.

 Where are the fish?

Then, after chasing the fish the second time I asked to get in the stroller and I rode for about a mile until Mommy decided to take a side trail we haven't taken in a long time.  This trail leads up to the far north trailhead of the river trail that goes through the entire county.  I rode for about a half mile and then I decided I wanted to walk and sniff so I barked to get out and walked the quarter mile to the trail head. Mommy got me some water from the pump at the trailhead and then we headed back to the official hike.  Since I had gotten my sniffs in I hopped back in the stroller for the end of the hike.

 The last time we were here this field was corn.  This time it was soybeans.  
Mommy thought the soybeans were very pretty with all their shades of yellow.

I rode happily until we got to a side trail that leads down to a fishing dock. Then I barked for Mommy.  Mommy asked if I wanted out, but I didn't.  I wanted her to wheel me down to the dock. So we went down and I got to look out over the water and then we continued on the hike.  When we got to the trail that leads to a bridge I barked again so Mommy would know to take that trail too.  We were part way down that trail when a horrible something flew into the stroller and landed on my head! I could feel it digging into my head trying to eat my brains so I started whining and barking for Mommy to save me.  Mommy stopped the stroller to see what was wrong and then she started laughing at me!  Instead of helping me she tried to get her camera out to take of picture of my brains being eaten. But then I realized that if something WAS trying to eat my brains Mommy probably wouldn't be laughing so I scraped my head against the side of the stroller and knocked the grasshopper that had been riding on my head off. Mommy was sad she didn't get a picture, but I'm glad she didn't. That would have been far too embarrassing!  We continued to the bridge and Mommy stopped in the middle so I could look out over the water.

Looking over the water from my stroller.

We retraced our steps back to the trail and went back to the car.  Total miles hiked by me about 1.25 ridden by me about 2.75. Total miles: 4.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

County Hiking Challenge Hikes 1 - 4 (5)

 Mommy and I started doing the county hiking challenge for this year.  We took our first hike on the Sunday before Labor Day.  It was supposed to be a woods hike, but the map was wrong and a lot of what was marked woods was not woods.  This was unfortunate because it was in the mid-eighties and Mommy was already grumpy because I came in from being outside for 20 minutes, ate my Sunday egg and then got up on the bed and pooped on the clean sheets she had just made the bed with that morning. I not only got the dog hair sheet I managed to pull the sheets and blankets down enough to get the dog hair sheet, the blanket, the top sheet the bottom sheet and one pillowcase.  Mommy ended up having to do two extra loads of laundry because of that and she didn't speak to me until the laundry was all done.  Anyway, Mommy thought maybe a hike would put her in a better mood, but it didn't, it just made her hot and grumpy and she took no pictures. It was a 3 mile hike, of which I hiked 1 mile and rode the other two.

Our second/third hike was on Labor Day.  Mommy woke up in a better mood (although she wouldn't let me on the bed in the middle of the night and insisted I sleep on my own bed) and it was cooler so we went and took one of the longer hikes. It was officially a 2.8 mile hike so it counts as two hikes, but we took a side trail to a pond and made it a 4.4 mile hike so it really WAS like two hikes.

The prairie sunflowers were out in force

I hiked the first .8 miles and then I decided I wanted to ride.  We met up with another dog in a stroller (a small basset hound in a medium stroller) hiking with his people and two younger dogs.  The basset's mom said, "We do love our old babies don't we." and Mommy agreed.

Here I am at the pond. 

We'd never hiked here in this spot before so I insisted on getting out of the stroller so I could get all the sniffs. I saw a frog on the shore and went to get a closer look, but the water went from ankle deep to over my back with no slope. I was surprised, but not upset by my accidental swim. 

Mommy was too busy laughing at me to get a picture of me in the water, but here I am after I got out. 
I'm thinking "Bad frog!"

I ended up walking about 2 miles and riding the other 2.4.

