I am getting the feeling that this will be one of many posts to come that have the same theme. Something tells me that this is just the first.
It is 4th of July weekend and for the first time in many, many years, we are at home. We were a little out of our element not knowing what to do so for old time’s sake, we thought we would do a one night backpack up to a favorite spot of ours. We have been there multiple times over the years, before kids, with both kids, with each kid and now we thought it might be time to bring our 18 month old puppy along.
We left town at 4 and arrived at the trailhead at 5:00 in spitting rain. Knowing that the forecast was for clear skies overnight, we waited out the worst of it and then started hiking. It’s a quintessential hike. It serpentines perfectly along the north side of the valley. There are open traverses that give views of the mountains and ridges above. There are dark corridors where the trees have grown thick. The columbine are in prime, at times full fields of their blue and white faces.
We had to cross a few small snow fields and worried that our favorite tent location might be too wet this early in the year. But it was waiting for us, flat and rock free. We set up our tent, laid out dinner supplies, and settled in for a sunset filled evening.
Hallie, our pup, was loving every minute of it.
The trail is a dog on leash trail but we find that she is better if we have her off leash but wearing her shock collar. She can roam 10 yards ahead or behind without pulling me off balance with my pack. She knows now that once the collar goes on, she has to stay close. We have needed the shock only twice since we got the collar, just to get her trained. She is a pretty good dog.
We also brought along her tether so she would be able to move around at our campsite but not leave it. She managed to tangle herself up in branches and brush while we pitched the tent, but she was close by and out of trouble.
And then we needed water for our noodles. My husband volunteered to walk down to the creek, and took the dog. Off leash. He figured it wasn’t far, she was well behaved, there were no people or dogs within miles, and she needed to run. Well, we didn’t anticipate this:
Yes, those would be porcupine quills in her curious nose. She had run off into the underbrush all of 15 yards away from my husband and found the one porcupine in all of the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. And she just wanted to play. Hearing the rustle of an animal my husband jumped into the bushes and grabbed Hallie as quickly as he could, but not before her snout was fully slammed with quills.
We were able to pull out a few of the less embedded quills ourselves but Hallie quickly caught on that each tug was going to hurt. We knew they needed to come out and we were not the ones to do it.
So, we put away dinner, packed up the tent, reloaded the backpacks, and headed home. The sunset was beautiful as we walked down valley. Hallie didn’t seem bothered at all by the toothpicks in her face as she pranced through the columbine fields and crossed the creeks on the way down. We passed a few other late evening hikers, all of whom winced for her. She really didn’t seem to mind her face of whiskers.
It was a short walk back to the car and we arrived just as we needed to pull out our headlamps. We trundled back into town and showed up at the emergency vet at 10:15pm. It was 3am before we could take her home – quill free and very, very tired.
And we were worried that we wouldn’t have anything to do if we stayed at home on this 4th of July weekend. Sleeping in was first on the list.