Bella (my dog) has been wanting to go to the mountain where we hike. If I dared to leave the house, she would glance toward the car as if asking, “this time?” no my sweet girl, not this time. My son hasn’t been helping. Every time he has left the house he would look at Bella and tell her that maybe I’d take her to the mountain. Bella knows the world mountain and gets all excited and then disappointed and actually pouts when we don’t go.
Today, right after my son left to return to work after his lunch, Bella and I went to hike the trails at the mountain.
She was all excited as I got her harness on and her in the car. With everyone and everything in place, we headed out. I had called mom to let her know I was going, otherwise if she had called an me not be home, there would be consequences. Guilt trips mostly but still.
Bella was content to sit quietly in the back seat watching the world pass by us. Right up until we pulled in the entrance to parking and I stopped my Jeep. Then she began crying in impatience. She was more than ready to visit the trails. She was anticipating all the scents that awaited her. When I finally let her out of the car and grabbed my bag, she was straining at the leash.
As we crossed the parking area and reached the building housing an office and restrooms, I saw someone I know. Stopping to speak, Bella tried to be patient, but really wasn’t. She had that kid in a candy store mindset and her candy store began at the trail entrance. When we finally turned to head up the trails, it was all I could do to hold onto her. That was not going to work. I managed to get her back under control and focused. I can’t help but think part of her over excitement was due to my son’s teasing about going. Once we hit the main trail, she was fine.
I am definitely out of shape, and Bella has a bit of age on her so I wasn’t going to push either one of us. I was there to enjoy the day. As we were moving between the third and half way to the stairs point, two gentleman came down the trail in our direction. They felt the need to tell us how far it was to the steps, even though neither agreed on the distance. I didn’t bother telling them I knew, there would be no purpose served, they thought they were helping so I let them.
Bella was in doggy heaven. Moving from side to side on the trail, forward quickly then suddenly backward. How many different scents from how many different critters was she finding? Again, since I was in no hurry, I let her enjoy the critter communication network. When we finally reached the stairs, Bella stopped and waited as someone came down. She remembered. As we made our way up, the minute she heard someone coming down, she would move off the stairs at the first available spot. As we climbed, the second her leash pulled taut, she stopped, looked back waiting on me to catch up. A couple steps up, stop, look, a couple steps up. We did this all the way up the steps.
The one moment I had of concern happened as we neared the top of the steps. There were maybe twenty left to climb when I heard voices off to the side of us and above. There was a group of maybe six people, two supposed adults and some kids. I don’t know exactly because the minute I saw what they were doing I turned away. I’m not one to watch a train wreck happen.
From above came children’s voices, then one of the supposed adults asking “Do you want to go down the safe way or the dangerous?” I couldn’t help it, I dared to look for a split second. They were climbing down the side of the rocks. I held my panicked, inner call it what you will voice inside and finished climbing the steps. Not looking again. When I didn’t hear a crash or screaming in agony, I figured they had managed to make it safely to the ground. And I didn’t have to listen to anyone screaming at me to mind my own business. But people.. really? The only reason I didn’t speak up was the fact that it wasn’t off the side of the mountain or too close, or too high.. but..kids.
We reached the top and went ahead and broke routine. I has been listening to a group coming up behind us and I wanted to see the view before it possibly became impossible. We arrived about the same time as a couple coming from the other direction. This really friendly and sweet lady offered and took several photos of me and Bella up top. I took several photos of the view, gave Bella some water and prepared to head down.
Bella easily remembering the route we always take.
I again didn’t hurry. We had the rest of the afternoon if need be. It was a really nice, leisurely stroll down. We stopped ever so often to take photos. Bella sometimes not as patient about it as others. Couldn’t possibly been all the squirrel up there moving about. I can tell which times as the photos are nowhere near as clear and in focus.
We began passing more people but still not all that many considering it was a Friday and late in the day. Everyone we passed with the exception of the young couple, were friendly. Everyone but the young couple speaking as they passed. Bella didn’t care, she was still in the finding all of the scents mode and leaving a few of her own “I’ve been here” markers.
Down at last we made our way toward the parking area. The friend I had spoken with earlier, was still there and we chatted for a few moments. Bella obviously now ready to leave I said my good byes and headed for the car. There, sitting just above the windshield wiper, as pretty as you please, was a rubber duck. Star, had been ducked. And this wasn’t any ordinary duck, this duck is a doctor. As soon as Bella was in the car and buckled in, I took a couple photos of the duck, then placed it on the dash along with the others. Then, we headed for home.
Here’s the thing, those hikes accomplish several things.
They provide exercise.
They provide peaceful moments in nature.
They offer quiet, solitary moments for the most part. Allowing for a calming of the mind.
They offer and bring about a healing of the soul.
The way things have been going, with the pandemic, with the news medias and others scaring everyone. With concerns over debts and keeping shelter and food. With so much going so wrong, those walks are so right. And it doesn’t have to be up a mountain. Find a green way. Find a park. Find a river or beach or lake. Find a place to heal.
I’m glad we went.