Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Wednesday Walk

On Wednesday afternoons in my soon-to-be new hometown, a group of dog-loving people gather at the Lito bistro, order their lattes or granola bars or reserve their take-home meals, and head off to that week's chosen hiking spot.

I first met some of this group, and joined them on a hike, two years ago when I was over there to adopt my precious Caleb. Last Wednesday, when I was in Crofton to organize some renos, I was once again invited on the hike. The week's destination was the same place I had hiked with Caleb and Charley - a beautiful estuary of rivers and creeks and meadows and mountain views, ending at the point where the rivers flow into the bay. The place is referred to as Swallowfield, a very appropriate name as swallows dive and soar among the craggy trees and rocks in the fields.

There were six humans and sixteen dogs this week - and I was not the only one who left some dogs at home! I took Charley and Sadie, but left the two shelties at the house with Bjorn, who is building my new fence and painting the place for me.

We parked the vehicles and leashed up the dogs. Once safely away from private residences, we let the dogs off leash. Thank heavens for well socialized dogs - not a single altercation the whole afternoon! The weather was near perfect - not too hot, not too cold, a bit of sun, a bit of breeze.

The flowers and blossoms are slowly awakening from their winter's rest:

Turkey vulture!

Sapsucker holes, all in a row

After a while, we reached the river where Caleb had once enjoyed swimming, retrieving his stick over and over again.

Hugo, Caleb, and Drew, May 2007.

Photo courtesy of Else G.

But before I reached the water, I heard someone shout. I couldn't catch what was being said, but soon found out - Sadie had fallen in! Not just fallen in, but fallen in where the bank is undermined and dogs can't get themselves out. And she was right under the water!

Sadie: I nearly DWOWNED!!!!!

Charley: You did NOT, you big wuss! It's the exact same spot I fell in two years ago, and it wasn't THAT bad, 'cept for the WET part.

Sadie: Well, you shuda warned me! All the uver dogs knew ya don't go in the water there! Seems like it must be an initiation rite - don't tell the new guy, let 'em dwown!!!!

Charley: You didn't dwown. That nice man, Bob, reached down and hauled you out.

Sadie: Well, I was VEWY, VEWY wet!!

Soggy Sadie

Cocky Charley

Yes, Sadie fell in at the exact same spot Charley had fallen in two years ago. They came to the end of the path, saw water, reached over for a drink, and - kersplash! But, as Sadie says, the other dogs don't try to drink there - they know you have to drink further to the left. I agree with Sadie - it's an initiation rite. Now she is officially one of the Wednesday Walking Gang.

After some play time at the river, we headed off across the meadows to the mouth, where smaller channels, low banks, gravel beaches, and driftwood logs provided lots of recreation for the dogs, whether they liked to swim or explore, or climb, or just sit in the shade or the sun.

Sadie, Charley and I made many new friends, both human and canine. And we took lots of pictures of our canine friends, who we'll introduce in another entry. Stay tuned!


dp said...

Is that white thing an afghan hound? Very pretty.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Oh, Sadie, I am so-o-o-o thankful you were okay! Bob sounds like a very handy guy to take on walks with you. I bet he will always hold a special place in your heart.

And, that Charlie. He could have been a bit more sympathetic. Don't you think?

Apart from that oh-so-scary episode, it sure looks like you are going to have a lot of fun in your new life on the island!

And, tell your mom I found those sapsucker holes really interesting.

And, was that really a turkey vulture. I've never seen one.

Jean said...

dp, I'm not absolutely sure but I think so. Her name is Pearl and she is drop-dead gorgeous! I took a series of photos of her, which I'll post tomorrow. She's not just beautiful, she has a lovely disposition too.

Jean said...

Carol, apparently the turkey vultures are not an uncommon site there - perhaps attracted by dead fish after the salmon spawn?
My camera doesn't do it justice, but we watched two of them circling around, and could see their "jowls" or whatever that loose flabby part of the turkey vulture is called! Quite the sight!

Jean said...

Just checked out "turkey vulture" and now my memory is refreshed - we were able to identify it by its red head!! But I swear it also had flabby things hanging down (maybe that was whatever carcass it had just plundered!).

ruth said...

Thanks for sharing your new home to be with us!
I believe the white gorgeousness is a Borzoi, a Russian Greyhound used to hunt wolves and bears - no kidding that royal creature was originally bred to do quite the work! We had one growing up and they are the gentlest and most loving goofballs in my experience!
I'm very glad Sadie made it out of the water okay - now it's just a good story to share ;)

Jean said...

Yes! Borzoi! - Thanks Ruth, I had a funny feeling I wasn't right about Afghan but I couldn't for the life of me think of what other breed it could be. As soon as I read your comment, I remembered that's what Pearl is.

Anonymous said...

Sadie, Sadie,Sadie. Yes you got the imation dump.LOL Almost all of the dogs have gone in there at one time or another. They now know to swim a few feet left to the rock incline and get out.
Bob is a very handy man to have around. He is always will to jump to the rescue.


Anonymous said...

Ok, I am now officially and fully jealous! Your Wednesday walking group looks like so much fun, and what a beautiful place! You are so lucky!!!

Please tell Charley that the Borzoi is her distant cousin -- it was one of the breeds that contributed to developing the modern rough collie (thanks to Queen Victoria); that's where the rough collie's long snout comes from! I'm sure Charley will be impressed with that tidbit of information. ;-)

Can't wait to see more photos!
Deb S.