Friday, June 5, 2015

Rediscovering Girdled Road Reservation

On Monday morning, I was cleaning out my closet and putting together a bag of clothes to drop off at Goodwill this week. I had pulled out all of the shorts and skirts that I've collected over the years and decided it was time to try them on and get rid of things that didn't fit or were too young for me now. As soon as I pulled off a pair of shorts that were too short for any self-respecting 30-year-old to wear, there was a knock at the door.

Strangely, Barley didn't bark and I was sure it was my landlord who had said he was going to come fix my bathtub--I was afraid he'd think we were out for a walk and come in, so I quickly looked around for something to pull on that wouldn't make me look like I'd just put on the first thing I pulled out of the closet. Then I gave a quick glance to see what state the bathroom was in and noticed a puddle of cat pee in the tub, so I frantically tried to clean that before running to the door.

Sure enough, it was my landlord and he wanted to fix the tub. He checked a few things, left, and came back with another guy. Barley let them pet her while I held her collar, but as soon as they quit paying attention to her, she wanted to bark nonstop. I stuck her in her crate and she stayed quiet for a few minutes, then she'd lose her mind again. I mean, how dare someone come to our apartment for any reason other than to sit on the floor and give her belly rubs? My landlord had to get some supplies and asked if we'd be home all day--I know he prefers to work on things when Barley's out of the way, so I told him we'd go for an adventure.

I knew we needed to go somewhere farther away than the state park to make sure we gave him plenty of time. In an effort to switch things up and not always go to the Arboretum, I decided to try another park we hadn't visited in ages, Girdled Road Reservation (another of the lovely Lake Metroparks). To get to this park, we take the same exit we take to get to the Arboretum, but to get to the Arboretum we turn right and to get to Girdled Road we turn left. Barley did not hesitate to tell me we'd taken a wrong turn and barked from the moment we turned left until we turned into the parking lot.

When we pulled into the parking lot, there was a young guy with an energetic (but delightfully well behaved) dog, so instead of taking the longer trail, we did a quick warm up lap on the short 1.2-mile loop to give them a head start and I'm so very glad we did.

Lots of balance work as we did the loop. Keeping that core strong.

We had a ton of rain over the weekend, so there were a lot of leaves along the trail and a bunch of interesting petals--I was so happy to find a full flower in the middle of the trail.


We also saw this sweet snail on the trail. Unfortunately, when Barley tried to figure out why I'd stopped and squatted down in the middle of the trail, she kicked some gravel up and scared him back into his shell.


My very favorite part, though, was seeing an owl sitting in one of the trees. I love owls. I'm always drawn to owl home decor, jewelry, and clothes (if there's not a border collie or white cat option, of course), but I rarely get to see them on the trail because I try to stick to more open areas during the hours owls tend to be out since Barley and I don't want to have any weirdos sneaking up on us on the trail. Monday, though, it was cool and grey, so I guess the owl decided to look for an afternoon snack.


After our quick warm up loop, we headed to the big trail. At Girdled Road, there's a big 4-mile loop with a few other short trails that branch off of the loop. This loop is labeled as difficult and they definitely are not lying. This park is full of inclines, which is why we usually avoid it. Last week, I lamented the 81-foot in .25 miles elevation gain at Chapin Forest, but that's nothing compared to the inclines at Girdled Road.

The first big incline is 77-feet in .09 miles and every single time I'm pretty sure going up that hill is going to be the last thing I do.

Why does it look like your heart is going to pop out of your chest, Mom?
As soon as I recover from that, we have a 156-foot incline over .55 miles. That one doesn't seem as bad as the first, but I am always grateful when there's something interesting to stop and have a photo op with, so I can catch my breath.

She might look happy, but I know that at the end of this bridge there's a huge staircase.





We've never finished the full 4-mile loop because I think the trail signs are really confusing--it feels like in the Wizard of Oz when the Scarecrow points left with this right arm and right with his left and it doesn't make any sense that going in one direction would take us farther from the parking lot we started at when it seems to be looping back in the direction of our parking lot, so we've always gone the same way just because we're comfortable with it.  Some day, we'll try the other direction.

Since we had so much rain, there were a few places where there were branches down across the trail, so we did a little trail agility, too.


