Head for the Hills!

It was my first time in the Cypress Hills, Logan’s too, and I sure hope we go back again … and again. T and Nollind stayed in a cabin there when they were just married so they thought it would be a nice place to go to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. It didn’t hurt that it was snowing in the Rockies so heading east seemed like a good idea. We spent the first couple of days on our own and were joined by friends G & S and their tow behind “Piper” on Friday.

 

09-Chico-Cypress-Tims-1

On the road after a Tim’s stop for chili.

 

This is me on departure morning. I do love a road trip!

If you’ve never been to the Cypress Hills, or perhaps don’t know about them, they are remnants of the erosion of a Tertiary plateau of sediment formed during the initial uplift of the Rocky Mountains. (Surprised you with that one, didn’t I? Okay … I copied it from Wikipedia.) In other words, they’re these really cool hills in the southeast corner of Alberta and the southwest corner of Saskatchewan that rise up out of the big, flat prairie to a height of 1,466 metres or 4,810 feet.

09-Chico-Cypress-Camp-1

Camp from the Old Baldy trail.

Because the hills get more rain and snow than the surrounding prairie, they’re covered in forest and grassland, sharing vegetation with the mountains of Montana and Wyoming more so than with Canada. The altitude is similar to Banff so some of the animals you find in the mountains live here – cougars in particular. Cats are kinda scary when they’re ten pounds. Not sure I need to see the 30-100 kg variety. Yikes.

We camped at Old Baldy Campground, named so because it sits right at the base of a big, bare hill called Old Baldy. We hiked up to the top on Saturday morning and from up there we could see our campsite down below and Elkwater Lake on the other side. Although, my view was somewhat limited by the aforementioned grassland.

09-Chico-Cypress-DogsView-1

A dog’s eye view.

From on top of Old Baldy (makes me want to sing) we took a path down to the lake and took the boardwalk through the marshes along the lakeshore. It was too chilly for swimming so I stayed on top rather than under the boardwalk (are you singing yet?)

 

09-Chico-Cypress-Boardwalk-1

Along Elkwater Lake with G and S.

 

Logan wasn’t able to come with us on the Old Baldy hike. It was just too much of a climb for him, and too far, so he quite unhappily stayed back in the trailer. He came along on Sunday morning’s hike up at Horseshoe Canyon where the trail was flatter, but he still needed a rest part way. As you can see, I didn’t really mind.

09-Chico-Cypress-RestStop-1

Rest stop along the Horseshoe Canyon trail.

We didn’t have the warmest camping weather but we had Little Red and I had my Mexican blanket. Suits me, don’t you think? The humans were in toques, gloves and quite likely long underwear, but they braved the elements on Saturday evening to dine outdoors and spend time around the fire.

09-Chico-Cypress-CampfirewithG-1

Campfire time.

Sunday dawned much sunnier and warmer but, after our trip up to Horseshoe Canyon, it was time to hit the road home. I would have been content to stay another day, or week, but the peeps had to get home and back to work. Speaking of, you won’t be hearing from us next Fur-iday. T and Nollind will be up at the Fall Classic Sale and we dogs will be hanging out in Calgary with G & S.

 

09-Chico-Cypress-MeandSpring-1

Looking forward to a lot of this next weekend!

 

See you on Fur-iday the 13th!

Advertisements

Hear No Evil

As a member of one of the more sensitive dog breeds (and smart but that’s for another blog post), I’ve always been a bit more, shall we say, aware, of strange, loud, or otherwise bothersome sounds. Things that beep, for instance, which includes many household objects: the stove when it comes back on after a power outage, the battery backups on the computer equipment, the dreaded smoke detector.

 

08 Logan-HearNoEvil-closet-1

I’ve spent my fair share of time hiding in closets.

 

And then there are cell phones. Why can’t they just ring like the phones of my puppyhood? There are umpteen different rings, chirps, beeps, and chimes, most of which are alarming to my ears.

Movies and television shows are chock full of disturbing noises—explosions, gun shots, roaring engines, booming music, to name just a few. What is the human obsession with all things noisy?

 

08 Logan-HearNoEvil-scaredlogie-1

What’s that noise?!

 

If it were safe outdoors, I’d just spend my time there, but then Nollind starts up the compressor or, horrors, a nail gun, a thunderstorm rolls in, or some duck hunter is firing off rounds. And then there’s fireworks. Seriously, whoever invented that crap must have been a real dog hater. Scares the bejesus out of most of us canines.

 

08 Logan-HearNoEvil-storm2-1

One of our hair-raising summer thunderstorms rolling in.

 

In 2012 we were on our first RV trip over the Christmas holidays and Teresa and Nollind took us walking on a beach at Oceanside on New Year’s Eve. We went early, so that we’d be tucked in safe and sound at midnight when the fireworks started. At least that was the plan. At 8:00, the sky exploded just up the beach and if I hadn’t been attached to my people with a sturdy leash, it’s possible I’d still be running along the coast of California.

 

08 Logan-HearNoEvil-beach-1

The beach was great during the day.

 

And it’s not just me. A lot of dogs are sensitive to noise. My buddy Aspen, who lived with Teresa and Nollind when I first came, used to run blind as soon as she heard a gunshot, even if it was so far off it was imperceptible to anyone but her. In fact, it was what did her in in the end. She ran right into a tractor in one of her panicked states and damaged herself beyond repair. Poor silly, sweet girl.

