Tag Archives: Hiking

An Icy Hike, and Shelby Is Back!

West Branch State Park
Frozen reservoir at West Branch State Park.

Hiking has been challenging this week. We did take one day off because of icy conditions and bad weather, but then we were back at it. The reservoir at West Branch State Park has been frozen. We have seen several people ice fishing on it each day. Some of them have little tents they set up on the ice for a bit of protection from the elements. Others just cut a hole and fish. The photo above is one I took from a hiking/snowmobile trail on the south side of the reservoir.

Yak trax
Wearing Yak Trax for better traction.

We did hike yesterday. I knew the footing would be slippery with melted and re-frozen hard pack snow. With the warming conditions it was a combination of ice and slush. I strapped on the Yak Trax so I would have a better grip for safer footing. This was the first time I had used them for hiking and I was pleased. I felt much more confident that I could navigate the trails and keep my balance.

We also hiked today. I didn’t wear the Yak Trax today because it was warm enough that there was a fair amount of slush on top of the snow and ice. Footing was a little tricky. The trails were packed from snowmobiles, mountain bikes, and foot traffic. The packed snow was still there, but many times there was enough melting underneath that my foot would punch through the snow and fall a few inches. This means you have to pull your foot out of a hole. The descent through the layer of snow also ends with a jarring impact when you reach the bottom. The snow also slides and moves with each step so it was a tiring hike. We went 2.8 miles this afternoon, but I must say it seemed farther.

Sheltie, shetland sheepdog
Shelby is back!

Great news! Shelby is back to hiking. This is the first day she has rejoined us on our hikes since her attack by loose dogs exactly three weeks ago. Encounter With Loose Dogs, Gone Bad We kept Shelby home while she was healing up and to keep her wounds clean. She also had a thigh shaved due to dog bites and it has been too cold for her bare skin. Today the temperature climbed up over 50 degrees and Shelby has been wanting to join us again, so today was her lucky day. She did great. She was so happy to be back on the trails with us. Baxter was happy too. He never smiles as big as when his “sister” Shelby is walking with him.

Shaved leg, Shetland sheepdog
Shelby’s shaved leg.

It’s not the clearest view, but here you can see Shelby’s shaved leg. The fur has grown an impressive amount in three weeks. I call this haircut on her leg “The Howard Walowitz”. All you Big Bang Theory fans will understand.

Napping sheltie
Shelby napping after some time on the trail.

Here is Shelby napping. Her first hike in three weeks has her tired out. She is happy to be a part of the pack out on the trails again. I feel like we have overcome a big hurdle and Shelby is, if not back to normal, at least well on the road to recovery.

Encounter With Loose Dogs, Gone Bad

Sheltie Shelby resting after an injury
Shelby with her shaved leg, after receiving treatment for a dog bite.

The week before last was one of the scariest weeks I have had in a long time. My husband and I were out on our daily hike with five of our dogs. We were three quarters of the way done with the hike, back on the main trail and heading for the car. We were coming up on the crest of the last hill which also has a slight curve in the path, the kind you can’t see over. My husband was in the lead as usual and I heard him call out “loose dogs”.

This has never been too big of a deal before. The owners always show up and leash their dogs and we all go on our separate ways. Not so, this time. Zekie was barking like a fool as he often does. The two loose dogs, a large American Bulldog and a smaller pit bull mix, came charging at our dogs with their owners running behind calling them. They first went for Zekie, and his leash was pulled out of my hand. Both dogs were on him, rolling him, until he was on his back.

At this point, things get a little blurry in my mind because it all happened so fast and I was in shock. I remember my husband trying to hand me Baxter and Cassius’ leashes so he could go pull the two attacking dogs off of Zekie. The two girls were also running and trying to get control of their dogs. I was distracted by this and don’t know which dog was where a for a few seconds. I looked down and the smaller dog, about 50-60 lbs., had Shelby’s leg in his mouth. I’m not sure if he had also bitten her other times before I looked down or not. The smaller pit mix let go of Shelby when I was trying to kick him. I didn’t make hard contact because I didn’t want to get Shelby by accident.

