Monday, 6 July 2009

Evening Walks

I know that I've not been discussing 'All Things Sled Dog' lately. Please forgive me, there just isn't that much happening on 'the sled dog front' - but of course soon there will be.

In the meantime I'm enjoying my 'down time'. One of my favorite parts of my day is my evening walks. As I've mentioned before, it is not just me on these walks. In fact, I'm sure some caribou migrations involve smaller numbers. Joining me are Kara, Bet, Cricket, Tic, Bait and even Mark when he is on days off. Rather then a pack moving down the road though, we are strung out like a parade.
Bet leads the way, darting and dashing back and forth, easily covering twice the distance the rest of us do. Next in line is usually Cricket, although sometimes if she has had a busy day in the dog yard she lags. She is always on alert for anything lurking in the woods and on some occasion thunders off on 'guardian dog business' and doesn't come back with us. Then comes me. I don't 'thunder, dart or dash' I just walk - occasionally stopping to examine a wildflower, animal track or watch birds.
Usually right around me is Kara. She tends to follow right behind me on the way out - and lead on the way home with her poofy Kara tail high and waving.
Next comes Bait. He will often go roaring by us all at flat out speed challenging Bet to a 100 ft dash. She loves that! The further we get from home, the more the hair on Bait's tail poofs out, but he always stays with us, even if I take the longer, through the woods route home.
Last in line is Tic. He adores walking with us, but refuses to venture into the woods or past the 'Turn Around Here - Private Property' sign. He usually will be hiding in the tall grass waiting to join up with us again on the way home.

We rarely see wildlife - parades aren't good for sneaking up on critters, which is fine with me anyway - but often hear coyotes carrying on in the woods. And birds, ah, I love all the bird noises in the woods in the evening.
I found with cool website whose great vocal recorders of bird sounds (fun to explore these while Bait is in the house - it drives him crazy - and I love driving him crazy!) has allowed me to put names to many of the birds we hear in the area. For example, I know the strange 'honking' birds that dive and flit high in the sky no matter how late I walk are 'common nighthawks' - and the owl that lives in the wood north of us is a 'Great Horned Owl'. And of course the ever present Brown Headed Cowbirds, Grey Jays and American Robins. Very fun!

And lately the sunsets have been nothing short of amazing. I've thought of taking my camera and trying to capture them, but it would require a tripod and time to really do it right and that would just take away from the whole experience. And besides, without the comradarie of my friends, the smell of the woods and all the lively bird chatter, it just wouldn't be the same.

You'll just have to take my word for it!


husky mom said...

This is a lovely word portrait of the sights and sounds, Karen. I wish people would not gab on their cell phones so much while walking with their dogs--they are missing out on enjoying nature and on special time with their canine companions (not to mention missed training opportunities!). It's cute that each NorthWapiti resident has his/her own way of enjoying the evening stroll with you.

Karen Ramstead said...

People talk on their cell phones while walking their dogs??? How sad!! I can't imagine!


The Thundering Herd said...

Excellent post. We are a regular walk in the woods gang (er, Herd), but we do walk as a pack because of the need for leashes with my Herd. But that works well, as you note, for warning the various wildlife that we are there. Just prefer not surprising Ms. Bear out for a walk with her cub(s).

P.S. - Lost hiker searches are very common in our area and a common thread is found in their stories. They carried a cell phone with them to call in the event of an emergency. Just never crossed their minds that cell phones don't actually work everywhere. I, personally, consider that a benefit.

Laura said...

I cannot hold a cell phone and train or remind a Husky to heel :) As far as emergencies go, I would rather rely on a whistle than a cell phone!

Helen Thorgalsen said...

I love a parade :-))

granimar said...

I know I've said this before, but walking in Karen's parade at North Wapiti are special "Heart Memories" for me----beginning with the first in 2001 when we [my hubbie got in on that one] on a free walk of the 6 week old Soda Pop litter guided by Fly and the last this May where I was treated to all of the critters in this post AND the noises and smells of the woods.
It's no wonder Tic won't go into the wodds, that Great Horned Owl would love to see that.
Since my Kiska crossed the bridge we've found our country walks at home still a delight, but something big is really missing.
This post is wonderful Karen.

Theresa Przybylski said...

That is the COOLEST Website! Thank You! I live in the woods and love to go out with the dogs in the morning and evening and listen to the birds and watch them at my feeders. I have a lot of bird books but it's great to now have a source for the music they make.

Marilyn said...

Great Link, thanks Karen.