This morning, I took Becca and Elbee to the New Trail as soon as the morning light started to come on. This particular trail winds up and down for six miles through mountainsides and oak and maple forests. It was a gorgeous morning, cool and damp. There air was full of bird songs, and there were wildflowers all around.
At one point, Becca came back to walk behind me and Elbee stopped on the trail. Then I saw a very big bull elk standing right on the trail, watching us. We waited for him to decide that it was okay to move on, and then we kept walking. Seeing that elk took me back to Yellowstone, where elk were a daily part of life. It also showed me again how sensible my dogs are. They never chase after anything that could hurt them. 1 month ago
I got home from work a little early on Friday and took Becca & Elbee straight out to hike down to the boneyard.
When we started, the sky was sprinkling little raindrops. It was pleasant and cool. After about a mile, it started raining in earnest…and kept raining…and raining. My inclination was to shrink away from the rain, but then I looked at my dogs and saw how they didn’t care at all about being wet. It made me think that seeing getting wet, even soaked, as something undesirable is part of the cultural trance. It feels bad because we think it’s bad, and we think it’s bad because that’s what we’ve been taught.
I practiced enjoying the rain, and it was fine. The sound of the raindrops hitting the ground was pleasant, the wetness made all the Spring colors even brighter, and the rain smell was divine.
After 5 miles, we were very wet and happy. 1 month ago
I have continued hiking every day all through the winter and even through mud season. My foot finally healed completely about 9 months after the surgery, and I am grateful for that every day. I’m also noticing the my endurance has taken a giant leap forward. Most days, my daily hikes are the very best part of the day.
Yesterday, Mr. Wren, Becca, Elbee and I hiked in an area of high desert that we call the East Bench. It’s a lovely place to climb, lots of trails that wind through sage, prickly pears and scrub oaks high up into the mountains, with wide views of the valley below.
The something new was sheep! We unexpected found ourselves walking amid hundreds of free grazing sheep and lambs. It was especially interesting to be so close to so many sheep when our party contained two sheep dogs. Becca and Elbee were definitely interested in those sheep, especially Elbee, but they did as they were told and stayed close to us. We did have to keep them in check with frequent reminders to “stay close,” but we never had to resort to leashing them up. I felt very pleased to have such well-behaved dogs.
I’m pretty sure the sheep weren’t too happy about having us around, so we bushwacked up the mountain to get away from the herd, and then we found even more sheep, the more introverted ones, resting under trees and behind big rocks.
It was really cool to spent so much time close to the sheep. I especially liked hearing all the different sheep voices. I could see how it would be pleasant work to be a shepherd.
All in all, I am glad we had the chance to visit the sheep, and I can say that hiking amid sheep is much more pleasant than hiking amid cows or bison. 2 months ago
On Saturday, Becca and Elbee and I went to our favorite state mountain park, where we hiked to Spring Pond and then farther up to the new Wild Turkey Trail. It’s a lovely five mile climb through maple, oak, aspen and pine trees. Much to my surprise, I came upon a small maple that was aflame with red leaves. Spring and summer both came a couple of weeks early this year, and I was wondering if autumn would do the same. Now I know. It’s an early autumn, the first time I can recall that the trees were turning before my birthday.
I picked one of the red leaves and later picked a sprig of red berries and brought them home as a surprise for Mr. Wren. After that first maple, I spotted several other trees wearing their autumn colors. I’m hoping the early arrival of autumn mean we’re in for a long fall season, rather than that winter will also come sooner than usual! 11 months ago
Our favorite state mountain park has a new trail! I know from talking to a ranger that it is called the Wild Turkey Trail. It can be used to get to the highest point in the park, or it can be used as a connector to a few different trails. So far, I’ve used it to add another couple miles after I’ve climbed up to the big aspen meadow.
