Friday, January 22, 2010

Over the River & Through the Woods

But it wasn't to Grandma's house we were headed. Nope, this was a hike Brutus and I were invited on the day after christmas - that's shortly before the ice age started here in Ohio.

It was a clear, only sort of chilly day, and the dogs were stir crazy from being cooped up during all the holiday commotion. So when Courtney called and said she was going on a "little" hike with and a few of her dogs and another friend (Teresa), Brutus and I jumped at the chance to go along. It required a short drive to get to the trailhead, so Courntey volunteered the Funny Farm mobile (notice the license plate).

Five dogs and 3 humans (that's 26 muddy footprints if you are counting) headed out into one of the trails of our lovely local park system. Don't be fooled by the milage on the sign - that's not the only trail we were on!!

Courtney brought along Jaeger, Taz, Winston, and Sadie Lou (our Princess teammate from agility), so it was quite the pack activity. The best part was to see a little black bulldog trucking along with all the Brittanys and a lab, holding his own with no problem!

That's Teresa leading the way with Courtney's dogs Jaeger (the lab) and Taz.

Courtney with Sadie Lou (on the left) and Winston, bringing up the rear.

I don't know if it's possible when doing a loop trail, but I think we walked uphill for 2+ hours of our "little" hike (now also referred to as the "O'Neill Death March")!

Yikes!! This is serious terrain!!

You know it's steep when they build stairs in the woods....

Thankfully I had decided to use a harness on Brutus, as I think he towed me up some of those inclines. Two hours into the hike he was still going strong, while I started to fear that I would have to start using some of the survival skills I've "learned" from watching those shows on Discovery channel!!

A rest stop?? How long is this "little" hike going to be??
(notice the black dogs stick together)

All kidding aside, it was a great way to spend the morning, not to mention burn off a good chunk of those holiday-induced pounds. Brutus really did amaze me, as I expected to be carrying him somewhere along the way (talk about adding to my work - nothing like toting a 25 lb bowling ball with legs through the woods...). But Brutus just kept on trucking, even surprised me by venturing into a few of the streams.

Why did we have to have water dogs for our hiking partners??

Everyone else is going in, so Brutus decided it wouldn't kill him...

The Result: unhappy, wet Frenchie!!
Brutus walked on his tip-toes trying to stay as dry as he could!!

Phew! Made it across! Now which way?

OMG!! There was a bridge?? Why didn't you tell me?? I could have drowned in that raging current! (FYI, it was about two inches deep)

My only real complaint is that I had to pay so much attention to where I put my feet (lots of mud, tree roots, puddles, rocks, ect. along the many, many inclines) that I missed out on much of the beautiful scenery! We attempted to organize some group photos of the dogs, but trying to arrange 5 dogs was quite the task (especially since Winston is terrified of cameras!). I'm tempted to make a "how many blondes does it take" joke, but why make fun of myself, let along Courtney??

No surprise that Brutus was the first one ready for pictures!

OK, Taz is already sitting. Jaeger, you come over here...

Now Sadie Lou.. wait... where did Taz go??

Oh, now poor Winston is behind the bench hiding from the camera...

That's is the closest we got to a group photo!! All five dogs are in there, just some coming & some going (count heads/tails if you don't believe me!!).

It turns out that one of the benches had been placed there as a memorial to a young person who had passed long before his time (hence the reason for the rose). After realizing this sobering fact, we all paused a little while to give thanks for the lives we share with our friends and family.

Besides the rose, There was a plaque on the bench, and someone had recently left note and some heart-shaped rocks. What a lovely memorial, it brought tears to our eyes when we realized what we were looking at.

We walked on in silence for a while, lost in our own thoughts and enjoying all the beautiful day. The terrain finally had flattened out a bit, and Teresa announced we were almost back to the car. Hooray!!

You humans mark the trail your way, I'll do it mine!

Thankfully Teresa is an experienced hiker and knows the trails well, so there was never any doubt about safely arriving back at the car. Not to say that it wasn't cause for a little celebration, considering we had hiked over 4 miles!!!

Yeah! Signs of civilization!!

Can you imagine how many steps four miles is for a little Frenchie??? And he wasn't even tired! In fact Brutus and I are really looking forward to our next adventure with Courtney and her pack along with "ranger" Teresa. Maybe someday soon things will thaw/dry out enough here to make that possible!

Thanks again for taking us along, hope everyone enjoyed this (lengthy!!) post. I'll leave you with my favorite photo from the trek, and along with our wishes for a wonderful weekend!


(The) Ladybug Lounge said...

Woof Woof !! That looks like it was a long and exciting day !! It makes me tired just looking at the pictures. It looks like you did wonderful though ! Have a Great weekend !

