Shhh…It’s a Secret

We went camping this week, but I can’t tell you where. I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Usually I like to tell you where we’ve been, even provide links so that you can read about the places and maybe visit them yourselves. But, this time, if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you, and I’m a snuggler, not a killer.

Snuggling with the Earth.

The location of this latest camping adventure was discovered by G & S on a day outing back in July and they thought it was the perfect destination for our August rendezvous. And perfect it was. In fact, I think I saw tears pooling in Nollind’s eyes when we drove in, and I don’t think they were just tears of relief that we’d arrived safely with T driving. (She’s pretty new to this trailer hauling thing and I see his jaw tighten every now and then. He tries to hide it but we dogs have highly developed senses.)

Just two dogs hangin’ out in camp.

Anyway…this place. O. M. G. It’s in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, filled with spruce and aspen forest, has a beautiful river running through it, and quiet, oh so quiet. Heaven. And, since this describes many places on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, I think our secret is safe.

Did I mention yet that there were bones?

G & S and my buddy Ria arrived before us and picked, I kid you not, the best spot in the whole campground, right on the river, with a little dog beach for swimming and lots of trees for shade. Heaven. Wait, I think I said that already … but it bears repeating.

A walk in the woods.

There were twice daily walks on the quiet country road and along the south side of the river, turns around the campground in the morning and before bed, and as much swimming/wading as a dog wanted to do. Me, I’m more of a wade in when it’s hot kind of guy, Ria on the other hand is a very enthusiastic water gymnast. We were there two days and I’m not sure she was ever entirely dry.

Ria had far too much fun.

And therein lies the only down side of the outing … two days. It was only two days. (Sad dog-face emoji.)

And, after all that water fun.

You might be wondering why all the secrecy? Well, the camp attendant came around and chatted awhile, told us how you used to be able to get a spot in the campground any day, but now weekends were mostly full all season long. Turns out there was just too much of that telling two friends who tell two friends stuff going on. So, the six of us made a pact, then and there, that it would be our secret, special campground.

Apparently Nollind had fun too.

If any of you reading this blog has been to our secret campground and recognize it from the photos, maybe we’ll see you there sometime but, in the meanwhile … shhh….

Shhh…
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Bluegrass and the Beach

Twice when we travelled south in the winter, we attended a festival called “Bluegrass on the Beach” in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It’s a great event and, just like the name says, right on the beach of Lake Havasu. We dogs never attended the actual show (too much sun for Logan), but there were swimming opportunities multiple times a day and we could hear the music from the camping area.

Sunset time at Bluegrass on the Beach.

This past weekend, we attended the Blueberry Bluegrass Festival in Stony Plain, Alberta. We were there once before, in 2013, but I didn’t remember it that well. I’d forgotten that they’re pretty strict about dogs in the concert area (Havasu has a dog-friendly seating area off to one side) and … :o( … there’s nowhere to swim. The exhibition park has a storm pond but the signage says to not let dogs go swimming.

So, on the downside, I spent quite a lot of trailer time while T and Nollind were off listening to music, but, on the upside, I had the bed to myself all day!

I was happy to share my space when they dropped in for a visit.

Another downside was the ferocious thunderstorm that rolled through on Friday afternoon and scared the absolute bejeezus out of me. Logan would have turned completely inside out with terror if he’d been with us in the trailer—thunder, lightning, gale-force wind, and huge hailstones that made quite a racket hitting the roof of the trailer. It was pretty scary. But, we came out of it unscathed other than a dozen or so little dents on the truck.

Despite the lack of concert-going and swimming, I did get out and about quite a lot including a walk to Tim Horton’s for Saturday morning breakfast. I love Timbits! And I was happy to assist T and Nollind with whatever portion of their breakfast wraps they were willing to part with. The bonus on this particular excursion? Across the street from Tim Horton’s was a Pet Valu store. I do enjoy a good shop and sniff … with the occasional lick thrown in when nobody is looking.

I did get to go along to this jam tent that was outside the main concert area.

The festival wrapped up on Sunday night and the next morning we were on our way south. Home I assumed, but then we turned west before we reached Red Deer and set up camp at Gull Lake. It was hot as heck on Monday, so I questioned the sanity of my peeps as we set out for an afternoon walk. But hey, we were at a lake, how far could it be to the beach?

Gull Lake campsite.

Right. Turned out, the many trails leading from the main trail to the refreshing waters of Gull Lake had one of these heartbreaking signs posted in the middle of it.

We kept walking. I was melting. My tongue was nearly on the ground. And then, at long last, we reached … the boat launch. Oh, heavenly water! I’m usually an in-and-out kind of swimmer so T and Nollind laughed at me for just standing in the water but it felt s-o-o-o-o good. (By the way, Gull brings my 2019 lake count to twenty—Sylvan, Sturgeon, Williston, Charlie, Little, Saskatoon, Crimson, Twin, Chinook, Alces, Whiteswan, Premier, Cat’s Eye, Turtle, Canuck, Yankee, Columbia, Windermere, Two-Jack, and Gull!)

