Yikes…Mountain Dog could have been lunch

Here’s a brief review of three walks, with today’s, the latest, being the most…umm..interesting.

We had a nice walk up Drinking Horse Trail last weekend, with Sara (our eldest) and MD.IMG_0400

It was a pretty typical day…cloudy with some sunshine, lots of packed snow on the trail making for easy gripping.

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We reached the top without incident, although both Sara and I thought we’d had a good workout.  Jeff seems to just take these trails in-stride.

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Mountain Dog had a harder time, with the snow getting between her toes.  By the time we got to the top she was beginning to dig it out, meaning that it stuck even harder.  We dug it all out for her and once we got moving again she was okay.

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We’ve tried booties for her and she’s getting more and more used to them, but they really slow her down and this is one dog that loves to spend her entire “walk” running…

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Nice outing…pretty scenery…lovely snow…good workout…thoroughly enjoyable outing all around.

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I hit The M trail mid-week, late one afternoon and managed just half-way.  I wasn’t feeling well, so it was a bit laborious, but even so, I ended up feeling better even with that little walk. Nothing like trail therapy.

Today dawned cloudy once again, but the sun did come out by mid-morning and I decided to head for The M, along with MD, of course.  The rest of the gang had other plans…so we two were off.  The walk to the M was nice…nothing too different from so many times in the past, although there weren’t as many walkers as I’d expected.  Maybe most folks are busy with Christmas prep.  Still, MD had her usual number of admirers.  Guess most Bichons must like to spend their days at home on the sofa.

So, we got to the benches at the top and I decided to sit for awhile, as it was lovely.  A walker was approaching with his three dogs along the steep route…two yellow labs and a large, brown dog.  They kept going, passing the benches and continuing up the trail above the M.  Indy, meanwhile, was beginning to act a bit weird.  She usually explores around at the benches while I rest, but today she was dashing all over the place…up along part of the M and down again, over and over, and then she simply started along the trail heading down and looking back over her shoulder at me.

I decided that conditions were right for me to climb above the M…my climb had gone well, my spikes were getting a good grip in the soft snow, I had time…so off MD and I went.  It was just perfect…a good climb, beautiful scenery, a bit of a very-welcome breeze…but, before very far, MD started with her mad racing again, running uphill and out of sight and then downhill so fast that she was practically tumbling.  The trail is steep above the M (actually, this was the first trail that brought my experience in “Compelled” to-mind.) and I told her to quit that.  We climbed a good distance…maybe 200 yards..and I looked up to see the three dogs of earlier also racing around, and then down past us.  The walker was coming down quickly…doing that running step that we often do coming downhill…but slowed down to say that his dogs had started acting very strange just a bit further up, as if there was something up there.  I said perhaps a coyote, to which he replied no, he was more thinking a mountain lion.

Oh my.

He said that if I had at least one other person with me that I’d probably be fine, but alone, well…and off he went.

Hey!  Waaaiiiiittttttt!

Of course, MD and I turned around.  I kept looking back up the mountain…it was eerily quiet…but, didn’t see anything…no moving branches…no stalking shadows…no sounds.  But, that’s the way of cats, right?  And, turns out I can move pretty quickly going downhill when need be 🙂

So, was it anything?  In hindsight, MD had begun to act strange while we were resting at the M, with all of her running around.  The walker seemed truly shaken up by his dogs’ behaviour.  It was quiet.  I can’t say for certain, but my gut feeling was yep, there were eyes on us up there.  Especially on my incredibly fit, trail-loving, adventure-seeking, good sport, constant companion little friend.

So, so far I’ve been told that MD could be picked up and carried off by a golden eagle.  Now I’ve got to consider mountain lions.  What to do?  As soon as she sees my walking pants coming out of the closet she sticks to me like velcro…she doesn’t want to be left behind. Guess I’ll put a bell on her collar, hoping that’ll at least give these wild predators a head’s-up that we’re around. And stick to more well-travelled trails.

Anyone have any ideas if this is how dogs can behave if they sense a wild predator?

One last look up into cougar-country…

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I guess really, it’s first, their home.

PS: I’ve just spent some time reading online about cougars and have come to the conclusion that I was rather foolish today, walking with MD into less-travelled territory.  The thought of a cougar being around just never entered my mind.  Lesson learned.  Sorry, Mum 🙂

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About walksandrambles

My love of walking began in 2005, when, travelling with my Girl Scout troop to Switzerland, I joined a group of Norwegians for a day, to walk up Elsignenalp. I wasn't at all sure I could make it, but the guide was kind and through her encouragement, started out. It was an all-day affair for me and I was always the last one, but this didn't matter a bit...I'd found my new love! No photos exist for this...the camera went missing on a train...but I remember toasting myself with a cup of tea from my thermos at the top...it was a day of tough work and pure pleasure. If you walk, you know what I mean!
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