 

08 Logan-HearNoEvil-aspen-1

Aspen.

 

Other than that night on the beach, I’ve never been panicked by noise quite like Aspen, but lately, it’s like I hardly notice noises at all. An abrupt bang or a loud sneeze will launch me out of a nap but, generally, the world has become a lot quieter. Teresa and Nollind think I’m going deaf in my old age, but I don’t know about that. I still hear the important stuff, like the fridge door, a cheese wrapper, or someone driving into the yard. Maybe hearing just becomes more selective as we age, so I’ve opted out of thunderstorms and gunshots and the like.

 

08 Logan-HearNoEvil-sleeping-1

An undisturbed sleep.

 

Whether it’s loss of hearing or just being more selective, lately the world is a quieter, friendlier place for a sensitive dog, and that’s a good thing.

 

08 Logan-HearNoEvil-piggie-1

This photo’s not really on topic, but it does feature ears, and we just had to post it somewhere.

 

Camping with Humans

It seems an odd thing humans do. They leave behind a perfectly good house with food and beds and a fully functioning bathroom to go and stay in a much smaller, less comfortable accommodation with more limited amenities. They call it camping.

05-logan-camping-mtns2-1

Just a short stroll from our campsite, where Boulton Creek meets Lower Kananaskis Lake.

 

When travelling you have to stay somewhere so I get it when we spend weeks far from home and stay in Sid, the trailer.  But when we “camp”, we’re only two hours from home. We could enjoy a day in the mountains and still sleep in our own beds. However, last weekend, there we were, camping.

05-logan-camping-tabletop-1

Inspecting the roof of “Piper“, G & S’s new home away from home (or maybe just standing on a picnic table and drinking?)

 

Did I enjoy it? Well, sure, after I got through the unfortunate incident on the way out. I’m not usually a car-sick kind of guy but the combination of happy traveller drugs, Orijen kibble, and a bite of Teresa’s muffin just did not want to stay down. I tried to warn them, but it seems my “I’m going to vomit” retching sounds a lot like my “I have a heart murmur” retching.

But anyway, aside from camping not entirely making sense, what’s not to like about being outdoors all day and going for walks in new places. These are things I can wrap my canine head around. And, due to my senior status, my inclination to behave (in human terms), and an abhorrence for being tied, I was left free in the campsite whenever I was outdoors. Chico, on the other hand, with his inclination to run out to meet anyone and everyone walking by, chase squirrels, and indulge in other such shenanigans, was always attached to the picnic table with a cable. Maybe one day, I told him, trying not to sound too smug.

05-logan-camping-chair-1

Chico was freed from the cable when he stayed in his chair.

 

We camped at a place called Lower Lake Campground in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park which is part of Kananaskis Country in the Rocky Mountains. Here I discovered the marvels of a pine forest and the enormous dog bed it creates. The prairie grass is nice but doesn’t have the pillow-top mattress feel of a forest floor with its many layers of detritus. Heaven. I used my manmade bed under the trailer at first but, once I discovered the giant mountain-made dog bed all around me, there was no going back. If only I could have brought some of it home to line my nests.

05-logan-camping-sleeping-1

Enjoying my pillow-top mattress.

 

So what does weekend camping entail? Well, when camping with friends G and S, a lot of human laughter, particularly when wearing Viking attire. Viking attire, you’re probably asking? And rightly so. It had something to do with a Monty Python skit and a Spam appetizer (spametizer) cooking contest. Humans entertain themselves in the strangest fashions. They were particularly tickled by Chico’s costume. (He … not so much.) On the plus side, despite Spam being the butt of many jokes and lending its name to unwanted email, we dogs found it quite tasty and were treated to leftovers for breakfast on Saturday morning.

05-logan-camping-vikingchico-1

Chico in his Viking attire (me exiting right, heading under the trailer to hide).

 

Other camping activities included campfire sitting or, in my case, lying nearby in the trees, and walking, my personal favourite. On Saturday we walked to the Boulton Creek Trading Post and had ice cream. Lucky for me, ours came packed solidly into the bottom of a cup so Chico wasn’t able to pull the Hoover trick he can manage with a Dairy Queen cone.

On Sunday we took a longer walk, to a neighbouring campsite called Mount Sarrail. The best parts of this trail were the snowbanks spaced at convenient time-to-cool-off intervals and an area where the resident grizzly bears had been rooting along the trail. I’d never smelled bears before. There was no sign of the bears on Sunday, but G and S had spotted them by the lake early on Saturday morning.

05-logan-camping-gands-1

Heading back to camp on Saturday afternoon.

For us, it was a short Sid trip, maybe the shortest yet. I would have been quite happy to stay a few more days, lying in the shade of the pines, breathing in that cool, mountain air. And I think the humans would have been on board with that idea had they not needed to get back to their jobs and such. On parting, at the sani-dump station on Sunday afternoon, I heard the comment, “The season’s young. We’ll do it again.” I guess I’m a camping convert because, I sure hope so.

05-logan-camping-sunset-1

End of the day in Kananaskis Country.