SUMMARY: Had a wonderful time. Feel great. Dogs exhausted.
I stayed with agility friends at their cabin in Truckee. It's a beautiful cabin, they're fun people, and I had a wonderful time. We hiked miles and miles cross country through snow and ice and a little bit of snow-melty muck here and there. I feel surprisingly good; maybe my hiking and upstairs/downstairsing are paying off (although that short but steep uphill is a wakeup call that I still need work on that type of conditioning). Knee is good and I haven't had ibuprofen in 24 hours. No blisters. No muscle aches. This is very cool, as my friends are fit and quick and do a lot of hiking.
The dogs undoubtedly covered four times the distance that we did. They really enjoyed themselves. Tika led the way the whole trip, scouting out to either side of the path for a hundred yards in each direction to be sure no ambushes awaited. Boost chased the other Border Collies all over tarnation. Both my dogs ran and ran and ran. And not an agility obstacle in sight!
They are zoned-out puppies today. After our very long morning hike yesterday, they were all a bit snoozy. Although Boost (of course) still wanted to play, she did actually lie down and nap while we were still awake. Then we took a nap, watched a movie (more dog napping), went out for one final frisbee game at a nearby soccer field in what had to be 10 degrees F with wind chill added. When I loaded them into the car to come home, they both keeled right over onto on their sides and barely lifted their heads again, even when we stopped at the AM PM Minimart halfway home.
This morning, when I first rolled over, neither of them even twitched! Usually they're all over me as soon as they hear an eyelid blink. They've been thoroughly sacked out all morning. Got excited about breakfast, but went right back to snoozeland. They didn't even bother raising their heads when I crinkled a bag of dried fruit, and usually Tika comes running and Boost sits up and takes notice. They are SO tired! This is wonderful. :-) I wonder how long it will last?
I took 544 photos. I've winnowed out the worst 100 so far. Lots more blurry ones; I foolishly took just my cheapo snapshot on the first hike and tried taking action shots of the dogs in the snow. No workee goodee. Lots of challenges taking photos of all the dogs against the snow even with the SLR, but especially their black border collies.
Here are some photo highlights to give a flavor of the weekend. I'll post the rest of the best eventually.
|View from cabin. This is the view looking out their living area's profuse sliding doors and picture windows. You could just sit in here and feel a million miles away from civilization. Except for the natives wearing shorts in freezing weather and walking their dogs along the road. I think they require you to own a dog in Truckee.|
|Bump's boot. Bump has been suffering from a stubbed toe lately. He had to wear a bootie to try to protect it during his romps. It actually worked perfectly once we got it on the correct foot.|
|On the trail. Friends and at least part of all four dogs. Can you find the well-camouflaged Tika? (Now we know why blue merle coloring is a useful adaptation. Plus mud.)|
|Dashing through the snow. The dogs loved it. They ran, they chased each other, they dashed back and forth. The snow had a crust that, for the most part, held our weight, yet wasn't icy slick. Made the whole forest into a huge, soft, smooth field in which to frolic.|
|Boost in the field. Snowmelt was everywhere. The dogs were hot enough from all their running that they didn't care; they'd wade right in and drink. They splashed a bit, too; all got hosed down every time we went back to the cabin. Not their favorite part of the trip.|
|Scenic views. Mostly we were among the trees, but occasionally we got peeks at peaks.|
|Foot grabbing. That foot-grabbing behavior that Tika only ever exhibited in competition, and that I managed to manage into where she does it only at the end of a run, came out in full force this weekend. She hauled me around by my boots on several occasions. I think a combination of excitement, annoyance that I was always at the back of the group (taking pictures) and she was always at the front (showing us the way), and maybe a lack of direct interaction--we almost never Just Walk; we're always doing something, playing something, throwing toys. She was so happy to be communing with my boots, I hated to make her stop. But it was very hard to walk with a 45-pound dog attached.|
|Karma! Wow--Guess who, instead of me, won that Dogopoly that I put a ticket in for in last weekend's raffle! We never did actually play it, but we opened it and entertained ourselves by looking at the pieces and the board. (It's easy to be entertained when your brain is operating on 5 hours of sleep and 6,000-feet-altitude oxygen deprivation.)|
|Lunchtime. Tika's favorite time as our hostess makes lunch. My favorite time, too--all that hiking made me a mite peckish. Or, in other words, stark ravenous. Yet I managed to avoid having more than one chocolate chip cookie, although I did give in to mint It's Its--the world's most exquisite ice cream sandwiches--at the truck stop both coming and going. (But those have Oatmeal cookies, plus dairy products, plus dark chocolate which is healthy for you, so they're healthy! Yes! Am I right?)|
|First snowfall. Saturday evening, a wee bit of snow fell and stuck to the deck briefly. Both dogs' first reaction was to bark at all the things they saw moving out in the darkness. Then they checked out all the weird white stuff very carefully. Then they decided that it was warmer inside the cabin and what was I doing taking them out into that cold falling stuff anyway? (They weren't at all fazed earlier in the day at their first introduction to huge fields of existing, icy-crusted snow.)|
|Wildflowers. Well--wildFLOWER. Saw one buttercup Saturday, saw another Sunday. This one had captured one of the few flakes from Saturday evening and still held it in its petals when we started out Sunday morning.|
|Camouflage. Where in the world is Tika Miranda?|
|The whole crew. We tried several shots with a timer, but for some reason the four dogs weren't as interested in smiling for the camera as the rest of us were. Only Boost got into the flow (in this shot, anyway).|
|Partners. This natural (I think) minibridge makes a lovely spot for portraits.|
|Styx relaxing. Our hostess brought tons and tons of chews for the dogs, and shared them liberally to settle the dogs after we got back from hikes. (Who'd think they'd want to be playing after all that walking? But yes!)|
|Everyone relaxing. Three dogs and our host.|
|Lazy Sunday afternoon. All that exercise is beginning to show on the dogs. Tika found a lovely leather couch and could barely keep her eyes open.|
|Sunday sunset. The Sierras provided one last photo op for my well-used camera.|