I looked over and the American Bulldog, who was about 80 lbs., had Zekie in the ditch on the other side of the trail from where I last saw him. After I got the pit mix off Shelby, he ran to help the other dog attack Zekie. We thought Zekie was a goner. He was belly up with the two dogs biting at him and lunging and it looked like they were tearing him apart. At this point the girls were able to get their dogs off Zekie and leash them and maintained control.

Emotions ran high and there were lots of loud words. However, the girls were incredibly apologetic, taking full responsibility. They continued apologizing and agreed to follow us back to the parking lot.

We hiked the half mile back to the car with the girls and their dogs following at a distance so as not to get any of our dogs worked up again. Shelby was limping, but the bite I saw, looked like a half hearted attempt and I hadn’t found anything other than some red tooth marks, so we thought she was just a little sore. Zekie didn’t seem too bad aside from being nervous. We got back to the parking lot and exchanged contact information. One girl seemed to be the owner of the two dogs. The younger girl seemed to just be her friend. The owner of the dogs continued to say how sorry she was and said she would pay any vet bills that were incurred as a result of this incident. We couldn’t find any severe wounds on our dogs so decided to monitor them.

We went home and looked Shelby and Zekie over some more and didn’t find much. After a few hours, I noticed that our other dogs kept sniffing Shelby and wouldn’t leave her alone. This indicates there is something of note that they are paying attention to. I rolled Shelby over to get a good look. That’s when I found a puncture wound on her lower abdomen that turned out to be quite serious. You can read more about the details of Shelby’s wounds here. Progression of a Dog Bite Wound. She did end up on antibiotics, pain meds, and getting ongoing wound maintenance (warm compresses 3 times a day).

Our experience just goes to show that you cannot judge the severity of a dog bite or attack from what is visible at first glance. Things did not turn out how I thought they would. I thought Zekie was going to be dead at the end of the attack, or at least suffer life threatening injury. He didn’t suffer any major damage. Our veterinarian found some minor bruising and we never saw any other physical signs of damage on him. We think that he submitted to the other dogs and so they did not inflict significant harm like they might have if he fought back. Or maybe he was lucky.

Shelby did not fare as well. She garnered significant wounds. I did learn that much of the damage from a dog bite wound may not be visible to the eye. A lot of damage occurs as the teeth rip underneath the skin. There can also be crushing to tissues or organs. Shelby is healing up and on the road to recovery. I hate to think what would have happened if I did not take her to the vet so she could be put on antibiotics. She is on injury leave and not participating in walks for at least another week. The vet said she was a very lucky girl.

If your dog is ever in a fight, my advice to you is to have him checked over by a vet, unless you are absolutely certain that no damage was inflicted. Better safe than sorry.

Snow Dogs on a New Trail!

Sheltie dog and friend on a winter hike
Zekie and Claire on the trail.

We hiked with four of our dogs today, Zekie, Claire, Cassius, and Baxter. Shelby is still on injury leave from her run in with the loose dogs last week so rested at home. You can read about her injury. Progression of a Dog Bite Wound She is looking much better and her bruising is mostly gone now, we’re just finishing off the antibiotics as healing continues.

We went back to West Branch State Park to explore some of the trails we hadn’t tried before. From the the Mountain Bike Trail parking lot, we went down the main trail to trailhead A3. This trail is a snowmobile trail so it is nice and wide and relatively flat. We hiked out A3 until we came to the Bit O’ Honey Trail which is a mountain bike trail. Mountain bike trails are generally rougher, rockier, and tougher going. I am particularly slow, making sure I don’t trip on rocks, sticks, and so on. Even so, when it is in the 20’s, I get hot enough on these trails that I soon end up with my hood down and my gloves in my pocket. If it is a longer mountain bike trail, I end up with my coat unzipped too. That still leaves me with a turtleneck and a polar fleece and I am just fine. If we slow down, I just zip my coat back up.

