Friday, August 20, 2010

Part 2 - Mine oh My!

After we drop off the puppy at the campground, Sharon and I take off down the trail for the second time. I'm really happy that it's just Sharon and me again! I love walking in the woods with my Sharon!

The trail is wide, pretty much an old gravel road. There's not much for Sharon to look at, but I can sniff all sorts of new things. There are alot of critters in these woods. Other humans and dogs have been on this trail, too, but not today. We can hear the river and the rapids down below us, but the thick trees block the view. We are up high in the valley.

There is alot of downhill walking, but none of it is very steep. We get to a trail junction and Sharon says we need to make a left turn to get to the abandoned mines. I want to go right because the trail looks more interesting - nice and narrow, just like Sharon usually prefers. But today, we continue to follow the wide trail.

The trail gets more interesting here for Sharon. There are big rocks and pretty ferns on either side of the trail. Sharon tries to get me to pose in front of them, but who wants to stand around forever taking pictures when there is more trail to sniff!! So, I just keep moving, even though Sharon keeps telling me to 'Stay!' and 'Wait!'. Silly Sharon!

Soon we get to the old abandoned mine area. There are a few buildings still standing and a lot of park signs explaining the area. I can't read, so I don't know what they say. Everything smells funny, like a bunch of chemicals. It also smells very old. There is an opening in the hill, and it feels like air conditioning is pouring out. I want to go inside because it's very hot out, especially in the sun, but Sharon says it's an abandoned mine and that we need to stay away. It's also blocked so we can't go inside. Too bad; I like air conditioning!

There are stairs in the middle of the site. Some go up, some go down. Sharon says we should go down to explore what's at the bottom. I say 'OK!' and go first. Boy, I didn't know just how many stairs there are! Sharon read on a sign that there are 846 steps. It didn't feel like that many going down, but it sure seemed like someone added alot more going back up!

At the bottom, it's very shady. There's more rusted old metal equipment laying around. Sharon says to watch where I step, to make sure I don't cut my paws on the metal or any glass. We walk around the site, but it's sometimes hard to see the old buildings because there is so much overgrowth. I don't think that's a big problem since I sniff everything anyways.

Now we have to go back to the top of the stairs. Sharon said that all the work climbing up and down the stairs every week at work is going to pay off here - there are 40 flights in the building where she works and this climb has fewer steps. We only stop once so she can take a few pictures of me climbing the open steps. That break in the middle of the climb was good. Still, she's panting as much as me when we get to the top! I guess that must mean she's as hot as I am!!

She gives me some treats and water and we continue down the trail. We are able see the river below several times through the trees. The trail passes by more mines and more air conditioning. We can't go into those places, though. But, fortunately, we cross more small streams. All the water is very cold and feels really good when Sharon splash my neck, back, and belly. It also tastes way better than that water she is always giving me from her pack. That water tastes like plastic!

We come to this overlook called Long Point. Sharon stops to take pictures of this bridge overhead. She tells me to look up at the small dots moving across the top of the bridge. She says they are the same size as the big trucks that we passed on our way over last night. No way! Those dots are too small to be the same kind of trucks! But I believe Sharon because she is really smart.

We keep walking and then we come to a waterfall right on the side of the trail. It's pretty and the water is very cold. Sharon takes some pictures and tries to get me to stand underneath. She says that it will cool me off. I say that I'm cool enough, thank you very much!

We see more people now. Most of them try to pet me, but I'm focused on sniffing the trail so I mostly ignore them. There is a little girl that really wants to pet me, so Sharon holds my collar and the girl pets my neck and back. Now she thinks I'm her best friend and keeps following and talking to me. She reminds me alot of that puppy!

Then we cross a bridge over a creek. Sharon stops a man and asks if he can take a picture of the two of us. All this picture taking is interfering with my sniffing, so I continue to wiggle about even though Sharon is trying to keep me still. We go down to the creek and I get a drink and meet more people. Alot of them ask about me and what I'm called. Silly, I'm called Annie! But Sharon says I'm a Blue Weimaraner. Okay, I'm that, too.

After talking to people, Sharon and I head back to the mines. I pass by the little girl and her family again. She recognizes me and starts talking and petting me again. I don't mind, but her parents don't seem to want her to follow us, so they have to work hard at holding her back.

