Walking The Dog

A slightly out of focus picture of a big, silly rottweiler with a gentle lead around her nose looking ready for a walk.

The weather couldn’t quite decide what it wanted to do with itself. At first, it was bright, then grey, and then, after much deliberation, a torrent of rain that made mowing in the afternoon impossible and changed the trajectory of the evening. With dinner eaten, Bella and I got in the Jeep and headed to Towners Woods for a turn through the park. We got our 3 point something miles in. She loves riding in the open air of the Jeep. She also really enjoys walking in the terrain. It definitely makes her tired. We kept a good (for a so-called middle-aged dude and a puppy) pace of about 20 minutes per mile.

The trees were all beautiful and green. The park was almost devoid of the noise of humans. There was the sound of us moving along the trail and of some ladies taking a walk further up the trail. Luckily, they took a different route before we could overtake them. They were moving just fast enough that we would have to move really quickly to get through and past them without awkward conversation.

My pack was not as loaded as it should have been. Next time I go, I will take my radio pack with gear in it. Or more likely, I will take the mid-sized Kelty that I have and fill it with gear. I want to see how it sits on my back and how it feels over a 3 mile stretch. It might be a contender for my minimalist load out for the summer backpacking trip with the troop.

The drive home was as good for Bella as the drive there, but maybe better because she was hot, tired, and got a really nice breeze in her face. She can’t seem to figure out how to get in and out of the Jeep on her own just yet. She always needs a very embarassing boost to get her hindquarters in. She will figure it out eventually. Or maybe not?

Preparations

A tree fallen across a trail.

3 miles at a time. That’s how we do it. The loop we walk through the woods runs almost exactly 3 miles from getting out of the Jeep through to getting back to it. The trip we have planned for this summer is about 6 miles on the average day. With a current pace of 3mph, that’s about 2 to 2.5 hours a day on the trail. Not a long time. Of course, the trip is in PA, so the terrain will be loaded with ankle-rolling rocks and other nasty stuff.

But to prepare ourselves, we walk our loop. 3 miles at a time. Next week, we’ll be doing 2 loops with each trip. And then we’ll load up the packs. We’ll be ready.

Water

A view across the water with a paddle in the lower portion of the image.

Late May and the kayak is touching the water for the first time. The past few weekends were just a bit too cool. Funny how the same temperature in the fall won’t be nearly the same barrier that it is today. That’s the difference between warming up and cooling down.

It was quiet enough. A few people out fishing. More people just paddling or motoring around. Only electric motors are permitted in this body of water. The water was higher than last season which made passing under the bridge to get to the larger section of the reservoir a bit more treacherous for taller folks.

It was wonderful to glide across the water and get outside in general. For some reason, this past winter was very closed in and left a feeling of claustrophobia. Anything to stretch the arms or legs is welcome.

Warm

The bent remains of an antenna.

There are artifacts everywhere. Bits and pieces of things that were. In this case, it’s a file on a hard drive that lives on a slowly failing computer. It opened accidentally when I launched an application and a project that is years old now is staring at me. I should finish it.

What is it? A series of essays that center around the guitar and the twists and turns of my life. I wasn’t always in a good place emotionally and the guitar has for years been an anchor or a lighthouse. Either holding me in place or at least showing me how not to crash on the rocks.

So the polishing of these sketches and essays will start. Maybe they’ll never see the light of day. But after flipping through my buddy Jeff’s book of poems this week, it seems like something I should do.

Amazing poems, buddy. Amazing.

Snow

Snow. In April. Naturally.

It’s April. I need to remind myself of my childhood. This was common then. No one counted on snow being gone until late May. But here I was getting shorts out of the closet and getting ready for fishing. I guess I could still fish, but snow makes it a little less attractive.

It amazes me that we’ve already mowed the grass twice at this point.

Snow.