Rocks at West Branch State Park
Rock view on the Bit O’ Honey Trail, West Branch State Park, Ohio.

The dogs start pestering us each afternoon around 1:30 pm. They know we leave for walking or hiking near 2 o’clock. On the rare day that we haven’t gone, they mope and give us dirty looks from the dog beds or couch. Yes, they are spoiled pups!

Dogs hiking, West Branch State Park, Ohio
Cassius and Baxter hiking with daddy.

Cassius the greyhound always wears a coat in the winter when we walk or hike. All our past greyhounds have too. They just don’t have the body fat to stand up to cold temperatures. Baxter the Lab/Rott/Dobe mix has never worn a coat until this year, once it got below 30 degrees. In the past Baxter never wanted a coat. Now that he will be 12 in a few months, he seems to get colder and appreciates the warmth. Other than that he hasn’t slowed down much. So, getting ready for winter hiking can be quite the process. In addition to two humans suiting up and getting the right boots, sunglasses, hats, etc., we also have two dogs to put coats on.

Two dogs hiking at West Branch State Park, Ohio
Baxter and Claire ready to get in the SUV after hiking.

Luckily, Baxter looks quite handsome in his coat. Of course, I am biased and think Baxter looks quite dapper all the time!

Winter Trail Hiking Again!

Hiking at West Branch State Park, on the trail.
Hiking again, on the trail.

We are back to trail hiking. We had a scary incident while out last week. Two loose dogs attacked Shelby and Zekie. It was quite scary and between that and the ice, I took a couple days off from walking. For two days after that we walked on paved trails in town.

Zekie survived the attack and wasn’t much worse for wear. Shelby, however, was quite seriously wounded, but is on the mend. I continue to give her meds and provide wound maintenance while she heals. She won’t be hiking again any time soon. I won’t even think about it for a few weeks. She needs time to recuperate, and I don’t want her wound aggravated from too much activity. Also, the wound needs to stay clean and not have dirt and salt from the trails and roads splashing on her underside.

Trail side, West Branch State Park
Trail side, West Branch State Park.

I love hiking in the snow and am glad to be back on the trails. I find it easier to hike with snow on the ground. It fills in a lot of the divots and small holes, and covers the large gravel. These tend to make the walking surface uneven and having them covered in snow makes it easier for me. The trail is beautiful when there is freshly fallen snow. I sometimes feel bad that we pass by and leave footsteps and pawprints to mar its beauty. The landscape at trailside still provides views of unbroken snow vistas. It can also be fun to see who else is using the trails, be it footsteps, pawprints, snowmobiles, or snow bicyclers.

After last week’s incident, we hike with pepper spray. I have heard that a product called Spray Shield, that is citronella based, is safer for dogs. I will look into that in the future. For now, what I have is pepper spray. I need to be responsible for defending my dogs to the best of my ability. I feel guilty that I failed them last week. Especially Shelby. She and I are a working team, having provided therapy dog visits for the past seven years. I need her to trust that I will take care of her, and you better believe that I will do everything in my power to do so.

Sheltie profile
Shelby watching out the window.

It seems odd to be out hiking without Shelby. She is none too happy about it either when we leave her at home, even though she gets a treat when we go out the door. She is used to being part of everything that goes on and she believes she is in charge of safety. The other dogs believe that too! Even while she is healing, she does what she can to maintain order around here. Above, she is watching out the window to see what is going on in the neighborhood. She still barks at the mail jeep and delivery people, alerting us that strangers are about. Last night after we had gone to bed, Shelby even barked at something outside and a few seconds later, our motion activated security light came on.

That Shelby is one smart, and tough, cookie!

A Snowy Hike

Snowy hike with dogs at West Branch State Park, Ohio
Hiking with the pups

Today was our 31st day in a row of hiking! We have logged over 74 miles of trails in the past 30 days. Not bad for January. The unseasonably mild weather has accommodated us.