When we get back to the mines, we take the stairs up. Fortunately, there aren't as many stairs as the ones we took down to the river. Instead, it's just alot of uphill walking. There was one spot where there used to be a ladder that humans used to get up onto a big rock, where the trail continued. But I think someone realized that dogs like me can't climb ladders so they built stairs instead. Sharon was glad because I'm too heavy for her to carry me. But, I didn't worry, since I think I could have found another way up to the rock. I'm a good climber.

We get back to the parking lot and then go to the campground where we dropped off the puppy a few hours before. Someone says that one of the women has taken it and is looking after it. Sharon is relieved and so am I! We go back to the car and Sharon turns on the air conditioning - finally! It's lunch time so we both get cold drinks and eat treats at the car.

Sharon says we walked 10 miles this morning. I've walked longer and further before, but because it was so hot today, I'm just plain tuckered out! Sharon wants to drive somewhere else and do more hiking, but she changes her mind when she sees me all exhausted and sleeping in the backseat. So, we do some shopping in town and then head back to camp where I snooze for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Part 1 - You Find the Darnest Things in West Virginia!

I had an awesome weekend! Sharon, Dave, and I went down to West Virginia to meet up with friends for some hiking, paddling, and climbing. I mostly hiked and watched the paddling and climbing, although I'm pretty sure I could climb - I certainly tried when Sharon was on the rock. I have my own harness after all!

Well, it was so much fun and there are so many things to write about, I decided to break the write up into three parts. So, here's part one:

It's been a while since Dave and Sharon took me on a road trip; I was really excited when I realized on Thursday night that we were going. I knew because Dave and Sharon were tearing through the house making "piles" instead of paying attention to me. I didn't even get my nightly walk!

We finally leave on Friday night and drive and drive (I nap) down to West Virginia. When we get there, it is dark and there are many people and one very bossy dog. I spent the first hour or so sniffing and checking the whole place out. But, Dave and Sharon finished setting up our tent so I crawl in and we slept in one big pile on the ground like all happy dog families should do.

The next morning, I get to see what all these humans look like. Some of them are my friends that I haven't seen in a while and some are friends I get to meet for the first time. Everyone is very nice and I get lots of pats and scratches (but none of their breakfasts).

Sharon and I leave first. We are going to hike on some trail in what she calls the Kaymoor Mines area, above the New River Gorge. I don't really care what it's called, because I'm with Sharon and we're going for a hike in the woods!!

We're walking along a wide gravel path, about a 1/2 mile from the start, when Sharon and I hear and see a small puppy on the trail. He's crying and wandering back and forth on the trail. Sharon immediately goes to him, but I think we should just ignore him! She pets him and he wants to climb her leg. Then the puppy sees me and runs over - next thing I know, I'm looking down at this yellow fur ball with big dark eyes that's calling me 'Mommy'. Hey, I'm done with Mommyhood - some nice doctor took care of that! He's kind of annoying, but Sharon said we can't just leave it on the trail. Funny, I don't see anything wrong with that plan.

Sharon gives it water to drink, but it ignores the treat in her hand. Actually, he didn't even know what to do with the food. Silly puppy! So, I show him by eating the treat myself. Then we are headed back to the campground near the start of the trail. Sharon wanted to find out if anyone was missing a puppy. Good riddance, I say! (Sharon briefly thought about adopting this puppy herself, but fortunately, I talked her out of it.)

A few times during our walk back, Sharon would stop to see if the puppy needed water and to encourage it on. I think it was just an excuse for Sharon to pet it and take a bunch of photos. Sigh . . . that just gives the puppy opportunities to crawl all over me! I try to ignore it, but it just keeps following me around.

When we get back to the campground, Sharon talked to a couple of nice women. Nice, but gullible. They both immediately start cooing and pick up the dog. Sharon looks relieved. Heck, I'm even more relieved! Neither of them know the puppy but they eagerly take it and walk away, thanking us for bringing it to camp. No, I think, Thank YOU!

So, we resume our hike and get back on the trail. I'm so happy that it's just me and Sharon again that I run circles around Sharon, play bow a couple of times and take off down the trail! Whew! Dodged that bullet!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Morning Run

I like running in the woods. I don't think I do it enough. I don't think Dave and Sharon do it enough either. They are always busy with stuff like working (on what??) or cutting the grass or shopping or reading or watching TV. Sure, they take me places every day for walks and runs, but I love being in the woods.

