Friday, August 17, 2012

The Princess Diaries

Since I left Barley for an eternity and then we had a lame day yesterday, I made today all about treating Barley like a princess--and what better place to do that than Squire's Castle at North Chagrin Reservation.

Look at the high-speed tail blur.
Barley knew something exciting was going to happen and couldn't stop acting like a crazy dog long enough for me to put her leash on her.  (Sometimes, I think she steals sips of my coffee when I'm not looking!)

I was surprised how quickly we got to the castle.  If I wouldn't have taken a wrong turn, it would have only taken 35 minutes to get there.  (How is it possible that every new trail we try out is only 30-40 minutes away even though they are all off of different exits on I-90?  This makes no sense to me.)

Before we even got out of the car, we had a great view of the castle!  According to Doggin' Cleveland, you could access several trails by stepping through the castle's back door, but there were several groups of children around and I decided it wouldn't be kind for Barley to behead her subjects her very first day on the throne, so we took a wide loop around the castle to get to the trails.

At first, I was afraid that we wouldn't get much of a work out on this walk because when I took the wrong turn the only trails I saw were flat, paved trails.  We've gotten so used to rock hopping and trail blazing on our adventures that I was bummed we had driven that far for trails like the ones 5 minutes from our house.

When we got behind the castle, though, there was an enchanted forest for my little princess to explore!  Unlike the Girdled Road Reservation, this trail started uphill, so I knew we were off to a good start.  Unfortunately, after taking a week+ off of adventuring or even really walking, this walk seemed just as difficult at first!  I was out of breath after 5 minutes of straight uphill trekking, so I didn't complain when Barley found lots of things to climb on and sniff.

The trail was deserted, even though our book said that it was a busy park with varied terrain that's attractive to runners.  (Dear runners on these trails, you're my heros.) There was evidence that people had used the trail, though.

Dad found the trail before we did?

We really had the perfect day for adventuring.  I was nervous to get in the car and leave the house because there was a big grey cloud over my apartment parking lot.  But, assured me that there was a 10% chance of rain and that it wouldn't be above 75 all day.  The sky was still grey when we first got to the park, but after a few minutes of walking it was all blue skies and sunshine.

The trail was gorgeous, too.  There were all kinds of overlooks for us to enjoy and lots of green.

I wonder what's over there.
I'm the cutest little trail dog ever.
My one complaint about the park is that the trails were a little bit confusing.  Our book said there were detailed trail maps available at the park, but we didn't find them (nor did we look that hard) and decided to just wing it.  There were lots of signs along the trail, but I wouldn't say they were necessarily clear.
We just need a scarecrow to go along with this sign and we'll be in Oz.
Several of the markers seemed to suggest that a single trail went in several different directions (I assumed this meant they were loops--most of the time I was right).  Sometimes there'd be a trail marker nailed to a tree, but there were no options for going other directions.  Other times, there were intersections of trails with no markers.  Since it was a gorgeous day, we didn't mind being "lost," but I might have been a little cranky if it had rained.

Eventually, we made it back to the castle and took a quick break for water and a photo shoot before getting back in the car.  
Every thing the light touches is our kingdom.
Barley was sufficiently worn out after an hour of hiking.
So, we got in the car and shared a baggy of Cheez-Its on the way home (I never leave home without snacks!).  Now, she's sleeping soundly on the couch on top of her lamb toy.
That white thing at the top of her tail is the lamb's ear--guess she's no Princess and the Pea.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is my favorite ever post. Bar is so cute! It looks like you had a great day! I can't wait to be pretty, pretty princesses with you guys next summer! Hope Bar doesn't mind sharing the throne ;-)