This afternoon’s hike was a snowy one. Our area of northeast Ohio was fortunate to get only a few inches from yesterday’s snow storm. Other areas faired much worse than we did. It was still enough to slow us down a bit. We humans had to look for rocks, roots, and branches buried underneath the snow and just waiting to trip us up. The long-haired dogs, Shelby, Zekie, and Claire, had to stop repeatedly to chew snowballs from the back of their legs. Shelby in particular seemed to stop suddenly and plunk herself down in front of me on the trail, especially where it was only one track wide. 

Another trail hazard was the areas that had thin sheets of ice, frozen over running water. None of these were more than a couple of inches deep, so it was the element of surprise as you dropped through the ice and had to step out that was the issue, rather than any danger. This does help you to see how important it is to have the proper footwear for the conditions you are out in. Fortunately, I had chosen to wear my L.L. Bean Wildcat boots, so I was in good shape.

Snowy hike at West Branch State Park, Ohio
Ice on West Branch State Park Reservoir, Ohio (Trail View)

I also plan carefully what gloves and coat I will wear. Usually, at this time of year I wear my mid-thigh length storm parka. The terrain we covered today had lots of winding paths as well as ups and downs. Even though it was about 30 degrees, I got hot enough that for the last quarter of the hike I had my coat unzipped and my gloves in my pocket. Of course, I was also wearing a turtleneck and a hooded sweatshirt under my parka. Layering is king for outdoor activities in the winter time.

West Branch State Park Reservoir, Ohio
Another view from the trail of the frozen reservoir at West Branch State Park, Ohio

The types of trails at West Branch State Park, near Ravenna, Ohio are varied. There are mountain bike trails, snow mobile trails, and of course, hiking trails. There is something for everyone and you can walk on any of the trails. Be aware that as this is a multi-purpose park, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times in case you come across bicycles or other vehicles. Hunting is allowed, in season, so be prepared. That is why Cassius’ new collar is very bright. A New Collar For Cassius

Although the trails were snow covered, we all had a good time. The views are beautiful and the squinch of the new fallen snow is pleasing to the ear. The dogs like to occasionally grab up mouthfuls of snow and swallow them. Rather like the doggy version of snow ice cream.

We have been noticing a lot of bird activity in the past week although I am not sure why. Perhaps they are having more trouble finding food this late in the winter. This is just a guess on my part. I only know for sure that I have seen increased numbers of birds flitting around, sometimes groups of birds, and they often sing. They are medium sized songbirds, at least a few were robins.

Trail map for West Branch State Park, Ohio
Trail map for West Branch State Park, Ohio

Here is a photograph I took of the trail map from trailhead entrance beside the mountain bike trail. The hike we took today was the squiggly blue line next to the water. It is fun because you are able to see the water for the majority of the time you are hiking.

I encourage you to try hiking in every season. What you see varies depending on the time of year. We tend to think of winter as a lean time with less plants. It is the perfect time to see the structure of the woods. I notice things that I never see in the summer because then they are covered with leaves and undergrowth. Each season has its own beauty. See which one you like best. Maybe, like me, you will decide you like them all.

Are You Still Contemplating Where the New Year Is Going?

Garden Gate in Spring
Spring Time in Our Garden

On January 1st, I wrote Contemplation on a New Year. Now it is January 27. We have been through a Capitol Riot, other political upheaval, an inauguration, and continued deaths, infections, and societal closures to avoid virus spread due to the pandemic.

And yet, I feel like I am still waiting for the New Year to start. I feel like I got cheated out of last year too. Since last March, one day is much like the next for me. Getting up in the morning, drinking coffee, hanging out with dogs and hubby, reading a little. Late morning is for blogging, baking, or cleaning. Cleaning is always last on my list.

Lunch splits the day up for us. While we eat, we stream the television show My Name Is Earl. Earl is trying to make the world a better place by righting past wrongs he has committed. And boy, did he excel in the “wrongs” department. Trying to make the world a better place is a worthy goal though, so we persist in watching.

