Friday, January 28, 2011

Hiking Downhill On Beebe Hill

We hiked to the Beebe Hill State Forest fire tower and I'd climbed to the top of it, leaving my four dogs on the ground below. The view was beautiful but the wind and cold were severe. I climbed back down to the ground and began the hike back to the trail head. Clover was still feeling quite energetic and happy to explore any path and any interesting smell. She is, after all, still a puppy:

Seamus, woolly giant that he is, went off the trail to check out the woods. Seeing her big buddy off on an adventure meant that Clover felt the need to follow (those are her big ears sticking up above the snow). I soon called them back to me so that we could continue on our way:

You might think, as I did at the beginning, that the descent would be much easier than the ascent. But Seamus' feet had begun to hurt and he was slowing down. And I was tired from slogging through the snow. Daphne and Clover, the two Papillon pups, still seemed to have lots of energy but our pace was slowing down:

And as is often the case, the trail seems much longer on the return trip. We walked mostly downhill, around bends, over crests. Three snowmobiles came by and politely stopped so that I could collect the dogs. This time, instead of leashing them, I simply trotted past the uphill traveling snowmobiles and the dogs followed. Then, with more smiles and waves, the snowmobilers continued on their way:

We continued downward through the quiet (now that the snowmobiles were gone) woods:

The puppies still had the energy to run and play, but by now Fergus was not joining them:

Seamus and I were plodding slowly down the trail:

Seamus began stopping and biting at his feet. I checked and found that snow was building up between his toes. Neither he nor I were able to remove it, so the only reasonable course of action was to keep descending Beebe hill toward our parked car. I put Seamus on a leash several times to prevent him from flopping down in the snow and refusing to follow us:

And then it began snowing - big, fluffy, silent snow flakes:

The falling snow was beautiful but we were tired. I'd just marveled at the energy which Fergus, Daphne and Clover still had when I began to notice that they were also slowing down and walking as if their feet might be getting sore:

Seamus continued to stop and try to "fix" his sore feet. He was no longer enjoying this. Well, there was nothing for it but to get ourselves back to the warm and carpeted car. I'll post the conclusion of our winter hike tomorrow:

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