If you follow what I write, you will know that I do a lot of solo things. I solo ride, solo hike, snowshoe, ski, and generally do many things by myself.
Now don't feel badly for me. It is fine. I like my adventures, it is something I just have to do. I've been doing this for over 20 years.
Charlie gave me the 'look' yesterday when I got dressed to go see what the 'flash freeze' and -18F temps did to our creek. The temperature was mild and the radical swing to 30F was well...welcoming.
Charlie was a bit tentative at first, but he is learning the difference between thin ice and thick ice.
Here he is walking on wet ice but obviously with a purpose in mind.
Charlie was 'in charge' of course, he is now a hiker dog that is familiar with the walks we take together. He surges ahead and is now even starting to hang around when I stop to take photos or look at something.
Treats keep him close.
That and the collar which was turned off.
Charlie stands and waits for me to get around this tangle of downed trees. I have to wonder what things he can sniff out. His nose is always busy.
Charlie eventually led a way down a trail next to a creek crossing that I am not fond of. I hollered to him to 'come' and then he just stared at me as if I were an idiot.
Oh heck, why not? I'd just be careful after all most everything is frozen and that slippery muddy spot should be fine, right?
Under the 8 inches of snow was slime mud. I was fine until I lost footing and kneeled to catch myself.
The snow covered a nice hard boulder. And my knee connected with it.
I sat in the snow and howled. Charlie stood across the creek and stared at me. He wasn't too concerned.
I cursed the 4 wheeler dudes who had mucked this crossing up...sat and sat...waiting to see if something would happen to the stars flashing before my eyes.
I tucked my head down and concentrated on breathing.
Slowly I stood up and looked around.
Did anybody see that?
He was not impressed.
I wiggled my leg and though it hurt I could move.
It didn't feel like it was bleeding but I was pretty sure that I was going to have a nice bruise of some kind.
"Charlie, that was not a good choice," I remarked and heaved my foot up and out of the muck and snow.
I picked my way carefully around the creek crossing and walked towards the 4 wheeler trail that I knew was pretty solid.
Tsk, tsk, I thought to myself. I can move, but it sort of hurts!
I paused. I was in the valley and trying to scrabble UP hill and across the fields were going to be tough and agonizing.
"Well Mr. Charlie, let's take the easiest trail home, right?"
Charlie trotted up and begged for a treat.
I gave him one.
And then I followed my little dog carefully and slowly enjoying the bird song and the beautiful shadows of the woods.
Despite the ache and bad footing, I went slowly and enjoyed the outing anyway.
Once a friend of mine had asked why I hiked solo and I quipped back, "Am I to wait for someone to go with all of the time? No, I go. I've really been very safe for many years."
"What if you get hurt?"
Indeed, what if?
But if I never go, I will never discover things and enjoy the bright white snow and shadows.
Or the pleasure of having my faithful tiny dog lead me home.