A couple hours of our afternoons consist of walking or hiking with the dogs. This has sometimes been tricky to pull off with the January weather. Our winter has been mild so far. We rotate our walking locations depending on the weather and day of the week. If the weather is dicey, we walk on the campground entrance nearby. It is plowed and rarely salted which is better for dog feet. By then, we require tea! And of course I must follow this with a little reading .

Late afternoon is time for a little more work of some sort. I pick a job or two from the list I keep and knock those out. Then it is time for supper, and tv, and more reading!

What is missing from my existence is family and friends. And so it is for many across our country, and indeed, the world. Until now, I was not able to imagine how much I would miss everyone. And the new people I have encountered through dog rescue, Facebook, and other ways. Some of you, I would have invited over and gotten to know better. I miss our yet to be forged closer friendships.

Many are in the same boat as me. Truth be told, I am luckier than most. I have the option to stay home without losing a job and everything else that would follow. I have dogs and cats and a spouse to pass my days with. I have a warm home, food, and lots of books. (I have been so much happier since I have figured out the selection system and curbside pickup at the library! E-books just don’t do it for me.)

I can’t wait until I am eligible to receive the Coronavirus vaccine. As soon as they tell me, I will be there! I know very few people who have received it so far. My mother-in-law did get her first dose this week. My own mother is long gone, so I don’t have to worry about her. (What I Chose to Do the Day My Mother Died, my most read post of all time!)

Looking back, I guess if I feel like I am still waiting for the New Year to start, that is on me. I need to do some things that make me feel productive and like time is moving forward. What are you doing to make 2021 into a good year? I would love to hear in the comments below.

A New Collar For Cassius

Greyhound Dog in new martingale collar
Cassius in his new collar.

 

Cassius is currently the only greyhound we have. We have had three others over the years, Merlin, Cyrus, and Phoebe. To be precise, Merlin was probably a lurcher. A cross of greyhound and hunting dog. Some hunters like this cross because it can result in a fast hunting dog. Merlin looked just like a greyhound to me, only a litter smaller and shorter, front to back. Merlin was a stray that came running by my house my day. Our three previous greyhounds overlapped in the time we had them for a couple years. Boy, that was a lot of dog food! Greyhounds may look skinny, but they eat a lot because of their fast metabolisms.

The photo above is Cassius in his new collar which arrived on Saturday. It was long overdue. His previous collar was once a fancy, handmade one that I bought for him from a vendor at a dog event, the Pet Expo at Hardesty Park, in Akron a couple years ago. The collar had a hard life (see photo below). As you may know, we have been doing quite a bit of walking and hiking since I retired Fall Hiking. Cassius’ old collar has been torn by briars and underbrush as he goes crashing along the trailside. The other side of the collar is even stained with a substantial amount of blood. On one of our hikes in the fall, as he was looking for a spot in the weeds to do his business, a large thorn caught in one of his ears. The thorn impaled itself in a vein in one of his ears and broke off. I was able to remove the thorn, but then the blood started flowing. And flowing. I had a couple of tissues in my pocket that I used to apply pressure. We had to stop our hike while I treated Cassius’ wound. It took several minutes of applying pressure to staunch the flow of blood. By the time we were ready to continue our hike, Cassius’ ear, a good portion of the collar, and one of my pant legs had large blood stains. All this from a relatively small injury that healed up within days.

 

greyhound dog's old martingale collar
Cassius’ old collar

Greyhounds do have very thin skin, and little body fat, so cuts on them can produce quite an injury. I remember one time Cyrus was running from the pasture to the house and ran headlong into a planter. The ceramic planter broke into shards and cut his head open. There was lots of blood and he ended up getting several surgical staples on top of his head. It must have been feeding time for him to be so intent on getting in the house.

