Sunday marked Mother's Day here in Canada and the United States. I've been teasing Mr. K that I'm a mom and should celebrate Mother's Day because of all of my fur kids. I didn't get any cards or flowers, but he did make my mom and I a very tasty breakfast and then Mom and I headed out with the beasties for a much needed leash free run. (A hike for the humans).
The spring weather this year has reminded me of Scotland. As I sit ere writing this the rain is pattering down outside again. We seem to get about one day a week where the sun makes a strong appearance and then it's gone again. I wouldn't say Sunday was sunny during the earlier part of the day, but it wasn't raining either. So, we decided to risk it.
Four excited dogs loaded and rubber and hiking boots thrown into the mix as well and we headed out to an area where we used to go Rainbow Trout fishing when I was a kid. We used to drive out on the weekends and stay in my Grandpa's trailer Tenie and I have many fond memories of splashing through mud holes, through creeks and rivers. Campfires and marsh mellows at night and usually lots of mosquitoes.
It was perfect.
This time around there weren't any trailers and, thankfully, no mosquitoes. We couldn't even drive down the road to the unofficial camping spot because the road was water, mud and snow. I had hoped we'd be able to do the walk up to the waterfalls since that hike is actually a hike with hills, bridges, creeks and just more challenging terrain. However, for us to go all that way we would have had to leave Otis at home. There is no way his little French Piggie legs would have made it from the start of the road where we parked all of the way past the old camp spot to the waterfalls and back. So, we set the camping spot as our goal and set out; Nala, Roscoe and Hermione charging ahead, mud and snow spraying up behind them. Sir French Piggie had to remain on leash since his curiosity could be dangerous. There are a lot of watery places along the road and since French Bulldogs drown very easily, having him yank my arm off for nearly two hours was much preferred than him getting into an unsafe predicament.
Mom and I walked along just listening to the noises around us. Mostly all we heard were the thundering paws of the two bigger dogs, but there were birds singing, mostly Blue Jays, and in some spots you could hear the river running by. Whenever possible, Otis attempted to drink his way along the road. There were watery mud holes the whole way and he would jog along scooping up mouthfuls. Despite Hermione only weighing 12 pounds, she kept up easily with the bigger dogs. If Nala went galloping past, you could be sure Hermione was hot on her heels.
We saw one vehicle coming out on our way in-a big truck that was able to slosh through the boggy road. I heard the vehicle long before it was visible and blew the whistle to have the dogs come back. They impressed me with their prompt return, despite all of the distractions around them. All three mud covered beasts waited patiently while the truck past and then charged on again.
When we finally reached our destination, Otis had stopped pulling a bit. I think the little guy was starting to run out of steam. We walked down the normally rock strewn hill that was now entirely mud, to the river's edge. The water was so high. We stood with our toes nearly in it, in a spot where you normally stand on dry land. Our heavy snow falls this winter coupled with the very wet spring has made for a very high and fast running river. Nala went up to her elbows, but either the water was too cold or the current too strong because she immediately came right back out. There were no camps to be seen. We didn't stay long as we could feel the sky trying to spit more water out; not that hurrying back would help us now: we had the whole way back to get rained on.
We turned around and began the hike/walk back to Mom's SUV. The dogs were pretty tired by this point. Nala and Roscoe stayed pretty close on our heels. Every once in a while something must have smelled great or they saw something because they would take off at full tilt, but would always return, tongues lolling. I heard another motor which served as another recall exercise opportunity. Whistle blew and three still very wet and muddy dogs came directly to me. Treats into mouths and we held on to collars just to make sure no one darted out in front of the ATV coming up behind us. It was a good thing too because there was a Black Lab on the passing 4-wheeler and my dogs were very interested in being friends. I think the other dog was too because the woman on the back of the bike had to hold on to him/her pretty tightly. Once it was around a corner, everyone, barring Otis, were released again and Nala took the opportunity to chase Roscoe down and engage in some mud wrestling. You can always count on Nala to exercise our old man. Not that Roscoe is particularly old at seven. In fact, we've always called him our "old man" even when he was younger. It's just his disposition.
We carried on past a giant tree that had fallen down. Someone had cut it into pieces with a chain saw; probably so they could actually get past it. There were several ten foot or so chunks all along the road. It must have been a massive tree. The scent of freshly cut wood was so familiar and sweet. There was another spot where the smell of fresh pine filled your nostrils A huge pine tree bough was down. It looked like it had broken: maybe from the heavy snows, winds or maybe both.
It was so nice to just walk along, enjoying the fresh air and not having to really worry about other people's dogs attacking ours. That is the one thing i love about living up here: if you want to be alone in the forest, you have plenty of opportunities. I really don't get out completely alone of course, as I usually need a human guide to get me through. However, walking with Mom was really nice. We didn't talk much, but rather enjoyed the quiet around us. I'm really kind of a nature nut. I grew up camping and was one of those kids who never wore shoes in the summers. If we were out camping or fishing, I'd choose to sit in the dirt, on a rock or a log instead of the folding lawn chairs that we had brought along. Even now, I'm like that.
As we neared the SUV the rain started coming down a bit harder. We really weren't that far from the vehicle and the dogs were already so wet and muddy that it really didn't matter. However, we made it back and were all loaded up again before the rain really came down. I managed to struggle out of my mud covered rubber boots and back into my sneakers before we started the 45 minute or so drive back to the city.
It's funny how before that walk I had been struggling with being incredibly grumpy and after it was like I was a whole new person. I love watching the dogs race around and have a good time. Hiking (or slogging through mud and snow) always seems to reset things for me. I'm hoping this weekend we get another nice, or sort of nice day, so we can go out hiking again.
Having that tasty breakfast and then going out with Mom and the dogs is better than any Mother's Day card or flowers; at least to me. :)