Our third/fourth hike was in a new forest preserve that we'd never been to. This preserve opened late last year and it is a nice one!  There isn't really a preserve entrance yet so you park at the forest preserve's operations department (where they keep the heavy equipment) parking lot and walk down a fire road to get to the trail.  It is a combination of gravel and paved and is a bit hilly.

 Here is the start of the hike. 

Mommy wants to come back again when color starts because she thinks those trees will be magnificent.  After you hike for about a mile you can take a grass path to a lake. It is a very nice view, but unfortunately the lake is too far away through a lot of swampy scrub to get down to the shore and swim.  Maybe that will change as they keep improving the preserve.

 The lake

Then if you keep going there is a mile and a bit more of the trail a big part of which is this serpentine boardwalk over marshland.

 It is a very long boardwalk

Then the trail suddenly stops, but there is a sign that says that the rest of the trail should be built some time next year.  They need to build an underpass under a busy road and then it will connect to one of my favorite preserves on the other side of the busy road.  Mommy hopes it is on time and I am still around to hike it at least once after it all connects.

As I promised Shawnee the Shepherd, I had Mommy take some movies of me walking so that she won't feel so bad about having a limp now.  All us older dogs walk a little funny.  Here they are:

Back view. 
You can see my back feet just sort of fall wherever they feel like.
Sometimes my legs will even cross

Side view
The legs just kind of fly out and plop down.
Mommy says she can tell I'm thinking "left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot."

Total miles 6. Hiked by me 1.5, ridden by me 4.5.

Our fourth/fifth hike was to the little lake where I did a lot of my rehab hiking after I had my toe amputated. This hike is all mowed trail so the stroller couldn't come along, but that's okay because the hike is only 1 mile long.

The hike goes under high tension power lines and next to an interstate

 But it has a very nice little lake in the middle

Mommy set her stopwatch on her phone and it took us 43 minutes 10 seconds to finish the hike with a little swim break in the middle. So Mommy figures I walk at just under 2 miles an hour these days.  We got back to the car just as it was starting to rain which was good.  Mommy gave me a bath in the rain when we got home, which was bad.

Total miles hiked: 1 with no stroller time at all.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Monthly Diary for August, 2013

August was a fun month.  As I talked about last month I got a STROLLER for my birthday so that Mommy and I could take longer hikes.  We took a few hikes at home and I quickly figured out that I could hike until I was tired and then get in and ride and nap and then get out when I was rested up again so I could get all the good sniffs in.

Then Mommy and I went on vacation in Wisconsin for a week and a bit.  Mommy packed one small suitcase, a bag of books, her camera, her laptop, and an ice chest of food for herself which took up the passenger seat footwell and 1/2 the front passenger seat and then she packed my stroller, a suitcase of toys, food bowls, meds, and leashes, an ice chest with my yogurt and cheeses for my meds, my life vest, my big tin of food, a smaller tin of treats, my travel bed, and a jug of water for the drive, which took up the whole back of the car, the backseat passenger side footwell and the other half of the front passenger seat.  She said traveling with me now is like traveling with a toddler.

Anyway we got to Wisconsin and we had a lot of fun.  We spent most mornings and late afternoons sunning on the dock and trying to swim in the lake (it was far colder than normal so neither Mommy nor I swam for long most days.)

Lounging on the dock

We also took a lot of pedal boat rides.  The first couple were relatively short, then Mommy expanded how far she pedaled each day until one day we pedaled around the big 1/2 of the lake (about 2.5 miles) and then the next day we pedaled around the whole lake (about 3 miles).  When I say "we" I mean Mommy pedals and I captain.  I love riding in the pedal boat because you get to see and sniff so many things without having to work at all, unless you are Mommy that is.  We met some friends on the lake on the day we went around the big half. They brought their boat over to us and one said, "We saw a woman with a big dog in a pedal boat and knew there was only one person that could be!"

 Me being captain of the pedal boat

 Going through the tunnel that connects the big and little parts of the lake.
What made that little wake?