Anyway, back to Cassius’ new collar. I searched for some time for what I wanted. I never did find it, but settled on this one which I do like. Greyhounds should ideally have wide martingale collars. Their necks are bigger than their heads so the martingale type of collar makes it harder to slip out. And a wide one is preferred, about 1 1/2 inches, so there is not so much pressure put on one point on the throat. Again, greyhounds do not have much body fat, so this is particularly important. I wanted his new collar in safety orange or safety yellow. There is lots of hunting in our area and I can see how a dog of Cassius’ size, shape, and coloration might be mistaken for a deer from a distance. Better safe, than sorry! My search produced no martingales in these collars. I could find orange and yellow, but not in the designated “safety” collars. So, I went with the green. It is pretty and bright and highly noticeable.

greyhound dog napping
Cassius, resting and napping.

After his adventures, Cassius likes to have a good nap. Greyhounds are sprinters by nature, so walking and hiking (Hiking In Winter) over uneven terrain, for long distances tire him out. And greyhounds are excellent couch potatoes. He would be happy napping under a blanket even without the walk!

Can You Take the Small Town Out of the Girl?

Portrait/Photo from 1964
Photo of yours truly from 1964.

Every so often an advertisement for a sweatshirt comes up on my Facebook feed that says “You can take this girl out of Beach City, but you can’t take Beach City out of this girl”. I would have to say this is fairly accurate. Our roots are something that stay with us for our entire lives. The experiences that we encounter growing up play a part in helping to form who we become.

Beach City is a small town near the southern border of Stark County, Ohio. I grew up there from the time I was born in 1962, until I moved away to attend college in 1983. It was a village of 1,200 people, give or take a few.  Even now, the population is just over 2,700. I thought we were “city people” because we lived on one of the two main streets that went through town.

I walked across the street to attend the local elementary school, and home again at the end of the school day, from kindergarten through 7th grade. The only exception to this was on my first day of 1st grade. Kindergarten was only for half a day, so 1st grade was my first full school day. I got in the wrong line at lunch time. I was supposed to eat lunch at school, but got in the line with kids who were sent home for lunch. Oh, the horror! So I dutifully marched across the street to my house. My mother was surprised to see me, especially since I was in tears because I got in the wrong line. My mother fed me a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli and sent me back to school. These things are earth shattering when you are six years old. Enough so, that I still remember it clearly.

In case you have not guessed, my world was very small. I did not realize this. Like most youngsters, I thought everyone’s lives were this way. Three of my five aunts and uncles lived within walking distance in the same town as us. The other two lived the next town over. They and my cousins were a frequent part of my life.

Most of my time outside school was spent playing Barbie’s, riding my bicycle, walking my dog around town, reading, or sitting on the front porch swing watching the cars go by and daydreaming. Evenings were spent watching television with my mother. That was pretty much what happened every day of my life.

Once a week we would “go to town”. This meant driving to the larger towns of Dover and sometimes New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas County, to shop at department stores and grocery stores. Before doing the shopping on those days, we would often “go visiting” first since we were already in town. We often stopped to see my mom’s second cousin Janice where I got to play with her three children while the grown ups talked. Or perhaps we would see some family friends. Driving 12-15 miles for shopping seemed like a big deal in those days, so it was reserved for once a week. 

Other evenings, mom and I would ride bicycles to visit one of my cousins and spend a bit of time playing. This was big excitement once my cousin Eddie got a swimming pool. That was also the summer I finally learned to swim, despite having taken swimming lessons in previous years. You don’t learn to swim by getting in a pool five days a week, once a year.

Self Portrait
Me, about 56 years later.

Despite living in the country now, and being a few years older, my life isn’t all that different. I have a few more dogs but still take them on walks and hikes. I spend lots of time reading and sitting on the porch or patio and watching or listening as the cars go by. Evenings are often spent watching television with my husband.

In the photo from my childhood, although we lived in town, I was dressed like a country girl in my cowboy outfit complete with the boots. I called it my “cowby” clothes. The Sundays of my childhood were often spent going to the family-owned woods, adjoining the family farm and “running the dogs”. The farm was originally owned by my grandfather, later run by an uncle, and then the uncle’s son. I think that although we lived in town, this is where my country roots began.