After weeks of going to the same 'ole same 'ole, Sharon finally takes me to Clear Creek Metro Park for a run. It's been forever since I've been there. Sharon says she hasn't run in a while because her feet have been hurting. I think that's why paws are much better than feet. My paws don't hurt, they just itch. I even went to the doctor on Monday to have my paws looked at. When I was there, the doctor told me that I gained 2 pounds! I'm getting all fat! Good thing Sharon is taking me to run this morning. I need it!

I like running in the woods with Sharon and Dave. They have taken me to woods all over to run - to places called Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York! They even do a pretty good job of keeping up with me.

This morning's run was fun. It was humid and it started getting hot out, but we got up extra early to make sure we started during the coolest part of the day. Sharon gave me water to drink and treats on the trail.

Sharon wanted to go 10 miles, but we stopped at 9. I was getting hot and tired and Sharon was too. She's all worried about a very long race in October. I don't know why she gets all bothered by these things. I think she should just run until she's tired and then eat and take a nap. That's what I would do.

Speaking of naps, I think that's a very good think to do right now.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hot Dog

While out for a (hot) walk last week in the (hot) Park of Roses, I came up with another (hot) dogku:

During these dog days
Only one thought on my mind

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Waiting in the Woods

Waiting in the Woods
Wondering why we are Here
Look! there's my Sharon!

Another Saturday in the woods. I'm told that Sharon was running a 50K race on the Laurel Highlands trail in Pennsylvania. All I know was it was a long ride (and nap) in the car. No camping and snuggling, but I did get my own bed in the motel.

Saturday morning we stood around in the street with other people and I get many pats from new friends. Then Sharon goes running off with half of them and without ME! Sigh - I like running. But then Dave drives me to a nice trail (more people and pats!) and we go for a run. It's hot in the woods and so am I, but the stream is too cold to sit in. Then we see Sharon! She looks hot and sweaty and doesn't share the snacks from the table. Then she runs off without me AGAIN! Sigh... This repeats a couple times and she looks hotter and grumpier each time. Finally, I get tired of waiting for her to politely share and I snarf one of her P&J sandwiches out of her hand - obviously she meant it for me, I just sped up the process. YUM!

After many waits, Sharon finally has had enough self-abuse (she walks real funny now) and rides with us back to the motel so I can eat my long overdue dinner. Too small as usual. Sunday, Dave walks off with his kayak and Sharon & I spend the afternoon napping in the shade. Not a bad way to spend a hot day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Another Weekend, Another Run

Five Fingers, four toes
Six feet pad on forest paths
Four legs are faster

Another run in the woods on Saturday morning, at Great Seal State Park. I was all excited to have something new to sniff and chase, but did not see even mediocre seals, let alone great ones. Sigh... There was good mud to run through though the cold bath afterwards was a bit harsh.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hello Dolly!

I had a great weekend! It was a long one, so I got to spend lots of extra time with my favorite people, Sharon and Dave. And, we got to all go to a new place, Seneca Rocks and Dolly Sods in West Virginia.

It started on Friday. As usual, when we go out of town, Dave and Sharon scramble around the house creating these piles of stuff. Some of it smell really, really good, like my dog food and treats. But they won't let me have it, at least not yet.

Then they manage to stuff those piles into the car, taking care not to to put any in the backseat. That's where I sit! The whole thing, to myself. I'm a lucky dog. Dave and Sharon take turns driving. That's a good thing, because they drive and drive and drive. I nap. It's just like napping at home, except I move around alot more, mostly when Dave is driving curvy roads. I move around, and I'm not even trying to move around!

Finally, we stop (actually, we make lots of stops, but at this one, they unload some of the piles). Then we go into the tent. I like the tent. It's just like a dog den - we all crawl in and sleep in one big pile on the ground. I especially like sleeping in the middle. But Sharon sometimes complains - apparently, I kicked her in the face during one of my dreams. Sorry Sharon! But she just petted me then scooted me down by her feet. I like her feet - they smell and taste good. I know because I lick them! Then Sharon scooted me to the other side of Dave.

On Saturday, we hike up to the top of Seneca Rocks. There was alot of uphill walking. But I'm a strong hiker, so that was okay. Some of the people we met were panting a lot, but I didn't think it was that hot out. When we reached the top, you could see some nice views of the valley below. I met a nice boy who gave me treats. We could go up higher on the narrow rocks, but Dave and Sharon didn't want me going there. They said that I could fall off the rocks. I didn't think I would, but it's a long way down, so I listened to them and stayed close.

