"I'll do better, mom!"

Finn seemed contrite about his very poor off-leash behavior in the trashy campsite on Labor Day. He was much better on walks over the next several days.

Finn has already learned to distinguish running/outdoor clothes from at home clothes - and shoes, for that matter - and he gets REALLY excited when he sees me changing into running clothes. I mean bouncing-off-the-walls-and-the-girls excited.

After the destroying-the-pen incident of Friday the 5th, I decided I'd take just Finn for a run. I wasn't in the best of moods, still, but figured we could at least hike. This would be his second trip to the ski hill, where there's little for him to get into trouble with.

We hiked up the steepest, shortest route to the top. I started the morning thinking it would be all hiking - up a couple miles, then down the same way. But the more we hiked, the higher we got, the better I felt. Finn was doing great, so we kept heading toward the top.

On the way up, I asked Finn to pose on the same rock I'd had the girls pose on a few days earlier (Aug 25 entry). He wasn't nearly as relaxed as they were!

Finn liked this section of scree, near the top. Lots of chirps and whistles from the picas through here. He's becoming better, each outing, at staying on the trail and not chasing critters.

One of several attempts at a close-up. He just doesn't stay still!

Nearing the top. Finn has the habit of running 20-40 feet ahead of me, then stopping perpendicular to the trail, usually looking downhill, to let me catch up, then dashing up the trail again. Over and over and over again. Sometimes I have to ask him to "Wait!" as he gets too far ahead. But even that's improving. Especially after the first mile of any outing!

The top. Great views this day. Finn is so small, however, that he really shows up only in the photos where I use the telephoto.

Shortly after this point, I observed something interesting with Finn. He and I followed the road off to the right for a short distance; it leads to the rest of the Elk Trail that zig zags all the way down the front of the ski hill. But on the road stretch, I wanted to take some photos of Payette Lake and McCall off in the distance. Finn was ahead (as usual), and I went to the left of a small hill, across an open meadow, while he stayed on the road to the right. I figured he's quickly appear around the far end of the hill, or go back and follow my own tracks, but...no Finn. I started calling his name, pretty loudly; still no Finn. Finally I saw him running full out back the way we'd come. I guess he heard me calling and assumed I had turned back. I'm surprised he couldn't detect where my voice was coming from, even after I saw him running back up the trail. He kept running, well out of sight, and I feared he'd go back to the car by retracing our entire three-plus miles up the mountain! I started following him when, thankfully, he came running full speed back to me. He nearly knocked me over when he ran right to my feet!

For the rest of the run, I noticed he didn't get quite so far ahead of me before stopping to wait. I hope he learned well, and remembers to stay close so he doesn't lose me (and vice verse).

All in all, it was a great hike of 3.5 miles followed by a great run of 5.5 miles back down to the car. More than I figured I'd want to do, but Finn was willing and having a blast, so why not?