Category Archives: Hiking

Chloë Entertains Her Pals

Chloë (center) with her pal Charlie

I spent  most of the fall settling back into my old routines after the three-month journey to the East and back. I played a lot of Wiffie with Mike and fetch with Heather, although she declared my favorite spot, Chloë’s Lane, off limits after I ran away into the dense underbrush in pursuit of rabbits once too often.  I can’t blame her, but it’s just the hound in me.

So instead of visiting friends and being catered to, I’ve been the one playing host the past few weeks. First we had a long weekend visit from my best pal Charlie, who came all the way from St. Louis just to see me and eat some of Seattle’s best pizza. Charlie arrived just after Halloween, which may explain whey he dressed like some kind of black-clad commando when we took a walk in Discovery Park. When Mike took our picture, we blended well together.

Schatzi in her car seat

I also spent a lot of time with Schatzi, the dachshund puppy who belongs to Caroline, my personal financial adviser and sometime hotelier. Schatzi got a lot longer over the three months I was away, and each week she’s putting on  weight. Eventually she’ll weigh more than I do, but for now, I’m the alpha dog and plan to keep it that way. She gets in my face a lot, but I can still flip her over by her nose if she gets too bothersome.

Over the fall we took several long walks with Schatzi. When we went to the military cemetery I tried showing her how to fetch, but mostly she wanted to chase me, not the ball. We’ll work on it some more next time.

 

Dachshund Wrestling Federation.

Amazingly, since I generally don’t want to be around other dogs, especially puppies, I really like Schatzi. Two weeks ago Caroline and David dropped her off at our house with her crate and food, and she stayed with us for a whole weekend. Even though Schatzi arrived with one front paw bandaged because of a nail-clipping accident, we had a lot of fun hanging out, walking in the park and wrestling in the living room. Plus, she brought her own treats and dog bed with her, and I liked them all. Sure, she pooped in the house once and whined a bit at night, but as far as I’m concerned, Schatzi can stay with us anytime. I’m looking forward to a lot more of this.

 

 

 

 

 

Chloë Escapes Dangers on the Road

Our summer trip was fun, but it was not without a few difficult situations. And I won’t even count my continued frustration with chasing down my Syracuse aunts’ cats.

Devil’s Tower, WY

For instance, when we stayed in East Glacier, MT, for three nights, every time I stepped outside for a pee, a pack of large neighborhood dogs descended upon me, intent on sniffing my butt, or worse. Heather or Mike managed to shoo them away every time, but still. They made me nervous.

In Syracuse, things doubled down. I took two trips to the vet with an ear infection and two drenchings from thunderstorms as I waited in the car while Mike and Heather ate pork and drank beer inside.  Did I complain?  NO. Syracuse was also where I also suffered the only tick bite on the trip, leaving a large, hard bump on my chin. It got a little bigger and hurt for a week, but then it went away and I did not come down with Lyme disease, as Heather had feared.

Flooded highway in Valentine NWR, NE

On to Canada, where two large dogs leaped upon me while I was minding my own business on the side of a hiking trail. I had always been told all Canadians are nice, but those two were not at all nice. Their owner was a little cranky, too.

Danger stalked me from coast to coast. In Massachusetts, I had to survive some choppy seas on a boat ride and a nest of yellow jackets, the latter of which sent me to the doggie emergency room with multiple stings around my mouth. In Pennsylvania, gnawing on an animal carcass might have brought infection or even poison into my system; at least, that’s what Heather said, although she seems prone to voicing worst-case scenarios.

Milwaukee Railroad Trail, MT

The western part of the trip was no less stressful for me. In St. Louis, it was so hot and humid that I sometimes refused to walk. In northwestern Nebraska, standing water on the road came up as high as my window when Heather drove the car through; I thought I was in a submarine. In Montana, thunderstorms brought rain and hail so hard that we had to pull off the road for a while. When conditions died down, we went hiking on an old railroad trail with tunnels so long that they were totally dark in the middle. Bring a flashlight next time, Mike.

OK, some troubling stuff happened to me, sure, but it could have been much worse. Look on the bright side: In nearly three months on the road, I never got lost, never barked at or ran after a large animal, and never tried to bite anyone.  In addition, everyone treated me like a queen. When did you say we are leaving again?

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, WA

Chloë Finds America Great Again

Great Sacandaga Lake

The final afternoon walk on the Canadian leg of our coast-to-coast excursion didn’t go so well.  While the place—Lemoine Point Conservation Area outside Kingston, ON—had nice, wide trails that kept me away from its Lake Ontario waves, in the middle of a large meadow on our trek, two dogs who were both a lot bigger than me and not at all under the control of their owner leaned far over to where I was lying down on the side of the trail and lunged. Even though they were on leashes, they got pretty close to me. Luckily, Heather reacted quickly and yanked me away by my leash. When I was safely out of harm’s way, she started yelling at the dogs and their owner, who was dragging them away and muttering apologies that Heather wasn’t buying.

