Best. Day. Ever.

I know it’s not the first time you’ve heard me say so, but last Fur-iday was truly the best day ever! While Logan was home enjoying Logie-Land, I got to go along on an awesome road trip.

As Logan mentioned in his post last week, it was T’s birthday and, luckily for me, she chose to celebrate in a way that included a dog. I like to think I was part of the reason for her choice.

The day started off with a short Logan walk and swim at the canal. In hindsight, I think it was a guilt walk. Logan wasn’t coming along for the rest of the day.

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The “guilt walk”.

When we got back to the house and everyone was rushing around putting things in bags and packing a cooler, I assumed I’d had my walk and would be spending the day at home. Sigh… But, just as I was about to settle in for a long nap, I saw some of my things being added to one of the bags. Could it be so? When my food and bowl went in another bag I knew it was going to be a good day. One, I was going along and, two, we wouldn’t be back for dinner.

The first stop was the T.Pot, one of T and Nollind’s favourite restaurants on the north side of the city. Now I didn’t get to go in for dim sum, but I did get a Timbit from the Tim Horton’s stop right after. I do love Timbits. From there we headed west toward the mountains. I’d never gone to the Rockies without horses or Sid in tow so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was I in for a treat!

Stop two was the Kananaskis Visitor Centre to find out what the trails were like. I had a chance to get out and stretch my legs and check out the “what to do in the event of a cougar encounter” sign. Don’t run?! Who are they kidding? If that image was life-sized, that is one cat I do not want to tangle with. I’d even take the stinky, black and white devil from a few weeks ago over a cougar.06-bestdayever-cougar

Map in hand and some recommendations from the staff at the Visitor Centre, it was a short drive to the Stoney parking lot and trailhead. My first mountain day hike! Despite the scary cougar signs, I was excited and set out at the front of the group. It was a pretty easy walk with nice footing and trees for shade.

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Setting out on the trail.

Soon after we turned off the main trail I could hear a roar that grew louder and louder as we walked. The sound reminded me of the weir along the canal but times fifty. We reached a creek that tumbled over rocks on its way out of the mountains but I knew right away the friendly stream where I had a dip and a drink couldn’t be the source of the noise.

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Cooling off.

Just a little farther along the trail we reached Troll Falls. Wow. So much water pouring over the cliff and crashing into the pool below. I was happy I’d done my swimming where the stream was less violent. There was no way I was going into the pool at the base of the waterfall. Even the air was filled with water.

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Me and my girls at Troll Falls.

Some oohing and aahing and a few photos later, we were on our way back via a different, and slightly longer route. The afternoon was getting hot but, since I’d had a swim, I was fine. The peeps really should have come in with me and I’m sure they realized their mistake about halfway up the big climb on the return trip. Maybe next time they’ll follow my lead.

Next stop was Kananaskis Village for one of my most favoritest things … ice cream! And, although I didn’t get my own, I did get to sample three different flavours and eat all of Susan’s cone.

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Score! Susan doesn’t like the cone part.

After ice cream came a walk to the spot where T and Nollind got married many years ago. I wasn’t at the wedding, of course, wasn’t even a glint in my daddy’s eye that long ago, but I could feel what a special place it was. I sure wish I’d been there on that day. Do you think they’d do it again for me? I could be the ring bearer. Or would I be a ring dogger? If I can convince them to get married again, you’re all invited.

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The wedding spot in the Kananaskis Valley

Back in the car, retracing the route we’d taken, I figured we were headed home. It had been a good day. But wait … I still had dinner in the trunk of the car. They wouldn’t have packed it if we were going to be home by dinner. Sure enough, before we reached the main highway, we turned off on a gravel road, and twenty minutes later pulled into the campground at Sibbald Lake. I was confused. We hadn’t brought Sid. Where was everyone going to sleep? I had a great spot stretched out on the back seat with Susan for a pillow, but what about the rest of them?

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Travelling in style … and comfort.

Turned out it was a dinner stop, and was I ever surprised and delighted to find our good friends G and S set up in the B-loop. Friends, food, fire, more food … it was the perfect wrap-up to a perfect birthday. And I think T enjoyed it too.

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Wrapping up a great day.

 

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Please Fence Me In

I never thought a freedom lover like me would be happy to be fenced in but, turns out, at this stage of my life, it’s a good thing. I’ve mentioned in other posts how old age has me wanting to be outside all the time. Problem is, where we live, outside is a very big place and not without hazards. Until recently, nobody was too concerned about me wandering off on my own a little. I was independent and capable. But now I don’t hear so well, I can’t run very fast, and I’m certainly not up to fighting a coyote or badger or other such wild creature I might run across.

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First day in the new dog yard.

