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.