Next we drove to Spruce Knob. Sharon told me that it is the highest point in the state of West Virginia. I've already been to the highest point in New York. That was Mt. Marcy. I went hiking there last year with Dave and Sharon. I like climbing mountains!

We walk around the top of the mountain and I meet even more people. They all say that I'm a good dog and very pretty. I agree!

After that, we go to a small lake. We walk around the lake. Not much was going on, but there are lots of mud holes to walk through. I like mud holes because they cool my paws. Sharon doesn't like mud holes. I guess it's because she doesn't need to cool her feet since she has shoes on. Also, when we're done walking through mud holes, Sharon cools my belly and legs with water. She says she's giving me a bath, but it's better than baths at home because she's not using any of that stinky soap!

The next day is big hike day at Dolly Sods. We walk all day long - Dave and Sharon say we did 15.5 miles! I think I did alot more than that because I often ran back and forth on the trail. I had to run ahead and check out the trail, but then I came back to make sure Dave and Sharon didn't get lost. Sometimes I wish they were faster. Humans are slow pokes. Sometimes they run on the trail, but not today. After a while, I stopped running back to them. I just stopped at a place where I could see them and just waited for them to catch up.

The trail was very pretty - lots of shady trees, lots of hills, lots of rocks, LOTS of mud puddles, lots of open prairies, lots of rock hopping, and lots and lots of stream crossings. I got really wet and muddy. It was so much fun! There were 4 big river crossings and lots of smaller ones. On the 2 biggest, it got really deep in a couple of places, as in, any deeper, and I would have been swimming! And there was current, too! Sharon said that she should have brought my web harness (I'm wearing it in the photo at the top of the page) so she could keep a hand on me. She was worried that I would get swept away. At times, I worried about that, too! But, I'm a strong dog and made it across without any help.

I also perfected a new skill this weekend. Sharon now calls me Annie the Flycatcher! There were lots of flys and bugs on the trail. I think I caught and ate about half of them. At least that's what Sharon says! At first Dave and Sharon laughed when I caught a fly - I think they were impressed. But later, they seemed annoyed because I would always stop and seem more interested in catching flys than walking forward. Soon, I got really good at catching flys AND walking forward. I'm a smart dog!

And there were lots of things to sniff. I know I haven't been here before because there were smells that I didn't even recognize. We also saw other packs of people and dogs. Some of the dogs were carrying bags on their backs. Sharon says if we ever go backpacking, she would have me carry one of those packs.

At the end of our walk, I jumped into the car and took a nap while they drove back to camp for dinner. I love dinner, especially after long walks. I could have hiked more, but the backseat was calling my name and it was nice to lay down after walking for almost 7 hours.

The last day, we go to an area called Bear Rocks. I don't know why they call it that, since I didn't see any bears. But, then again, I'm not sure what a bear looks like. But Sharon didn't see any either. It was cooler here than at the campground. Good thing, because it was HOT at the campground.

I like this area. There are alot of dry rocks to go rock hopping on. I'm getting really good at rock hopping. Dave and Sharon seem to do it alot, especially at stream crossings and mud holes. I don't know why they bother, since it's just easier to walk in the stream and through the mud. I've tried rock hopping in streams, but I just end up in the water!

But here, the rocks are dry and it's easy to stay on top. Sharon and Dave take lots of pictures of the rocks, the short lopsided trees, the views below, and of me! I like to follow Dave and Sharon along the rocks and through the narrow paths in between the bushes. But, Sharon doesn't let me get to close to the edge of the big rocks. I'm not sure why not, since Dave goes there all the time to take pictures. I just want to see what he's taking pictures of.

Today's walk is short since it starts to rain - lots big fat rain drops. Soon, I'm all wet. I was hot, but not anymore. Suddenly, I don't like being wet. We all head back to the car and the backseat is now really screaming my name.

Soon after we are in the car, Dave points out the hail that is hitting the car. Sharon tells me that I wouldn't like hail. I'm only half listening because I'm napping again. Soon, Dave and Sharon are driving and driving again. After I wake up from my nap, we are home. And I get my dinner!

So, that was my weekend. Dave and Sharon say we have another trip coming up soon. I love trips with my people, so I can't wait!

(Sharon wants me to mention that you can see more photos from this trip; go here: 2010 Memorial Day - Seneca Rocks & Dolly Sods - Sharon - Picasa Web Albums)