Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Here's the backyard of the place I'm house-sitting.

The homeowners have a whole network of trails along the ridges and canyons back there, but the snow is only halfway up my shins, so off-trail walking is totally bearable. When it gets up around the knees it's too hard without snowshoes or wide cross-country skiis.

Two two dogs I'm sitting are big Gordon Setters - Scottish dogs bred for hunting and tracking. It's a total thrill to wander around these ridges with the two dogs. They range far in front of me and to the sides, most often out of my view. Occasionally I see them trotting along the opposite wall of a ravine, or dashing far ahead on a rocky shoulder where the snow has blown off. Then they'll rush up to me to say hi, and run off again.

We're still working out a way to communicate where I'm headed. I like using whistles because it's easy to do and travels far and doesn't sound as invasive as shouting the dogs' names. These dogs are fast learners - they already know my "I'm turning in another direction" whistle means something. I'm not sure if they know exactly what, yet.

Apparently there is not a lot of big wild mammals in the area shown by the above photo, and by the lack of tracks I saw today, I would tend to agree. Apparently a moose comes down here every spring (she's already come and gone), and one of the dogs was attacked by a wolf a few years ago, but not much else.

If there's any big wildlife, I have a feeling they travel on the other side of the big ridge. Animals aren't stupid - they know where humans live and they like their peace and quiet. Why walk around in a area that's been well-marked by territorial dog-stink when you can stay on the other side of the hill and hang out in peace?

Tomorrow I'll head over to the other side of the hill and hopefully not interrupt any animals, but it will be nice to check out the lay of the land over there and maybe see some tracks.

1 comment:

  1. Keep 'em coming Jay. Love this stuff and want to follow along. Love the view too.