The weather was ridiculous for the first of may--cloudy and hovering around 50 degrees. With the shade, I was chilly even with a long sleeve shirt and a light jacket. But it was amazing what a difference the cooler weather made with Barley. I mentioned that she had been tripping and had me a little worried a couple weeks ago--we'd cut back on our mileage a bit and divided the miles we did get into several shorter walks a day. Even with that, she was still kind of tripping every now and then last week. Today, there was no tripping and she was begging to keep walking.

5.37 miles and I'm ready for a s'mores frappuccino--Barley's ready to keep walking.

When we started nearing the car, Barley still had a lot of energy and even though we could see the car, she wasn't interested in going back there, so we added a partial loop on the easy trail we'd started on before heading back to the car.


We ended up getting in 6.2 miles and logging our fastest 10k (note: we have probably only done 3 10ks all in one go ever in our lives; even though we've had many 6+ mile days, we usually split them up into 2 walks--so this record is probably not that impressive, but it's always fun to see the Garmin flash the new record screen).

There was no running involved in this adventure, but my Garmin thinks there was.

Despite the pain--and the fact that I didn't think I would ever be able to get off the couch again once we got home--we had a great adventure. I can't say I was completely surprised to see that my bathtub had not actually been fixed despite the fact that we were out of the house for 5 hours, so there will probably be more adventures in our near future. Hope everyone else has had adventure-filled weeks. Happy FitDog Friday! We're linking up with SlimDoggy, My GBGV Life, and To Dog With Love, so be sure to stop by all of the other blogs participating this week, too!


20 comments:

  1. Maybe Barley is intentionally messing with the bathtub so she gets these great outings?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's quite possible. Or she puts on an act for our landlord so that he prefers to work without her in the apartment--when we see him in the parking lot, she's all tail wagging and wiggles, but if he comes to the door she suddenly turns into this growly, barking maniac. I never thought about that being a ploy to get more adventures ;)

      Delete
  2. Hills are tough, but a great workout. Dogs tend to love to run/charge hills, so Mom has always used this to train running hills. Her last marathon was uphill the last two miles. Over half the runners stop and walk, but Mom had overcome the hill thing by training with us dogs and she pushed through. It wasn't easy, but she did it. Keep working those hills walking or running! You can try walking backwards part of the way too for a different workout.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Y'all!

    You wore my Human out just readin' this! Sounds like a fun time to me. When we're in the mountains I'm usually off leash and run almost perpendicular hillsides for fun. My Human can't ever keep up and most of the time doesn't even go with me. She just calls if she doesn't hear me crashin' about!

    Y'all come on by now!
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    http://www.browndogcbr.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're amazing, Hawk! Barley's usually pretty good at sticking to my pace up the hills, but I bet she'd love running up them like that, too!

      Delete
  4. Gorgeous photos of your impromptu adventure. I would have loved seeing the owl too. There's nothing better than coming home from a strenuous hike and relaxing on the floor with your pup. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! Usually the kitty comes out and sprawls on the floor beside me, too. I just wish that I could have his life and get the lounging without the hard work ;)

      Delete
  5. What brilliant photos. Looks such fun!

    sumskersandearlskers13.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds like a great excuse for an outing. Next week, they're painting so we have to be out of the house. I'm trying to plan a hike.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope that you got to have a fun adventure, too! I would have enjoyed our excuse for an outing a little more if I'd had a little more advance notice, but it ended up being a great hike.

      Delete
  7. Looks like a great hike! The owl sighting was really cool! One night when I came home we heard a whole mess of owls hooting in our trees. It was really eerie and I couldn't see them at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The owl was really cool! I bet that was eerie to hear so many and not see them--they certainly do have haunting voices!

      Delete
  8. The picture of the owl is very cool. That looks like a great place to hike!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It is a great park--I really shouldn't let the hills keep me away so often.

      Delete
  9. What a great hike! We haven't done much lately, so I'm sure the hills would kill us too (I mean me, not the dogs :).
    The weather was crazy, right? When we left Nashville on Sunday my friend and I were wearing shorts and sandals, and when we got to Erie again, we couldn't believe how cold it was, and that continued right into our whole trip home on Monday! At least it sounds like it had stopped raining for you.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing how quickly I get out of shape and how easy Barley makes everything look when she's been taking the exact same walks I've been going on!

      The weather was crazy! This week it's been pretty cool, too--I am definitely not complaining, though, after baking in the south last week!

      Delete
  10. You have such beautiful places to walk! That owl was really a lucky sighting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so happy I saw the owl long before Barley did. She's spooked by birds, so I might not have been able to get a picture if she'd seen it sooner!

      Delete