So, I guess it really is true, you can’t take Beach City out of the girl.

Hiking In Winter

Hiking with dogs
Shelby takes in the trail scents

We are on a roll. Today is our 18th day in a row of hiking. We have been hiking religiously since the fall, but this is the longest stretch without a day off. We are eager to see how long we can keep it going. My husband carefully checks the forecast, and sometimes the weather radar, to find times during the day to go when it is not raining or snowing heavily. Given that it is January, our hikes have been pleasant and not overly cold.

I hate to think what the dogs’ reaction will be on the first day we are unable to go. Dogs appreciate routine and ours’ come to expect that if we do something two days in a row, it is now part of our schedules. Most days we depart near 2:00 pm for our outings. The dogs start pestering us starting about 1:50 now. They stare at us and begin to pace in anticipation for the fun to begin.

Hiking with dogs in Ohio
A snowy, winter hike with the dogs

We vary our choice of hiking location depending on weather, day of the week, upcoming plans, or maybe just on a whim. The day’s pick may be at a State Park, a County Park, a local cemetery, a Hike and Bike Trail, or just up the road and back. We even have a walking trail around our property to use in a pinch. You have to go around the loop about 5 times to make a mile though. Here is a link to a walk in our woods during the spring. Woods Walk

Most of our hikes are not extremely long. The average length is somewhere between 2.5 to 3.5 miles. The amount of exertion does not always correspond with the length of the walk though. If the terrain is especially hilly, rocky, or swampy, that 2.5 miles can seem far longer than a 3.5 mile walk.

I track all of our outings with the Walk For A Dog App to raise money for Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. It doesn’t raise a lot of funds but every little bit helps. (Many other non-profit rescues are available as beneficiaries on this App too!) I like the App because aside from being a fundraiser, it lets me know how far we have walked, the miles per hour, and the time each walk took us. You can also look back at the historical information to see how many miles you have walked over the past 30 days. When we get up over 50 miles a month, I start feeling really good about it!

We enjoy our hikes for multiple reasons. Of course getting exercise and spending time with the dogs are the obvious rewards. We also get to see what birds are in the woods at this time of year. We see what plants and bushes stay green late in the season and throughout the winter. It is easier to locate side trails and see the paths that streams take without all the undergrowth obscuring the view. The sounds of the winter woods are different from other seasons too. Each season has its own beauty and can be appreciated in different ways.

So, here’s to Hike #19. Onward and upward!

How Technology Helped Us Today

Walk for a dog app mapping our hike
Today’s hike, mapped by the Walk for a Dog App

We took a different route on our hike this afternoon. We hiked for an hour and fifteen minutes. Some of the time we were not exactly sure where we were. We had a general idea, but it is easy enough to get turned around. What do you do when you and your hiking partner do not agree on which direction you are going? You download a Compass App and find out. Isn’t technology great?! There is little chance that we could actually get lost in the area we were hiking. It’s just a matter of how long until we get back to the car.

None of the dogs cared. They are happy to hike anywhere and for as long as we want. They did enjoy this particular hike because we were in the woods all the time and we didn’t encounter another person the entire time. And only Zekie cares about other hikers, bikers, etc.

We hike with five of our dogs. I walk Shelby and Claire, the two shelties, and Zekie the Keeshond/Sheltie mix. Hubby walks our greyhound Cassius, and Baxter the Lab/Rottweiler mix. We often elicit oohs and ahs at the sight of our pack. Little Nikki, aged 13, stays at home in front of the fireplace soaking up the heat.

Although our hike was a little over an hour and slightly more than 2.5 miles, it tired the dogs out. Even Zekie the Wonder Dog is resting for the evening. Zekie the Wonder Dog  Until our next hike…

Zekie resting post-hike
Zekie resting post-hike