The last few days have been quite busy. My aunt is visiting from British Columbia, a western province of Canada, and we've spent plenty of time in the great outdoors. Since her arrival last Wednesday night, we've been out hiking almost every day. Thankfully my aunt is a dog fan because that means that my whole furry family, minus Rufio the cat, have been getting a lot of exercise. We even had Kayla join us (on a long lunge line) yesterday as well. It was a full vehicle with two people and five dogs.
Yesterday was our longest hike yet. I wouldn't say it was the most challenging in regards to terrain, but we were out for just over two hours; partially due to the fact that we got sort of lost.
None of the trails are marked and it was impossible to know where you were. I'm not sure what people did before cell phone GPS.
We started by loading everyone into my mom's SUV which took some time because everyone was excited. I try to wait until the dogs have themselves under control before letting them into vehicles or else they will be crazy for the whole trip. Expecting self control in exciting situations and achieving it is one way to manage a multi-dog household. I wouldn't say we were perfect, but it was pretty good. It will be something we continue to work on.
Once we reached our destination the same expectation of self control was present. It was even harder for everyone since they could see the trail head from where we were, but with only two of us handling five dogs, there was no way we were proceeding until everyone was relatively calm. Eventually, the dogs figured out we weren't going anywhere until they heeled and we were able to move on. We had to cross a road to reach the trail, another reason for needing calm and controlled dogs, and everyone was asked to sit. A few thought about it, but again, eventually five butts were down all at once and we were able to cross safely. We walked a few minutes down the trail and once the road was out of sight we asked for another sit/stay and three out of the five dogs were released. Nala, Hermione and Roscoe all took off like shots, but never went very far ahead. Roscoe, despite being the oldest, was always out in front showing us the way.
Our hike was incredibly pleasant. It was actually quite cool considering it's July and, most excitingly, there weren't any mosquitoes. Our previous hike which took us up the side of the Canadian shield, had us eaten alive by the annoying critters. The cooler temperatures and the light breeze kept the monsters at bay.
We took various trails, twisting and turning. There were some spots where we had to climb down hills sideways because they were a bit steep. There were a few uphills that we climbed that were quite long and you could really feel your heart pumping by the time you reached the top. None of the inclines were as treacherous as our Monday hike though.
Our twisting and turning eventually landed us in a field with a "private property" sign and "keep out." We found our way back on to the trail and attempted to find our way back to the vehicle. We found a small swimming hole for the dogs to cool off in and let them splash about while we checked my aunt's phone's GPS. It appeared that we were heading back in the right direction.
After a few more steady uphill climbs, a couple more narrow trails and roots and rocks, we made our way back on to the main trail. In the whole two hours that we were out we only ran into one other person walking a Husky puppy. And, we didn't run into him until we were on the trail back out. By this time, the mosquitoes were starting to come out, we were both sweating and the dogs' tongues were lolling. There wasn't much difficulty getting everyone's leashes back on and the sit/stays came much faster and easier when crossing back over the road.
By this point I was following Nala and Roscoe down a dirt path back to the SUV which did not have any hills/roots and/or giant boulders, but it was here that I managed to roll my ankle on, what I am sure, was only a small rock. It may even have been a biggish pebble.
"Really?" I said to my aunt. "We climb a stinking mountain two days ago, hike for two hours in the forest and just before we get back to the vehicle I slide on a pebble."
We laughed and thought nothing of it...that was until a few hours later when my ankle swelled and I could hardly move it. I was shocked. It hadn't seemed that bad, but it was so painful that I was struggling to walk.
Mr. K and I were scheduled to go out and pick up a few groceries and although I felt like my foot was exploding I made myself go. I needed the foot to move. That said, I now see why people don't want to walk on an injured foot even though, in most cases, they should. I'm glad I did though as the swelling went down quite a bit and it's only stiff this morning instead of painfully sore. The Ibuprofin I took as well as elevating it all night may have helped too.
I think I'll be taking the day off from hiking though which makes me sad because it's a gorgeous day. It's better to take one day of and rest properly than push through an injury and risk making it worse. Quite often that leads to having to take way more time off. So, if I do end up going out for a walk, it will be on flat, paved ground and it won't be walking more than one big dog at a time.