Tag Archives: Carkeek Park

Chloë Revisits the Rock

Fetching along the hatchery path.

Nearly every day since Christmas it’s been “raining like stink,” as Heather likes to say, but we went for a walk every afternoon anyway. Most days we walked in the park, but sometimes we walked to the library or Magnolia Village and back instead. On a couple of days we caught a break: The rain stopped or slowed to a drizzle, or the sun broke through for an hour or two. Then the wind picked up and the rain started again. Even when wasn’t  raining, the ground stayed  muddy.  The towels stationed near the front door to wipe me down when I come inside get quite a workout. So do the washing machine (for the towels) and eventually the bathtub (for me).

One day it stopped raining long enough for us to drive to Carkeek Park. I’m not sure we had been there sincelast spring, when my good pal Charlie moved to St. Louis. Not only were there good trails and new scents to explore, but we also visited two of my favorite places for fetch: the path to the salmon hatchery and “the Rock,” where Charlie and I perfected our carom toss and return.

Chloë on the Rock in better days.

They tried valiantly, but neither Heather nor Mike could execute this delicate maneuver as well as Charlie. Even though he never would never give me any treats (except of course the bagsful he gifted me at Christmas and for my birthday), I miss Charlie. He was a skilled and dependable thrower. Now, just like the Mariners, I’m stuck here in Seattle with Triple-A level hurlers. I guess I’ll have to make do.

 

Chloë Shows Her Frustration

Dog police have returned to park.

Uh-oh. The dog police have returned to Discovery Park, and Heather is mad about it. She got really angry when she saw the officer drove his SUV across the parade ground and through the meadow. She got even madder a couple of weeks later, when we saw his vehicle parked on the park road where we first came into the park and later cruised all the way up to where we were playing fetch at the entrance to Chloë’s Lane. We suspected he had tailed us. Luckily, Mike saw him coming and started humming the theme music to Law & Order, so Heather had time to stop throwing the ball, grab my leash and pretend to be compliant. He turned his SUV around without getting out to speak to us, so he must have known better than to tangle with Heather.

The Rock

Anyhow, we’ve been trying to be a lot more careful about where and when I’m allowed to run free (with leash still attached to my harness, of course). Sometimes on the weekend we drive to more distant locations, such as the North Creek Trail in Mill Creek and Carkeek Park, where there are many different trails for variety and usually places we can  throw the ball around in peace, including the Rock, where the caroms are crazy, and the fish hatchery trail, where there is a long, secluded straightaway that’s ideal for ball chasing.

My favorite game these days is “monkey in the middle,” where I’m the monkey. In this game I chase throws from both ends, turn around and do it again, so the running never stops. Well, at least until I can’t corral a skipping throw or I catch up to the ball but it doesn’t want stop. Can you imagine the nerve of that ball? Ignoring me? That’s when I have to let out the Bark of Frustration!

 

True, most of the time the Bark of Frustration doesn’t slow the ball down, but it always makes me feel better.

Atop a rebuilt wall in Fort Lawton Cemetery.

Chloë Welcomes Spring

Tiptoe through Heather’s tulips.

After a long, cold, wet winter, I am really digging the warmer spring weather that finally got here.  Last week I enjoyed several longer walks with a lot of spirited fetching mixed in, punctuated by frequent stops to sample the unbeatable salad bar offerings in the South Meadow. And I could really tell that spring had sprung when all of Heather’s new tulips burst open  at the same time as the azaleas in the front yard. Heather has received many well-deserved compliments.

Ron and Cathy on a previous visit.

During our first hot spell my Alaska pals Ron and Cathy visited for a few days on their way back to Juneau. By now I have them so well-trained that I don’t even have to remind them where the downstairs treat container is. They just know. I made sure to spend a lot of time downstairs while they were here.

The Sunday after they left, Mike and Heather took me on a walk with my pal Charlie at Carkeek Park, where I have a few special places for fetch that are second only to my personal trail in Discovery Park. Unfortunately, all my favorite spots were in use when we arrived at them. Along the trail to the salmon-raising area, instead of throwing the ball I was forced to listen to a knowledgeable volunteer explain the salmon-rearing process. Heather actually fed the salmon fry right in front of me while I sat there, eyeing all the fish and starving.

Lounging in Piper’s Orchard.