Actually, that owner exhibited the kind of me-first behavior usually associated with Americans, and yet here we were in Canada. Apparently bad behavior knows no boundaries.

Chloe chills by the lake,

On the other hand, after we returned to the U.S., everybody from the border patrol agents to people we meet on our walks has been so darn nice to me. Instead of motels, we stayed at the homes of several of Mike’s and Heather’s friends, and every one of them lavished praise and attention on me, telling them how physically fit and well-behaved I am. (Let’s just say I am practiced at the art of deception.)

Our first stop on this part of the trip was with the people I already know the best, my Seattle friends Mike and Carol and my dog buddy Penny, who frequently comes over to our house when everyone except us watches Syracuse games on TV.  Before we arrived at their camp on Great Sacandaga Lake, Mike and Carol were smart enough to hide all of Penny’s Mushabellies (I tend to silence them forever), but I did get to play some Wiffie (I left some pretty good tooth marks on the ball, too).

With Heather, Mike, Carol and Penny at camp.

While we were staying there, Heather went to a local pet and feed store and bought me a new toy of my own, a stuffed one with a squeaker. It was the first new toy I’ve had in quite a while, in fact. And Mike bought himself a sweatshirt and a pair of scissors at America’s first “5 and 10” in Northville, NY.  Apparently the American economy is booming.

Yes, it was great to be back in the U.S.A.

 

 

 

Chloë Hikes Canada, Eh!

Walking in Toronto

Apparently Americans get more of everything in Canada. More poutine and Canadian bacon, for starters. And our dollar is worth about a dollar and a quarter,  making me even more priceless than I am in the USA. I was told an American mile is little more than 1.6 kilometers, but I think it must be more like 3 km, because every time I went for a walk up here, it seemed to take forever. My normal one hour afternoon walk invariably turned into an hour and 20 minutes or more. Even worse, weather reporters kept saying it was 28 or 30 degrees outside, but to me it always felt like it was 90, with the humidity making it even worse. I felt tired and worn out the entire week we were there.

Still, we did explore some areas of Ontario we hadn’t seen on our previous excursions. In Toronto we explored Taylor Creek Park, where we were able to walk on both sides of the creek and the ravine was lush and fairy quiet despite being the middle of the city. Heather wouldn’t let me near the creek, though, because she didn’t want me taking my muddy feet into her sister Robin’s swanky 13th-floor apartment. I had to be on my best behavior while we were there.

Diving into the Humber River.

Walking the plank.

Things were looser when we visited her brother Robert. The stairs to his apartment were steep and slippery, so Heather carried me up and down every time we visited there. Robert went hiking with us, and when we walked along the Humber Valley Heritage Trail, no one prevented me from getting my feet wet and muddy. After all, there were a couple of pink plastic chairs in the river already, so I figured I’d find my own spot to lie down in the water. Didn’t have time for any digging, though. I also had to climb some steep stairs that I ultimately navigated by walking up the rain gutters on the side.

The next day we had our longest hike of the week, to a place with a waterfall called the Forks of the Credit (River), where it was a hilly hour in and another hilly hour back. It must have been pretty strenuous, because we saw several people who turned back before even getting to the falls, and on the way back we passed a mountain biker who had crashed and had to be rescued by what looked like the whole fire department with an ambulance and several other emergency vehicles. We got out of there before anybody started asking questions or checking IDs.

Despite the lengthy walk and excitement, I had a red-letter day: I got many treats, a cup of vanilla ice cream from Heather, and sat on Mike’s lap in the back seat of the car for the whole trip in both directions. Much more than I would have gotten on a Sunday afternoon in the states, eh?

Chloë Dives into Water Sports

Not comfortable enough!

The traveling part of our cross-country trip can be tough on all of us. Mike’s legs and butt hurt from sleeping in so many different beds. Heather gets rankled when damn New York drivers cut her off or, even worse, tailgate her car on city streets even when she’s already doing over the speed limit! And I get irritated every time something disrupts my daily routine so I don’t get treats on time, which has happened far too often for my liking.

One routine we followed at home in Seattle was Heather cleaning my ears every single week in order to ward off my too-frequent ear infections. The trip interrupted  our habit, however. Sure enough, soon after arriving in Syracuse I found myself in the Jamesville clinic of Dr. Gary Rothman, the vet Mike and Heather used when they lived in Syracuse way back in the last century. In fact, they were still in the clinic’s computer system, and everyone who treated me there seemed very impressed that we had such a low client number (from 26 years and two dogs ago). Anyway, the medicine that Heather dutifully squeezed into my left ear twice a day seemed to do the trick, and all the yucky stuff and the itching went away almost immediately. We will do better on the trip back, Heather vowed.

