Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Walk in the Woods with Baby Dog, Part 2

After Baby Dog played along the edge of the pond and she wouldn't get her toes wet, we continued our walk along the old road. The mountain has plenty of deer trails and other paths, but it had been a while since I walked the road, so that was my planned route for this walk.

I am always surprised how quiet it is down here. I'm surprised because it's already much quieter at the cabin than it is almost everyplace else I go. And yet, I still hear noises there--planes overhead, distant road noises, the occasional barking dog or some far away lawn mower. And when I say far away, I'm talking about a mile distant, at least, for most of them and usually further. The sounds of modern life really carry, though the ones that reach my cabin are muffled by the forest and the distance.

Down here in the forest valley, which in some ways is even closer to civilization than is my cabin, those sounds are much further muffled. The mountains on either side of the valley really block the sounds of modern life. Any noise that I or Baby Dog makes sounds very loud, and the forest animals are aware, I'm sure, that we are coming long before we arrive.

The forest is thick and lush with the fullness of summer. I waited until nearly noon to start our walk, as I know it takes a while for even summer's sunlight to penetrate into the valley. Even so, for most of our walk it is dark enough down here to limit my photography. Where the sun does cut through, the brightness makes me squint.

My original reason for taking this route is that the old road follows the edge of a shallow stream that feeds into the pond. I was hoping that the stream and its shallower water might entice Baby Dog to enter it or at least cross it. The stream was still running strongly for August, but my plan was flawed. To Baby Dog, water is still water, and she was having none of it. Her toes are too precious to get wet.

So my plan didn't work, but that was the only low note of the walk.

The valley is just a few steps dry of a swamp. Even though it is dry everywhere else, so dry that I even slipped on the dust walking down the mountain, in here it is still quite damp. Springs pour out of the side of the mountain, cross the old road and then continue downhill to feed the stream. We had to detour our walk a time or two to avoid the mud caused by them.

It was a beautiful, cool day. Baby Dog enjoyed herself immensely, sniffing her way along the forest floor. We didn't scare up anything exotic enough to tempt her or scare her. I suppose that's a good thing and means that she has now seen enough in her short life to have grown blase about the typical encounters of the forest.

I suspect she is now as ready for the next step, which will be camping, as she will ever be. I'm thinking September. I'm not sure she will ever be able to go backpacking with Dog and me. She's pretty small, smaller than I expected she would be when I picked her out. And first, she has to learn how to camp. I need to buy her a dogpack, as Dog's is too big for her. After we got back from our walk, she pooped out and slept the rest of the afternoon. I think I've finally tuckered her out!

4 comments:

Julia said...

Please keep us posted on Baby Dog's first camping experience. I just got my 1 year old dog out kayaking, which went well, but camping . . . I'm a little concerned about the tent. And her chewing. And her ability to invent trouble, far beyond my ability to anticipate most of it!

Carolyn H said...

Julia,

I read that you'd taken your puppy kayaking. I think you're braver than I am. I would be afraid of tippage! And I'm worried about Baby Dog in the tent too, though Dog learned how to do that quicky enough.

Carolyn H.

pablo said...

Is the leash going to be permanent, or is it simply for training?

Carolyn H said...

Pablo,

I would love to get Baby Dog off the leash, but so far that hasn't worked out. I started her off leash when she was 8 weeks old, but within 3-4 weeks she was taking advantage of that and continues to take advantage when she's off lead. I'm still hopeful that will change as she gets older, but who knows?