Moose said...

wonderful adventure! I bet you tippy toed through that water... while those water dogs strolled through getting their feet wet in that cold water you had your undercarriage and all submerged! Brrr!
Glad you had a nice hike with your friends and family. That is all that is important, no?

genji said...

What a beautiful hike. We used to hike with our Black SPCA dog, but now with the greyhounds, they're only good for 30 mins at a time :(

dw said...

Wow, Brutus is quite the hiker now! Four miles is indeed a lot for humans especially with dogs in tow...and for a little Frenchie! I know what you mean about missing things because you have to watch your step. I hiked in Vermont just before Thanksgiving, when the nice colors were past and the leaves were on the ground. Walking through at least two feet of piled leaves on the train makes it interesting when you don't know what you'll be stepping on...dirt, rock, edge of rock, sticks, hole in the ground....oh yeah, interesting to say the least!

Bijou said...

Hi Brutus,

Thanks for taking us along on your adventure. It looks like you all had a terrific time. We went on a hike last spring at our nearby state park and hope to go back soon.


Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

I know. I know. The answer is...
87 bazillion steps for Brutus.
Beautiful walkie. Thanks.

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With Khattledog said...

What a grrrrreat hike!

Tank woo fur sharing!


The Adventures of the LLB Gang said...

What a fun hike!! Friends and nature are always a good mix!


Sam said...

What an awesome little story. I echo your sentiments about the mud, too - we had to watch where we were going today, too, on our tiny little hike. One slip and we could have wound up in a lake!

Kari in Alaska said...

looks like a fun hike to me!

Unknown said...

You were amazed by amazing Brutus??? I wasn't. Way to go, pal. I have faith in you. Thank you for a wonderful virtual hike. I love the last photo the best! Hey, as long as the furiends outnumber the hoomans, it's a good hike.

Oreo said...

WOWser, Brutus is one strong dude!!
4 miles and still going. He should replace the energizer bunny!! Makes me tired reading bout the 4 miles lol

Looks like you all had a blast and enjoyed the hike and the scenery

Huffs and puffs here

Two French Bulldogs said...

Brutus what an awesome hike you and your friends had. You went up the hill alright and through water. I don't blame you for being on your tippy toes. We do that too in the rain.BOL... Nice memorial you found. I bet mom heard snoring after that hike. Stay warm
Benny & Lily

Lorenza said...

Sure you all had a pawesome and looong hike!
I love all the pictures, specially the ones on the bench!
Kisses and hugs

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

That was so much fun to see - quite the long hike. We are amazed at how well Brutus did. The photo-taking session was quite funny. We crossed our paws after reading the story of the memorial and the rose. Thanks for sharing.

Happy Friday, Phantom and Thunder

Asta said...


I am sooo impwessed!! That was a sewiously big and difficult hike and you did soo well.
You don't even look slightly tiwed and you awe totally photogenic and not mussed up at the end.
It looks like a bootiful place and a wondewful day wif fwiends. I loved the pics of twying to get all doggies in one pictoowe, heheheh
smoochie kisses

Dexter said...

Four miles??? You are an insane athlete for sure. The Mango would never go that far without needing a serious rest stop or two or three.


Cocorue said...

awww Brutus, you must be so proud of yourself and your hooman...that was some walk.

TQ for your post; i felt like i went along too and it was so fun with the exception that your ONE step is my 5 steps - when mumster walks with me, her one step is my 10 steps - she walks, i trot....


Cocorue said...

i really must retire my secretary; she did not even ask whether i had anything else to add before she hit the button!!!

i loooove that pic of you on the bench and that lovely memorial/rose/heart shaped stones is so biiig eyes was wet too

now, i'm really done, TQ

Lucy-Fur, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

Dude! You are BRAVE! I'm not super-excited about the whole water thing (unless it happens to be white and falling from the sky, or on the ground). And what an impressive distance for those little leggies of yours! (*grin*) You are quite the intrepid hiker!

*kissey face*

Amber and Nala said...

That did look like quite a feat for a doggie of your stature Brutus....way to go!!! I am not a fan of the water either, my friend! And by the way, Mom says she has family that are buckeyes...they live up north in Lorrain. :)


Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

It looks like you had a great walk. Our Mom knows what it's like trying to get 4 dogs in the same picture - she does it almost daily. BOL

Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Java

Dexter said...

Brutus, pal, please send me a separate photo for MM from your dog pile photo. Choose one that best fits the group you want to compete in, OK?

Time to ROTE!


Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie said...

You should be proud of yourself Brutus! Keeping up with the big boys and finishing off such a long trek.

Why didh't you wear your cute little red rubber shoes??
WelshieHugs, Hootie