Later, still brimming with my unreleased springtime energy, I dragged Charlie, Mike and Heather up and down some of the steepest trails in the park before enjoying a brief respite in the blooming fruit tree orchard another quarter-mile further up Piper’s Creek. Mike made a couple of half-hearted throws for me before deciding the tall, unmowed grass could eat my ball at any moment. Can’t say I could disagree. Anyway, we had a great walk that afternoon, and before I went back to the car Mike served me dinner al fresco, a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Chloë Has a Ball

Throwing on Chloë’s Lane.

Why, I ask, is every lost ball my fault? Not once have I tossed a ball that went missing. OK, I admit I’ve dropped a few in the woods when something better came along, but other than that, in my view, Mike and Heather deserve the blame. They threw it, so they are responsible for losing it. End of story.

No longer as frequent a story as it once was, however.  The purple-and-white Visi-Balls I learned on are hard and yet springy, and they take crazy bounces. I’ve lost count of how many we lost in my younger days. When Mike plotted them on a map of Discovery Park, there were a lot of Xs on that paper, and that doesn’t count the ones lost in the creek at Carkeek Park, the blackberry thickets along Magnolia Boulevard and many other far-flung locations. Those balls are not coming back. But since we switched to the Chuckit Whistler balls, we hardly ever lose them. Either my senses have vastly improved with age, or these newer balls, with their softer texture and deep indentations, hold a scent better, making them easier to find. Guess that Ahimsa scent-training class paid off after all!

The new-old ball

I hadn’t used one of the purple-and-white balls in quite a while when I stumbled upon one in the woods along Chloë’s Lane while I was fetching another ball to bring back to Heather. I’ve gotten pretty good at finding stuff that lies on the ground, especially if it reeks of questionable digestibility,  but finding this particular ball made me especially proud, even though it wasn’t anything I could eat. I was so happy with my discovery that I carried triumphantly it all the way home and proudly presented it to Mike as soon as  I got through the door. Then I took it onto the living room rug and rubbed myself on it for about 10 minutes, getting its scent all over me, just in case Heather decided to break out the OxiClean to buff it up. Since we haven’t been throwing with this kind of ball for some time, Mike estimated it might have been there for a couple of years. What a find this was! For a few days, I couldn’t let it out of my sight.

Chloe cradles cherished ball.

 

Heather hasn’t cleaned my new-old ball yet, but it seemed a little shinier after I strutted  around the house with it in my mouth for a few days. So far, Mike let me keep it, and he even rolled it along the floor of the living room and kitchen, like he does with Wiffie, but I have a feeling this game will end as soon as we break something, most likely the glass doors on the dining room cabinets. Which could be any day now, come to think of it. Better enjoy this while it lasts.

Chloë Rocks

Olympic Mountains from Carkeek Park

Olympic Mountains from Carkeek Park

Heather doesn’t like Carkeek Park that much, because its steep trails make her knee and butt sore the next day. I find it a nice change of pace from my home park.  True, it’s hilly, and all the fields nearest its parking lots are usually too squishy to play ball, but Carkeek has several other good spots for fetch. At various times, I’ve favored the apple orchard, the grassy “aerodrome” area near the railroad tracks (we haven’t seen any drones there so far, thank goodness) and the straight gravel path next to the creek that leads to the salmon fry holding tank. We’re usually the only ones  who venture down that trail, so sometimes I can sneak over to the creek side to see what kinds of foul things I can sniff out and devour before Mike comes tearing after me.

The Rock

The Rock

My new favorite spot at Carkeek  I call the Rock. Heather and  I stumbled upon it, literally, one day when she was  unsure which trail she was supposed to take. The Rock is near a junction, actually not that far from the playground, although it took us a while to find it when we took Charlie there a few weeks ago. It’s close enough to civilization that we sometimes have competition for the spot. We’ve had to wait out joggers, hikers and teenagers (the worst; they lingered) to get the Rock to ourselves. Since my ball caroms off the Rock at many angles, we must secure a fairly large area to fully utilize and enjoy the Rock. Mostly smooth and not at all symmetrical, the Rock alone dictates where the ball may go. I welcomed the challenge.

 

As you can see, I’m getting pretty good at finding the ball even when it’s hidden from view. I follow its flight and then pick up its scent from the point where it disappeared. Once I see it, I pounce, and stay on it until I can grip it in my mouth and bring it back; unless the scent of something better and fresher comes along. A purple and white ball is nothing compared to rotting mouse.