Saturday, March 9, 2013

I started Early--Took my Dog--

. . . and we visited the Holden Arboretum!

 The sun was streaming through the french doors in my bedroom at 7:00 this morning, so I figured why stay in bed and waste a minute of sunshine and I fed the pets, got our hiking backpack together, and layered up.

When Barley and I went to get in the car, I immediately decided I was crazy.  The windows were all frosted over and when I turned the car on, the thermometer said it was 25° outside!  I was glad I grabbed an extra layer on our way out of the door.

We stopped for a chicken biscuit on the way, but as soon as Barley realized where we were going, she started prancing in the backseat.  We hadn't been to the Arboretum since November and we were both beyond excited to pull into the parking lot around 8:45.  (The perks of being a member--we can get in from sun up to sun down whether they are officially open or not!)

There were only a few cars in the parking lot and we were adventuring for over an hour before we ever saw another human.  There were no elusive black squirrels taunting us, no deer, no turtles, no coyotes, and no visible birds, but we did hear several different birds singing.  It was like Barley and I had the whole place to ourselves.  (Check out these awesome pictures the Arboretum posted on Facebook earlier in the winter!) At one point, my phone rang (the plumber finally showed up and my landlady was letting him in to turn of the water) and it was so unnatural and jarring that I didn't even realize what was making that noise at first.
Posing in some of our favorite spots!
 Our walk through the woods was an interesting one.  Normally, as long as Barley's responsive and comes to heel when I call, I let her wander at the end of her leash instead of having to stay right in by me; this morning she was so excited she completely forgot that I existed!  For the first 20 minutes of our walk, it was like she didn't even know she was on a leash or that I was with her unless I stopped and stuck my handful of treats in her face.  I'd call her name and her ears wouldn't even twitch and she definitely wasn't turning to look at me.  But she wasn't pulling and there weren't any other dogs around that required her to be able to focus on me, so I let her prance and sniff and zig zag and embrace her inner wolf!

We had to adjust some of our normal hiking routes this morning.  Normally, we hike down to the creek, hop across the creek, and then go up to the Maple collection.  Then we go back down another trail to another point down the creek, hop back across, and work our way to the rhododendron garden.

To get down to the creek, you have to go down a ton of stairs.  Barley and I were definitely out of practice on stairs.  By the end of last summer, we were so good that I didn't have to feed her a billion treats to get her to stay by me (although she did get them on every landing just for reinforcement).  Today, she wanted to charge ahead, so there were lots of reminders to heel and lots and lots of treats.  The stairs were also rough!  Who knew that we could be so out of shape (at least as far as climbing stairs is concerned) even with all of our walking!
We paused because my legs were screaming this was the perfect spot for a photo op.
When we got down to the creek, we found that the creek still had a lot of icy patches along the path.  In order to get across it, you have to go down another short, but steep staircase and then hop across some rocks.  The rocks were surrounded by floating ice and the creek had a lot more water in it than it did during the summer.  I just couldn't embrace the idea of finishing our hike and then driving home in wet pants, so we trudged back up the stairs and took another trail to the rhododendron garden.

Icy ponds and paths!
We passed the new Meditation Point again today.  Remember how Barley was unsure of it back in November?  Well, apparently she forgot that we had been there before!  When we got to the rock marking the entrance, she slowed down (just like with the teenager yesterday) and started walking funny.  Then she stared at the rock and jumped back in fear--at first, I thought maybe a bug had flown out at her or something, but she was fine.  When the rock didn't move, she crouched down and approached it really slowly and then sniffed all around it.  
Then she pranced down the boardwalk to the benches with me, so we could sit and enjoy the peace and quiet for a minute.

By the time we got to the rhododendron garden, the temperature had gone up to closer to 40° so the mud that had been frozen when we first arrived was good and sloppy.  Barley left the rhododendron garden and her whites were anything but white!  Thank goodness I found a towel hidden under the seat of the car--otherwise our seat cover would be really disgusting now.

After a good two hours of romping in the woods, Barley and I are both in much better spirits--our neighborhood walks were getting old and after teaching Walden in US Lit this week I was dying to get back out into the woods and live deliberately with my dog.  Fingers crossed that we get lots more of these sunny, warmish (I never in a million years would have thought that I'd think 40° was warm before moving here!) days in the near future so our weekends can involve more adventures!

We've spent the rest of the day lounging and reading Ian McEwan's new novel Sweet Tooth that I checked out from the library on my iPad.  Isn't technology super cool? I can check out library books without leaving the couch!  I'm three chapters in and I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea what this book is about, but I think I like it.  

And, I would be a bad pet mommy if I didn't include at least one picture of my baby boy cat, too!

Sothy got a new knit catnip toy to celebrate the sunny day.  I caught him in mid-play.

1 comment:

  1. Aw yay for gorgeous days outside! I love the collage! I'm glad you girls got to spend some time in the sunshine! :)