Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monument Mountain - Part 1

I'd been home from the farm only one week and our amazingly mild winter weather had continued. When I heard predictions for Sunday of temperatures in the 40s, I knew it was time to take a hike. So I drove to Great Barrington, Massachusetts to hike up Monument Mountain in the Berkshires. The trail began in an unusual forest filled with giant boulders:

The trails were slick with ice and I thought there might be a high concentration of other hikers so I kept the dogs on leashes as we carefully negotiated the icy trails at the beginning of the hike:

But when we'd gained a little elevation, the trails were less icy and I'd seen no other hikers, I relaxed and let the dogs off their leashes. They were all by then very excited and ran like little crazy-dogs. Especially Clover:

Daphne and Clover ran up and down the trail, wrestling as they ran. It was quite a sight. This photo caught them in mid-run/wrestle:

Tubby Seamus was lively for a brief time but quickly settled down. Fergus, Daphne and Clover continued to run crazily and I began getting cranky, thinking they were getting out of control. Or maybe I was just an old crab:

But the forest was lovely and calming. This emerald moss covered log was softly collecting what I've often heard called corn snow. It was beautiful:

When we got to a flat spot with no ice, I took the dogs for an excursion into the forest to explore and, hopefully, to dampen the youngsters' energy. Daphne gave me her look of "C'mon, Dad. Can't you move any faster?":

The trail steepened but the Papillons continued to race, wrestle and play. Fergus was there also but hasn't yet appeared in any photos because he was merrily running in big circles:

Clover has more energy than any ten dogs I've ever known and runs just for joy:

And Daphne almost keeps up with her:

Rocky cliffs covered with snow and ice began to rise up alongside the trail and I could imagine the type of peak to which we were headed. This promised to be a magnificent overlook if it wasn't too icy to access:

There's Fergus! This photo shows him at full speed with his ears flopping. I thought I'd be putting the dogs back on their leashes soon, but for the time being I worked on keeping them reasonably close to me. That had the advantages of increasing my control and giving them more exercise because I kept calling them back to me. But we were just getting started. I'll post more tomorrow:

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