Anyway, I felt much better by the time we went to Brantingham Lake to visit my Alaska pals Debbie and Juneau George and the rest of Debbie’s family. Her brother Jaimo took us on a long, slow boat ride around the whole lake and the next day on a long car ride on forest roads. I got to sit on Heather’s lap the whole way in the car and most of the time on the boat ride, so I was happy, even when I had to pee real bad and there was no stopping.

I reciprocated those favors by showing everybody how to get to a nearby place called Shingle Mill Falls that I had discovered the day before. No waves or lapping water there, so I was able to walk both up and downstream with ease, leaping between the rocks and changing the course of Otter Creek by digging new channels in several locations. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lest anyone think I went overboard with this newfound devotion to water sports, a few days later I respectfully declined to be lured down the steps into Tuscarora Lake for a swim, nor did I jump into a motorboat with Mike and Heather to make a beeline across the lake to a concert on the opposite shore. I was perfectly happy to snooze in the car for a couple of hours and rest up for the next phase of my exciting vacation.

Chloë Waltzes Through Spring

Guitar in tree

Ah, it’s finally spring, my favorite time of year. Warmer weather means better sleeping (not too hot, not too cold), tulips to knock over in the garden, colorful, green-on-green landscapes and the sweetest grass of the year, even on days when it isn’t 4/20 (I prefer the edibles!).

I’ve seen some neat things on our spring walks, too. In Discovery Park, my everyday trek, one afternoon we came upon an impromptu art installation. Some aspiring Christo had tied an old, string-less and gaily painted acoustic guitar to a tree limb near the bluff. When a breeze blew wind off the Sound, the guitar spun on the rope it hung by, twisting around and around until the rope was so taut that the guitar paused for a moment and reversed direction, spinning the other way until the twisted rope was once again ready to change direction. And so it went, round and round, for several days, until (I suspect) the rope broke, sending guitar to ground. It unfortunately disappeared before I had the chance to give it a good sniff to determine its origin. While park authorities discourage such artistic expression, I personally hope the artist has more outdoor art in store.

Resting in Arboretum gazebo

Springtime encouraged us to go further afield for Sunday walks with Charlie. We visited the Washington Park Arboretum, which is one of my favorite spots, even though I rarely get to play ball there. It has lots of neat things to smell, however, and usually many squirrels running around to grab my attention. While I enjoyed all the spring blossoms this time, I did wish Mike, Heather and my good pal Charlie allowed me off leash to chase the squirrels for just a few minutes. Maybe next time.

The following Sunday we visited Woodland Park, where I had not been so long that I barely remembered it. Even though it’s surrounded by traffic, this park had more squirrels and rabbits than I had ever seen in one place before. It also had a big dog park that I managed to navigate around relatively unnoticed by other dogs, as well as the official Seattle Rose Garden, which looked like a great spot to play fetch. Unfortunately, there were just too many people around, even without a rose to be seen.

Seattle Rose Garden reflecting pool

Nice lawn, though. I can see us coming back in June to stop and smell the roses.

 

 

 

 

 

Chloë Changes Trails

Old trail closed…

One of my favorite spots for fetch was ruled off-limits recently, but it was for a good cause. As part of the reclamation of the former Capehart military housing site and contiguous areas in Discovery Park, the long straightaway above the Loop Trail that ran parallel to the chain-link fence that surrounded the site was removed. Large tree stumps, mulch and new plantings now cover the trail where my fetch court was. The fencing is gone, except at either end of the former trail. This was because after eight years of fenced-in recovery, a 27-acre Northwest native mixed forest has been attached to the existing city park. Last week, unannounced, new trails opened traversing the site. Finally, some new territory to explore.

No more fetch here.

Capehart site in 2011

We tried out these new Capehart thoroughfares a few times in the week that they opened. I generally liked them, although I do fondly recall the days of my puppyhood, when this area was still a devastated no-man’s land. With structures gone but infrastructure remaining, the deserted streets were great for fetch, rabbits were plentiful, and I could roam far and wide on my own, since the whole area was fenced in. Walking through there now, you would never know that a village stood here just eight years ago.

Serious business

Last week when I walked through Capehart, Heather kept me firmly tethered. Signs every 10 feet or so reminded scofflaws like me to stay on the trails and off the fragile, recently replanted grounds around them. Heather has thus far been determined to keep me a “green dog,” at least when we’re on these trails around Capehart. I’m willing to play along, at least at the beginning. After all, I want to be a good role model.

…new trail opened.

Good dog, green dog.