You know who doesn’t complain when he’s out hiking with me? Who doesn’t groan that he’s tired or his stomach hurts? Who doesn’t drag his feet? Who doesn’t ask me how much further it is or insist on a break or pointedly swat at the deer flies?
The dog, that’s who.
Marley is always delighted to go for a hike. He bounds up the trail, so pleased that—yet again—we’re spending the morning doing the same thing we did yesterday and the day before. Just tickled pink that the woods are still there today.
Sure, sometimes he runs off after a deer or a small bear. And he’s been known to take a wrong turn or go too far ahead. But he comes racing back eventually, tags a-jingle and tail… you get the idea. Or he’ll stop in the path, ears raised, and look back until the clumsy human with her two legs catches up, and then canter on again.
True, he runs right through streams—panting—and I have to call him back to point out the water. But that’s only because he’s so busy leaping and sniffing that he forgets to drink.
Marley doesn’t talk while he hikes. He doesn’t spend 45 minutes deconstructing Episode III of Star Wars or recount every single play in a recent D&D game or devote the entire descent of a mountain to verbalizing a fantasy war with his friend during which they battle for control of the world. He just hikes. Near me. Without speaking to me.
He’s even learning not to poop on the trail. Because trail etiquette like that is important.
So, I took the dog on a hike today because, well, because that’s what we do. And we’re going to skip over the part where he chased a bleating baby deer and ignored me when I called him off and I failed to think clearly enough to grab for the deer instead of the dog and then he ran off into the woods and then the bleating stopped and the dog disappeared for fifteen minutes during which I can only assume he was consuming said baby deer while I called for him.
Deer are overpopulated anyway.
We got up to the spot I’d hoped to make and still had a bit of time, so I turned right and followed the sign for Clara Bow. This trail was a bit more challenging—narrow, next to a precipice, and so forth. We were doing all right until I got to this.
You see that blue arrow? That’s the blaze. It points to the next part of the trail. Which is this.
See that blue blaze down there? I’m supposed to hike down there to get to it. Now, granted, someone left a wooden ladder off to the side, so I could use that, if I were up for leaning across a chasm to grab a ladder, trying to balance it from the top, and then climbing down without anyone spotting me.
Or, I could turn around, go back up the narrow trail next to the precipice, turn left where I had turned right, and be rewarded with this just a few hundred yards on.
The dog liked it, too, although he was burping a bit. See above re: baby deer.