Beat the Heat

This morning, the girls and I went to the ski hill. Best close-by place to beat the heat of the day, as long as we get there early. In the photo below, my shadow is long, attesting to the sun's low angle as it rose over the mountain we were running on.

After a slow start up the trail from the parking lot - the girls are sooo bored with this location, but high gas prices are forcing me to stay much closer to home than in summers past - both perked up and were more playful. When we got to the open field above, they teased me and each other by cutting switchbacks and going through the grass, causing me to call them both "Cheaters!" Some games never grow old.

A little higher up, after a quick drink in the one stream still flowing (and barely flowing enough to get their toes covered), nature called. Me, I mean. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Because of that, long ago I trained the girls that if they wait near me, they'll get a treat when I'm done and we're ready to resume running.

This morning, as I was attending to my business, I marveled at how the girls sat so close to me, seeming to guard me while I remained in that most vulnerable of positions. (If only they could guard me from the mosquitoes that always seem to find my bare backside at these moments!) Since my fanny pack with toilet paper in plastic bag was already at hand, I dug for my camera. The girls were so close I couldn't even get them both completely in the frame!

Around the bend from there, we came to another open area. Usually we take the trail across it (which you can see in the photo above, faintly, as a single-track arc on the upper portion of the open area and crossing the double-track), back into the trees and across the front of the mountain to the north side. Often I've looked at the double-track, heading almost straight up this part of the mountain, thinking, some day....Well, today was that day. I planned to not keep the girls out long, both because of the warm temperatures and lack of free flowing water, but also because Meadow still exhibits a slight limp. This point is only about two miles into the run, so I decided to hike up a bit, see what we could, then had down to the car.

The climb was steep but the footing remarkably good.

Without water higher up, I was unwilling to make the girls work too hard, so we only went about a half mile up before turning back for the car. Meadow - a quarter dose of Deramaxx in her system - dashed down with puppy abandon, playful and happy, no limp visible. Maia was her usual serious I've-got-a-job-to-do self (i.e., get us to the car by following the most direct route). It was a great morning.

I did, however, spend much of the afternoon pulling burrs and sharp grass seeds out of Meadow's thick fur. Maia managed to avoid them. The good thing, though, is that by searching all through Meadow's fur (a technique of massaging and lightly scratching with my fingertips to feel for things I can't see lying deep in her fur next to her skin) and between her toes, I finally found a piece of grass seed wedged way up between the toes of her left rear foot. Could be the cause of her limp, or not. Time will tell, but I'm hoping.