Cooling my heels, etc.

I spent the rest of Monday afternoon lounging under the trailer while T and Nollind sipped on iced tea and chatted about the bluegrass festival. A little storm chased us indoors early in the evening but we were back out for some campfire time before bed.

Best spot in camp.

Tuesday’s plan was more walking and another swim before we headed home but it was raining at Gull Lake, a lot, all morning and into the early afternoon, so we took a couple of short jaunts around the campground, watched some downloaded Netflix, and packed things up.

It wasn’t quite the experience of Bluegrass on the Beach with its daily swims and general dog friendliness, but there was bluegrass, we did find a beach, and time spent camping with my peeps is time well spent.

Lake Havasu swim with my buddy Logan.

On a side note, you may have noticed that I haven’t been a very dedicated blogger this summer, and I expect I’ll miss a few more Fur-idays before this busy season is over, but I will do my best to keep you up to date on my many adventures and I’ll get Storm back at the keyboard. Until then, some wise words for all you bipeds from C.J. Frick

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.”

Flashback Fur-iday – Shady, Secret Places

I realize it’s Saturday, not Fur-iday, and that I missed last Fur-iday altogether. I have no explanation beyond summer brain. You’ve heard of it, right? When the weather is warm, the evenings are long, and the mind just keeps sliding into vacation mode? All a guy wants to do is lie somewhere in a nice, shady spot with green leaves rustling overhead. Aaaahhhh….summer.

And the joy of summer and shady places has got me thinking about Logan, who had such a good final summer here on the farm, in his new yard that we dubbed Logie-land.

Surveying Logie-land from the shade of the apple tree.

To be honest, I thought the old guy had a slipped cog or two with his obsession for hiding in bushes and sleeping under trailers, some sort of canine paranoia that made him hide. “Why not just lie out in the open where someone might come by and pet you or drop food?” was always my question. Logan’s answer was …

For some of you sun lovers, that (30 degrees Celsius) may not sound terribly hot, but try wearing a black fur coat complete with leggings instead of shorts and flip flops. I guarantee you’ll have a different hot weather threshold.

March 2017 – Hot Times in the Desert 

Under the horse trailer in Kananaskis.
Under Sid the fifth wheel at Lake Mojave.

When the fence around the yard got built last spring, Logan was pretty disappointed that none of the trailers had been fenced in, so whenever he was outside the fenced area, he was under one. At least T always knew where to find him.

Inside the fence, he created a network of trails under the shrubs and through the tall grass, with little hidden, green nests all along his route.

I’m working on my twentieth (or is it twenty-first?) den, I have the full spectrum of sunny versus shady places to nap, there’s a resident prairie dog to keep in check, and so much to observe in my half-acre paradise.

July 2018 – Gone Camping 

One of Logan’s favourite dens in Logie-land.

If you’d have asked Logan, “Why so many dens?” His answer would have been …

I like that hidden away feeling, but I never want to be too far from the people and the action.

March 2017 – It’s Not Only Birds that Nest 

It was simple, he needed a den near each of the places his people hung out.

I turned ten in January and one of things I’m noticing is that I just don’t have much tolerance for heat. I used to love lying out in the sun. Still do on a cool day but, even then, it’s not long before I’m panting up a storm and seeking shade.

On our latest trip to BC it was pretty warm about half the days and I finally figured out that my old friend was onto something—namely shade and undisturbed rest. Here’s a tip for you youngsters out there—whether dog or human—listen to the old guys and gals, they may seem a little crazy or obsessive but they probably know something you don’t.

Learning from the old and wise.

From Logan I learned that under the trailer is the coolest place in a campsite—cool earth, shade at all times of day, and open to all sides so any breeze blows right through.

Napping under Simon at Premier Lake.

But, if you’re more inclined to filtered sun and some privacy, well, camping out in a shrub is pretty darn close to heaven.

Shrub time at Premier Lake.

Logan was a master at finding the shady, shrubby, resting places everywhere he went, even in places where shrubs are hard to come by.

Since I’m never sure how long we’re going to stay in any one location (and neither are my people) I got to work right away underneath the trailer of the Wolverine. It was shady and a good vantage point for keeping an eye on things. Unfortunately, it lacked the brushy cover that I prefer.

March 2017 – It’s Not Only Birds that Nest 

Shrub time in a Kananaskis horse camp.
Not a lot of leaf on this shrub at Vulture Peak but he made it work.

You won’t find Logan in any of the many shady spots in Logie-land this summer, but you can do what I plan to do … lie under a shrub or a tree listening to the sound of the breeze rustling through the green leaves and remember a very clever black and white dog who liked nothing better than a shady, secret place to nap.