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….


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.”

The Accountant

T and I have been partners since I was just a youngster. She didn’t want to be the first to climb aboard, following a green-horse-equals-broken-back experience but, other than those first couple of weeks at the trainer’s, she’s been my main burden. (Burden. Funny, right? I do pack her around.)

Me and my favourite burden.

And we’ve gotten along famously … most of the time. The trick is, we horses do our best to communicate who we are and what we need but humans don’t always pick up what we’re laying down, if you know what I mean. You’re lovely beings but, sometimes, a little … well … lacking in sensitivity. But I say that with the utmost affection for the bipeds that feed me through the cold months of Canadian winter.

Ever so grateful.

Truthfully, I’ve been lucky. From the beginning, T made every effort to understand me and keep me happy in our work together. I’m not the bravest horse in the barn (although I prefer to think of it as possessing a highly-evolved sense of self-preservation) so sometimes T has had to be understanding and patient with what turns out to be my misinterpretation of a situation. Like the time two guys passed us on the trail on bikes. I’d seen many cyclists, but never with long, skinny appendages sticking out of their backs! OMG! Terrifying beyond belief! Oh … fishing poles you say? Well, shall we continue then?

A guy walking through the pasture with a tripod over his shoulder also looks pretty weird.

I’m just not big on surprises, or change, or new things. I like stuff to stay the same. I like routine, which I expressed to T many times during our rides when I would attempt to move onto the next exercise before she asked for it. She thought I needed more variety, to have things mixed up a little more, but it only frustrated me and had me offering five different moves at once.

Showing off one of my best moves … gate opening/closing.

And then she read a book (thanks, Michelle!) called “Is Your Horse a Rock Star?” It’s written in a humorous  fashion but has some great stuff about horse personalities in it, a bit like a Myers-Briggs for horses. T was pretty surprised to find out I was The Accountant, maybe because of my flair for drama, but an accountant is what I am.

A couple of key points: “Accountants like predictability. They want you to have a plan and stick to it.” I know, right? And, these two items from the list of don’ts really hit home: Don’t … “1) Change routine or 2) Surprise them”. I do not like a surprise, unless it looks like a carrot. But I guess that wouldn’t really be a surprise, unless it tastes like an apple, which would be okay too, but what if it tasted like chicken. Yuck. Anyway… I digress.

Looks like grass, tastes like grass. All good.

Where was I? Right. The Accountant. So, once T realized that she wasn’t ruining me by keeping too much routine in our training sessions, I was a happy lad, eager to do my job well and on schedule.

Like the Myers-Briggs, my personality type is defined by four letters, DLAF. The D is for dominant versus submissive. I’m number two in the herd and don’t let anybody forget it.

I even challenge the boss once in awhile.

The L is for lazy versus energetic. I take a bit of exception to this one but, it’s true, I don’t expend a lot of extra energy unless we’re dealing with the third letter in my code…

But I do have my energetic moments.

A is for afraid versus curious. I am quite curious also, often the first to notice and approach anything new in our environment, but I’m happy to let one of my herd mates do the get-close part. That’s just smart, right? If they don’t get eaten, I move in for a closer look.

Every now and then I let curiosity override fear.

The final letter is F for friendly versus aloof. I am most definitely heavy on the F side of that scale. What would be the point of aloofness?

Giving my girl a little nuzzle.

So, that’s me, the bean counter, the number cruncher, the pencil pusher, the Accountant. Just between you and me, I think T is the same, which is maybe why we get along so well.