Most all of the new trail is a steep up and down sylvan walk. At this time of year, there are lots of colorful berries peeking out of the leaves. It does seem to be a favorite turkey hang out. Elbee loves running at the turkeys and setting them in flight. Fortunately, she’s not interested in catching them, and I can stop her before she gets to the birds if I catch her soon enough.
I last did this hike just yesterday. It was 5 miles of healthy ecstasy. 11 months ago
Our regular daily hikes continue, and each one is wonderful, the best part of my day. I think it would be boring to read about the same type of hike day after day, so I’ll just report on a couple of highlights.
We went south for the Independence Day holiday and discovered a perfect dog hike in Spring Creek Canyon. The hike is nearly 7 miles in and out. The dusty orange trail winds through a red rock canyon filled with cedars and aspens. A mellow creek runs alongside and occasionally crosses the trail, so there is no worry about doggies overheating. After a couple of miles, the canyon narrows into a magical slot canyon cathedral of red and light. Becca and Elbee both gave this hike four paws up!
Yesterday, we were hiking on one of our usual trails near home, climbing up the Dutchman’s trail to the old mine road. We met up with a ranger (which almost never happens), and spent about ten minutes chatting with her. We were very excited to learn that a new 20+ mile trail system is going to be created in next year. Yahoo! This means there will be 5 excellent trail systems within 5 miles of our home. The ranger also encouraged us to join the local trails alliance, which we are going to do today. This will give us a chance to see first-hand how trails are made, and maybe we will get to meet some nice, like-minded new friends. 12 months ago
Our daily hikes have continued into these hottest of days. When I have time to go at dawn, the cool air is energizing. In the full heat of day, the warm soaks into my skin and feels great. I carry water for Becca & Elbee and let them drink out of my hand, and after the hike is over, they soak in the creek for a few minutes.
We are taking a long weekend this week and going south to hike in the red rocks and hoodoos. I’m excited to explore some new places! 12 months ago
I haven’t documented my hikes daily, but I have hiked every day since we returned from Paris. I’m very happy to say that the troublesome foot injuries that started last Spring are all healed, and I’ve been able to hike 4-6 miles daily with very little pain. I’m even starting to think about adding in a little trail running.
A new trail system is being cultivated near by, so there are now four excellent trail systems within just a few minutes of our home. It’s amazing to me that we can enjoy sage brush and cactus flowers or aspens, pines and mountain wildflowers all within five miles of our backyard. Needless to say, Becca & Elbee approve. 13 months ago
There’s still too much rain, snow and mud for after-work hiking, but just after dawn, when the ground is still frozen, is a good time to hit the trails. I did exactly that on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
On Saturday, we climbed to the top of Burnt Ridge and then caught the aquaduct trail to the old mine road, for a total of 6 miles. It was a beautiful, chilly morning, and I could hear cranes croaking nearby.
On Sunday, we did the same loop in reverse, and it was almost like hiking a completely different trail.
I have nerve compression in both my feets, so I am trying to find a way to keep hiking without too much pain and, more importantly, without exacerbating the problem. It seems as if keeping the distance to no more than 5 miles helps. I think I’ll try hiking poles, too. 15 months ago
It’s been raining here, and the weather is warmer, which is the perfect recipe for muddy trails. I avoided that by taking Becca & Elbee hiking as early as possible.
We set out to climb Burnt Ridge at 6:45 a.m. The sky stayed snuggled under a blanket of cloud cover, but the birds were up and at ‘em, chattering away. The air felt soft and humid.
My foot was a little sore, but it wasn’t too bad. I was able to walk a little faster than last weekend. Becca and Elbee had a great time sniffing, running and frolicking, and they were very good about staying close to me.
The grass on the ground is really greening up, but the shrubs and trees are still leafless. I saw on tiny yellow glacier lily preparing to bloom. These mountainsides should have lots of flowers by next weekend.
A very fun and exhilarating hike, and we were back home by 8:30 a.m.
75 minutes, 4 miles. 15 months ago