Meadow enjoys Brundage

Meadow and Finn joined me for an easy hike at Brundage. Not wanting Meadow to tweak a joint, like Maia, I keep her on leash most of the time. We cover between two and three miles. Meadow loves it. I love watching her love it. The only problem: I really miss having Maia with us.

Starting out, sun just over the summit to the east.

Because it's hunting season - and even though there's no hunting allowed at Brundage - I make Meadow wear her Do Not Hunt Me vest. She's too wolf-like in appearance, and they fear, hate and hunt wolves in Idaho. (Don't get me started. Actually, I've already started. I've been working on an essay on the topic, for a later post.) 

If Meadow has to wear a vest, then it's only fair that Finn wear his, too. 

[Aside: I love these vests for walking dogs in the city in the dark. They have reflective stripes that make the dogs incredibly visible in headlights. They're made by VizVest. Adjustable Velcro straps make the vests easy to put on the dogs, and there's a thick band across their chest for front-on visibility. Reasonably priced, at $12 for a small, $15 for a large (Finn wears a small, the girls wear large). I highly recommend them.]

Meadow seems to like the aspens as much as I do.

A service road, connecting two trails. Finn doesn't understand the photo delay.

Meadow follows Finn down a hill, tail high in joy.

For quite some time now, Meadow hasn't held her tail high and curled over her back as regularly as she used to. I've noted the same thing in Maia, and have written it off to aging. On occasion, though - when happy, or when presenting a "don't mess with me" posture to a strange dog - their tails sail high. 

This hike is clearly a happy occasion for Meadow. I love seeing that big fluffy tail of hers floating in the breeze as she trots down the trail.

"Wait for me!" I call out. They do. For a second.

Then they're off again. I have to run to keep up!

Meadow near some mountain blueberry shrubs in glorious fall color.

A look at our playground, up slope; other ski runs seen in the distance.

Every tree tells a story.

Of my three dogs, Meadow uses her nose for information gathering the most. She sticks her nose right into elk and deer prints left in dirt, mud or snow and inhales deeply to extract their information; she stops to smell scat left by any number of forest inhabitants, big or small; she's first to lift her nose high in the air to catch the scent of nearby ungulates on the breeze; and she always gives me, Finn and Maia a thorough sniffing when we return from an outing in which she wasn't included. 

Meadow can spend a full minute or longer taking in scents left behind on tree trunks. Maybe a deer or elk brushed it, passing by? Maybe a bear scratched his back here? Or maybe she's just enjoying the smell left by the squirrels and chipmunks who have traversed the trunk on the way to higher branches. 

As I watch Meadow's rapt attention to this and other tree trunks, it occurs to me that, while we humans cut down trees to turn them into paper on which to tell our stories, dogs read stories from the trunks themselves. 

I wish Meadow could translate the stories for me. They might be mundane, but they might also be incredibly interesting.

Rebecca WallickComment