Mutt on the Move

Last Fur-iday, I was going to write about my camping adventure in the Columbia Valley, but then, there we were, on the road again. I am one mobile mutt! If I were a suitcase, I’d be covered in stickers!

Always going somewhere these days.

So now I have two trips to cover in one blog, but I’ll try to be concise.

First up, our trip to the Columbia Valley with the new trailer, Simon. Simon, you might be wondering? Yes, Simon, short for Simple Simon, who is almost half the length of Sid, three feet lower, and has zero slides to Sid’s three. Simple. And able to fit pretty much anywhere we might want to go. Small sites and overhanging branches will no longer keep us out! But, not to worry, Sid is still parked in the yard, awaiting our next desert snowbird adventure.

Simon at Redstreak (me on the right).

So anyway, after picking up Simon from the used RV lot, we were off to Redstreak Campground in Kootenay National Park. What a place! I could happily live there. Paths running every direction, deer at every turn, and great nearby places to explore. Dog, and human, heaven. And it was warm and dry in contrast to the wet, cold weather on our side of the Rockies.

One of the many resident Kootenay Park critters.

To make things even better, on day two, G and S arrived with their dog, my buddy, Ria. I’m a little old for Ria’s level of energy, but she and I have some great “follow our noses” adventures and both enjoy a good lounge around camp.

Camp time version 1.
Camp time version 2.

We stayed four days at Redstreak, reluctantly heading home on Tuesday around noon. Sigh… But we did get in one last picnic along the Kootenay River (see banner image). On Friday morning, just as I was settling in to write about our camping adventure, T starts packing a suitcase. Oh oh, I thought, she’s flying away on me. But nope, the suitcase went in the trunk of the car right next to my bed, my food, a book bag, and a guitar. Road trip for two!

On the road with T.

We spent two days getting here to Charlie Lake in the North Peace area of British Columbia, with walk stops at Sylvan and Sturgeon Lakes and an overnight at a dog-friendly hotel in Whitecourt along the way. It’s different travelling without a trailer but hotel time is kind of fun. The front desk staff like to pass out biscuits, some of the guests enjoy giving me a cuddle, and there was room for my mat right up there with T on the king-sized bed.

Trying out the swing in the hotel courtyard.

Lake time has been very relaxing, as it should be. The weather was terrific for the first four days and I do love to sunbathe with the sound of water lapping on the shore.

Deck time at Charlie Lake.

I was also included in a mom-and-sisters road trip to Williston Lake for driftwood collecting and Hudson’s Hope for a picnic lunch. The past couple of days, it’s been breezy, cool, and a little damp but it hasn’t stopped us from our daily walks at one of Charlie Lake‘s two provincial parks.

The big beach at Williston Lake.

Sylvan, Sturgeon, Williston, and Charlie — the four-lake tour! Then again, maybe I can get T to stop at a couple of new ones on the trip home. I’ll check the map.

A dip in Charlie Lake.
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Flashback Fur-iday – A Dog and His Boy

It’s a special day in our house today, so I thought I’d do something a little special for the blog. It’s Nollind’s birthday. Can you believe he’s almost 400 years old in dog years? I know. Me neither. He looks pretty good though, don’t you think? For an old guy, I mean.

Me and the birthday boy.

Anyway, in celebration of Nollind’s 371st dog-year birthday, and because it’s a First Fur-iday when it’s time to bring Logan back to the blog, I decided to share some stories, about Nollind and Logan. These are third paw but I will do my best.

Sure looks like a dog person …

For starters, Nollind wasn’t really a dog person when he met T. His family had a cat when he was growing up but never a dog. T told me he used to run for the soap and water every time he’d pet one of us back in the old days. A little hurtful, but kinda funny.

Never one to take on a new thing half way.

When T and Nollind moved to the acreage and T wanted a dog, Aspen came into their lives. She was like the trail blazer for those of us to follow, breaking Nollind in to the idea of living with dogs. Hard to believe but, at first, he wasn’t crazy about the idea of dogs in the house. T sorted that pretty quickly but then it was, okay, dogs in the porch, but no farther. Then it was dogs on the lino but not on the hardwood, which is about one third of our house. Dog-kind was making inroads.

Funny thing was, Aspen preferred to be outdoors!

