I spent several hours on the trail with Pixie today. Pixie the Wonder Runner.
I left the girls home. I knew this day's outing would be longer, and much hotter, than they'd enjoy. It's a trail they've done dozens of times, including just a few days ago, so they'd also be bored.
It was close to 70F when I finished, after over three hours on the dirt. Too hot for me, so way too hot for Malamutes!
I wasn't without canine entertainment, however.
I met my friends Jim and Jane, and their dog Pixie.
I last wrote about Pixie on December 17, 2007, in the entry titled Barbarism. Pixie was caught in a trap in December, while out hiking with Jim. Thankfully she has fully recovered.
Pixie is Husky/Whippet mix. Jim got her from a musher. She's four now, and an amazing runner.
As I discovered today, she's also a flirt and a troublemaker. I so admire her!
Jim is very social out on the trail. So am I, for that matter. I greet all dogs, and most people. Jim usually knows the people he sees on the trail, as it's near his home. He and Jane taught school in Riggins for many years. So often, after stopping to chat with someone, he'll tell me later that they were his student.
That happened today. We encountered to young men - late 20s - hiking up to collect elk racks they'd found and stashed a couple of weekends before. (I had no clue, until moving here, that these racks can be worth lots of money; they're used to make specialty home furnishings or to adorn cabin walls.) Jim had one of the men in his class several years ago.
They had three dogs with them: an old black lab male, and two younger Aussie males.
Pixie was in heaven. The dogs were tearing up and down the trail playing as we four humans chatted a bit. I was watching Pixie closely. The lab seemed disinterested; maybe he was already tired and hurting - he did look pretty old, at least ten. The younger two were entertaining, but Pixie seemed disappointed with the lab. At one point, she came up behind him, stood on her hind legs and reached with one front paw to give the lab a pointed jab on the back! He turned and gave her a quick growl and snarl; she leaped away, light as air, enjoying the encounter immensely. Truly a troublemaker.
Pixie met two other young male dogs not far from this spot. We'd gone a bit off trail to access the river for water. Two men and their two dogs had camped there overnight. Pixie and the two "pound puppies" had a blast chasing each other through and across the shallow river, through the trees and the camp site. Amazingly, nothing was upended!
As I watched all of this, I was struck by how different it is to be on the trail with Pixie. My girls would never engage in that sort of play with other dogs on the trail. They'd want to meet and greet, but there would be no interaction beyond that. They conserve their energy, where Pixie seems to have endless amounts! When the girls and Pixie have all been on the trail together, the girls quickly learn to ignore Pixie as she dashes up the trail ahead of us all, turns and runs back behind us, then comes dashing - full speed - past us all to the front again! I'm sure Pixie covers at least twice the distance the girls or we humans do.
Spring has arrived, at least to this trail. I saw wildflowers - bleeding hearts and trillium; I saw a ladybug on a rock; I saw butterflies - those small brilliant blue ones as well as bigger black ones with yellow outlining their wings; and I saw gobs of people and their dogs on the trail enjoying a sunny Sunday after a long winter. It was a little bit odd to leave that and drive back home where the snow is still struggling to maintain its hold on the ground.
Photos: Taken last May. Pixie; Jim with Pixie. They both look the same today.