Bonding with Maia

Friday night a storm blew through, with enough rain to keep the dust off the trails.

Meadow is on forced rest (something going on with her front left leg/foot, not sure yet; she has a very slight limp), and Finn, well, he's not ready for a trail run yet, on or off leash.

Maia and I had some alone time. We headed out Saturday morning to Goose Creek Falls trail.

Toward the bottom of the mile-plus drop from the trail head to Goose Creek, we crossed a very small stream. The undergrowth was lush and wet from the slight rain that welcomed us as we started out, hushing our small piece of the world to a whisper.

The trees here are big. The damp, the lush green foliage, big trees and granite boulders...I honestly felt like we were back in western Washington, running on Tiger Mountain or in the Cascades.

Just after the stream crossing we crossed Goose Creek on a sturdy wooden bridge. The water was flowing higher than just a week before due to the night's storm.

After crossing Goose Creek, we headed east and uphill, a portion of trail we don't often do but should more often because of the gorgeous terrain and vistas. And huckleberries. They aren't quite ripe, but I sampled several. Meadow would have enjoyed them, too. She knows how to pick them off the shrubs herself, a skill she acquired back in Washington when she decided I was too slow in providing them to her, and kept too many for myself. Malamutes are very resourceful.

About 1.5 miles up the trail from the bridge, there's a section full of huge granite outcroppings; at times the trail goes right over them, with cairns marking the way. There are a few aspen and plenty of pines growing here as well, and Goose Creek - while out of sight - is never out of hearing. It's lovely. Because of the overcast skies, it was dark in here, even at 9:00 AM, so I had to use a flash, which of course make Maia's Do Not Hunt Me vest light up like a Christmas tree.

The sun struggled to find us.

I realized how rare it was for this outing to include just me and Maia. She's nine now, and remarkably energetic and agile for such a big girl. I couldn't keep sad thoughts about how many more such runs we might have together from crowding my head.

I decided to take some photos of Maia without her vest. The real Maia.

She seemed to understand my need to memorialize this morning, and actually posed for me without complaint.