It wasn’t long before Aspen was sleeping at the foot of T and Nollind’s bed at night (which was on the hardwood) but that was where he drew the line. Definitely no dogs on the furniture!

Then … Logan came along.

In the early days … right beside Nollind’s desk.

Ironically, when Logan first arrived, he’d probably not been in a house before and was afraid to come past the porch. But that was just for the first few days. Once he was in and comfortable, he started scouting around for the best place to sleep. Turned out it was the couch.

Couch time.

Nollind weakly attempted one last stand … “Okay, the couch but definitely not the bed!” I’ll let the photo tell you how that turned out.

I’m not supposed to what?

It isn’t that Nollind is a push-over, far from it. He just discovered that he is a dog person after all, and more particularly a Logan person. That black and white dog had him wrapped around his little toe (example in video that follows). And, in turn, Nollind was Logan’s person. Logan had a long list of people he liked, but Nollind was at the top of the page.

Logan’s appetite wasn’t the best in his old age. This was Nollind’s solution.

We’ve all missed him these past seven months but I think Nollind feels Logan’s absence in a different way than the rest of us. Logan was like his Yoda of the dog world, his teacher of dog ways, and his first puppy love.

So, Nollind, since I have already given you the greatest gifts a dog can give, my unconditional love and an entertaining personality, I’ll just say … Happy 371st Birthday!!

And, from Logan, for your birthday this year, the only thing he has left to give … sweet memories.

Corn maze in central Alberta.
On the Trail in Kananaskis Country.
Sharing snacks along the Colorado River.
Break on the trail near Lake Mojave, Nevada.
White Sand Dunes, New Mexico.
Campfire time at Quartzsite, Arizona.
Imperial Dunes, California.
Huntington Beach, California.
Autumn walk in Boise, Idaho.

It Was a Humdinger!

Spring storms are a pretty standard event in Alberta and this one did not disappoint. At least there was plenty of warning. All of the weather forecasters were in agreement that something was coming and then Environment Canada made it official, issuing winter storm warnings and, in our area, a blizzard warning.

It started snowing early in the day, lightly with a steady breeze from the north. As the day progressed, the wind picked up, the snow got heavier, and by early evening it was a full-on, raging, no-holds-barred, batten-down-the-hatches, run-for-cover spring storm. And when T and Nollind opened up the barn and whistled, that’s exactly what we did … run for cover.

Nevada was first in when the call came, turning his head away from the wind and running for the gate. He used to be the last one to look for those creature comforts, now he’s first in line. I guess that’s age doing the talking.

First in the barn, last in his stall. I think he wanted the aisle.

I’m not really a big fan of being indoors. It helps when the whole herd is in there with me, but I’m just an outdoorsy kind of guy. I like to be able to move around as I please and roll if I feel the need and a ten-by-ten box stall just doesn’t provide that kind of freedom. It beats the tie stall I endure when we spend time camping in Kananaskis Country, but it’s still a box.

Being indoors is far more tolerable with a good neighbour.

However, when I can hear the wind howling past the walls and the snow billows in whenever the door gets opened, and I’m down to only a small percentage of my previously heavy winter coat, I suck it up and appreciate the shelter.

I’m not sure just when the snow stopped, but the wind eased through the night. The storm had passed. Now we just had to wait patiently for the humans to come and let us out. It wasn’t easy to be patient. I wanted to roll so badly I could hardly stand it. Nevada kept telling me to relax and enjoy the warm barn, but the dust from the shavings and hay felt like it was crawling around on my skin.

Good ponies were we.

Finally, the door slid open and the cold morning air blew in bringing T and Nollind with it. After a few good-horsies-for-not-getting-yourselves-into-trouble-overnight, hand-fed snacks, we were out the door and frolicking in the fresh snow.

Post-storm frolic.
More frolicking.

I have the stall #1 so was first out and didn’t get very far before I dropped into the fresh snow … for the first time. I lost count of how many times I lay down and rolled after a half dozen. It. Felt. So. Good.

Aaaaaahhhhhh…..
The post-roll shake is almost as good as the roll.

Our world that was turning to delicious green has been transformed to bright white, but it won’t last long. The spring snow never does. Patches of earth are already starting to show through. Until then, the hay nets are filled, the sun is shining, and I’m in the great and glorious outdoors!