We also took three hikes with my stroller.  The first hike we took was a four miles into town and four miles back hike.  I hiked the first mile or so and then I rode in the stroller.  When we got to town Mommy stopped and refilled our water and I went swimming in the big lake in town and then I rode back.  I got out to swim in the small lake I like to swim in and then walked some and then got back in the stroller.  On the walk to and from town there is a GREAT BIG hill that is the bane of walkers, bikers, rollerbladers and joggers.  Many bike riders and rollerbladers are afraid to go down the hill because it is so long and steep (It is at at least a 45 degree angle but Mommy thinks it is more of a 50 degree angle) and not many bikers, bladers or joggers get up to the top coming up the other way without stopping.  When we got to the bottom of the hill Mommy said, "Okay, time to hop out and walk." I looked at the hill and said, "No thanks, I'd prefer to ride." Mommy said, "No really, get out." I said, "Make me." and Mommy pushed me in the stroller all the way to the top.  Half way up she had to change how she was pushing it and when she got to the very top she stopped and drank about 1/2 my water. She really needs to get herself in better shape if we are going to be out hiking.  We both took an hour nap when we got home.

The other two hikes were down the Bearskin State Park Trail. One at the top of the trail and one at the bottom of the trail.  The top of the trail was uneventful. I hiked, I rode, I got out and swam in my favorite swimming spots. It was fun and we were quite the talk of the trail. Even though it is a tourist area people up there tend to keep their big dogs in backyard kennels and only take them out during hunting season, so seeing a big "huntin' dog" riding in a stroller was baffling for a lot of them.  Mommy took a picture of me at the trailhead sign and then she remembered she had taken almost the same picture of me 10 years ago.  Here they are

Me in August, 2013

Me in August, 2003

As long as we were in town Mommy decided to stop and get some fudge to take back for our neighbor who was taking in our mail.  Mommy parked me in my stroller in front of the fudge store.  There is a great big window there where you can look in at the high school kid who has the job of stirring the giant vat of whatever fudge they are making at the time.  Mommy figured she could see the stroller and he would watch me while she was in the store.  He did more than that. He called all the other kids over to come see me.  People walking down the sidewalk also stopped to look at me too.  As I said, they aren't used to that kind of thing.  When Mommy left the store she said to the kid at the vat, "Yes, I'm crazy." and another boy who worked there and was leaving at the same time said to Mommy, "I think that thing is GREAT!!"

When we did the lower half of the trail I walked about the first mile and then I rode.  This trail is an old railroad line and the lower half is full of trestles as the Bearskin Creek zigzags back and forth under it.

 Bearskin Creek

When we would get to the center of each trestle I would bark and Mommy would stop and turn the stroller so that I could look out over the water.  When we got past the really long trestle I sat up and barked which is how I say I want to walk.  Mommy stopped and let me out and I immediately went down the bank and jumped into the creek.  This seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turns out that the creek is VERY muddy in the shallows and I sank up to my hips in the goo.  Mommy had to help pull me out.  The creek is also very high in iron so when Mommy finally got me out I was coated in black mud and smelled like a sewer pipe.  

The goo is so deep in places that somewhere under there covered by about 20 feet of mud is a steam engine, two railroad cars and the crane that was brought in to pull them back onto the track after they derailed.

I walked a little way and then Mommy shoved me into a cleaner section of the creek to try to rinse me off a bit. It didn't really help.  When I got tired and wanted back in the stroller Mommy got covered in the goo too helping me in.  So we finished the hike with both of us coated in creek goo and stinking like a sewer.  When we got back to the trailhead Mommy rinsed us both off under the water pump that was there, but it too had a high iron content so, while it got the worst of the goo off us it didn't do much for the smell.  Mommy covered the back seat with the car blanket and car towel in hopes they would protect the interior from the goo.  When we got back to the house Mommy had to give me a bath, give herself a bath, wash everything she was wearing (including her underwear), the towel, blanket and back seat cover and the stroller and we both still smelled a bit like rusty iron for a couple days after that.

All in all it was a great vacation!