Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Short But Adventurous Hike On The Rutland Nature Trail

It was hot and sunny, and I'd had a long and arduous day. Late in the afternoon I'd finished all my chores and was still filled with energy. So I called the dogs to the car and drove a couple of miles to the Rutland Nature Trail. This was our third exploratory hike on the Rutland Trail, all three from different starting points:

It was clear that this had once been a railroad bed as it was straight and level, blazed through the forest and wetlands. Madeline and Clover led the way:

The dogs had by now figured out the new rule about sticking closer to me - all, that is, except Clover. She came when called but still hadn't understood the concept of not running too far ahead in the first place. But on this day, I almost saw the light bulb go on over her head. She got it!:

Daphne had figured out the new rule a long time ago and was ecstatically running up and down the trail, just a little bit ahead and then back to my side:

I still had to yell "Stop!" every so often, but now that they all understood, it was less frequent and less fevered. I simply told them they'd gone to the limit and now must return to me. The dogs were just as happy to be out hiking as ever. Perhaps more so, since they weren't being harangued about running too far ahead:

With water on both sides of the trail, there was no choice about leaving it to go exploring. The land on both sides was posted and private anyway:

I had to swat at deer flies, but the dogs were having a grand time:

Madeline sat for a rest while Seamus and Fergus sniffed around some interesting smells:

We traveled through open areas, through wetlands and through forests such as this one:

It was hot and humid, but no one complained. My injured ankles were weak but on this level trail, I figured I'd have no problem:

We were on our way back to the car when I decided to climb down a bank to photograph this Purple Loosestrife. I got this photo and then my ankles gave out on the rough, uneven terrain, sending me tumbling into the stinky swamp, hitting one or more stumps on my way down. I managed to keep my camera mostly above the water but my cell phone was in my pocket:

I got myself out of the swamp but I was covered in stinky swamp mud. My camera still worked. When I got home, I had huge bruises and so much mud on me that I had to shower fully clothed before I could get the rest of me clean. I will have to be more careful in the future and be sure to wear ankle braces:

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