Sunday, January 29, 2012

Let's Go Hiking in The Nature

My AVA walking club held their annual January hike in the mountains to the west of the city yesterday (literally west of the city; it takes 20 minutes from my door to be in these mountains). DoodleBug has been doing some training 5K walks to get ready to start hiking, including practice wearing Mr. Big's backpack. So yesterday was the day to start him on his hiking career. He loved it!

T decided to bring her dog, Bertram, even though the most Bertram walks is about 3/4 of a mile on pavement (I'll be he's sore today). She mentioned the hike to her coworkers C and M, and they decided to tag along with their GoldenDoddle, Sidney. Let's just say that Tall Boy is now in love with this tall golden girl.

It warmed up pretty quickly, so I wound up carrying the backpack down (yes, insert jokes about how well-trained I am). Golden Boy was straining to always be in front; in fact, he wasn't happy unless he was in front. But we both walked the fastest of the group, so really, we both were happy when were leading.

I first joined the AVA chapter about 20 years ago, thanks to my friend Regina. Ten years ago, I started doing them with the Fluffy Dogs. They were usually the only dogs on the trail, with their red and green matching Wolf Pack backpacks (super durable backpacks--I absolutely love them and they are well worth the investment). I'd walk up to the sign-in table and people would start hollering "Hey, here come the fluffy dogs!" They were quite well known. It saddened me greatly when arthritis and older age meant they could no longer do their 5K and 10K hikes. Resuming these was one of the reasons I wanted a dog this young, but who could train a lot faster than the new pup will to walk these kinds of distances. But yesterday, we passed about 15-20 dogs, all hiking with their walking club member owners. All these well-behaved dogs out enjoying a beautiful desert day with their owners--it was wonderful to see.

Anyway, below is a a photo gallery of part of our hike in The Nature, as my friend The Gingerbread Lady calls it. Gorgeous weather in the low 60s, piercing blue sky. Tall Boy was disappointed we had to turn around at 5K, but he and I had our Click-a-Trick class that afternoon, I was Eucharistic minister at mass that night, and then straight from church to a surprise birthday party, so we couldn't dawdle. Next time, I promise, we dawdle.

And we're off! The leggy Sidney and Bertram.

All right, humans, get a move on! Golden coming through! (His backpack was admired by several passersby).

Sidney decides not to cooperate.
Shade is a premium in the desert, even in the winter.

The Fluffy Dogs and me on the exact same hike, Jan, 26, 2002--K's first birthday and six weeks after M was adopted.

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