 

Truth be told, I’m not really inclined to wander much these days and am quite happy to just hang in the yard so they really don’t need to worry about me. Problem is, thirteen years of sneaking off at the first opportunity has created a certain amount of distrust in my people. I get it. I probably wouldn’t trust me either if I said, “Hey, don’t worry, I’ll stay right here where I’m safe.” Uh huh.

In my youth, I could run for miles, and did, every chance I got. Now it doesn’t take a lot of space to keep me happy. A few good den locations, a bit of green grass to chew on and lie in, a shady spot, and I’m content. Oh, and a house. I do like my dog house.

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Daytime deck and nighttime house.

 

So this year, in my fourteenth turn around the sun, Teresa and Nollind built me a yard. I like to think of it as my retirement home. It means I don’t have to stay in the house when I don’t want to and I’m let alone to do as I please when I’m outdoors. The best part? I get to sleep outside under the stars at night (although I usually prefer my doghouse).

And, yes, it’s also safe, and although the safety part is mostly for the comfort of my people, I’m probably just as happy to not tangle with a coyote, or a Ford pickup. I actually had a close call with a skunk a couple of nights ago. It was outside my fenced area but close enough I needed a deodorizing bath.

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One of my under-shrub dens.

 

So how big is “Logie-land”? Well, they used about five hundred feet of fence wire to go around it so probably about a third of an acre or so. Not a big piece in terms of the whole property but big enough for this old dog, and so much bigger than the little temporary corral they put together for me last fall when I was needing trips outside in the middle of the night. This new area wraps the whole house which means I can come and go via either door and hang out on both decks. There are treed areas to explore, good places to hide bones from Chico, and I just generally feel like I have a domain to patrol and protect.

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The bone I managed to bury well enough to keep from Chico for three days.

 

When I first joined the van Bryce household, I could escape from a 6-foot-high chain-link dog run, until they put a top on it. My new fence is just four feet high and I can’t even imagine going out over the top. But, other than yet another reminder that I’m not as young as I used to be, I’m okay to stay on my side of the fence, soak up the sun, sleep in the shade, and enjoy my retirement.

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A shady, grassy bit of heaven.

 

 

 

 

Da Boys at Da Beach

That’s us, “da boys”, or so we’re called by some very dear friends. And we’re here at “da beach”, that’s the beach at Lake Havasu. We moved Sunday from our boondocking spot in Craggy Wash just north of Lake Havasu City and came here to the state park, which is pretty much right in town and on the lake.

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Our camp at water’s edge.

We were here last year at this same time for Bluegrass on the Beach. This year, Teresa and Nollind are volunteers, so we were able to set up camp on Sunday, and got a spot right here on the water. It’s a nice change from the desert, water life instead of desert life. Boats instead of ATVs. Kayakers as opposed to cyclists.

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Even the dogs get out on the water.

It’s also a very different kind of camping from what we’re used to. Craggy Wash was already closer quarters than Quartzsite or Wickenburg, but now that things have filled in here at the state park, we are shoulder to shoulder. Sunday we almost had the place to ourselves, Monday the ticket holders started rolling in and today, it is getting very cozy.

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Sunday

But I don’t mind. It gives me plenty to watch when I’m lying outside … or not. Something about the sound of the water keeps lulling me to sleep, that gentle lap of waves on the shore, the put-put of a boat going by in the no-wake zone of the canal, the faint sound of someone playing a banjo in a campsite somewhere. Well, faint until about half an hour ago when the main stage started up.

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Imagine the sound of waves lapping at the shore.

It’s okay though, I like music, and even though I’m more of a classical kind of guy, this old-timey, acoustic, foot-stompin’ stuff is alright … for a few days once or twice a year. Teresa and Nollind play too, but not all day, and without the barrage of instrumentation. Just guitar and bass. But, even when they play, I tend to go up in the bedroom. They try not to take it personally but I have been accused of being a critic.

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Maybe a good spot for some quiet?

 

What’s really great about being here at the beach is the beach. There’s a bunch of it that’s off limits to dogs and other pets, but Teresa has scoped out all of the dog-friendly spots and we visit one of them at least once/day. We can get in the water right from camp but it drops off quite steeply and I’m not the swimmer or bank climber I used to be. The flat of the beach suits me just fine. And there’s just something about getting my feet wet and drinking from a fresh body of water that is soothing to my old canine soul.

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The beach near the boat launch.

Chico’s been out and about quite a lot more than I have, exploring some of the beaches that are too far for me. And yesterday he got a walk into town and some time on a patio that he wouldn’t shut up about the rest of the day. I know he doesn’t do it to gloat, he was just excited. There was food involved after all. Anyway, I won’t steal his thunder. I’ll leave him to tell you his fish and chips story.

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The beach along the canal.

Teresa and Nollind have headed off to the music area for the start of the festival … oh, and there it is, that distinctive sound of bluegrass. I don’t expect to see a lot of them these next few days but, as long as they leave the back windows open so I can hear the water on the shore, I’m a happy napper … or, I mean, camper.