JD Allinder

Snow Day (again)!

In Posts on February 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm

We are enjoying some seriously kooky weather in southeast Michigan. Yesterday it was clear and calm with a steady temperature in the low 40s. Jane and I took an awesome eight-mile, off-leash hike along the Huron River, and I ended up stripping down to just a polo shirt and t-shirt (and I still sweated through both layers). It was a wonderful day – Jane and I felt really in tune – and we both got deliciously filthy from head to tail. During our walk, we took a three-mile detour along and around Ann Arbor’s Fleming Creek, known home to Michigan’s only venomous (and protected) snake, the Missasagua rattlesnake, and ran into a pack of nine dogs and four humans. This 13-member pack was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in the wild. The dogs and their people functioned as a single, hierarchical unit. I was really stunned. So was Jane. She’s certainly run into larger groups of dogs than that at the dog park, but those encounters are essentially with random, disconnected participants. This was entirely different. This pack was a well-oiled machine, and Jane had no option other than to offer herself up for critique. She was pretty unsure until I called her to me. Then she remembered I was her back-up and she started strutting and snorting, which made me so proud. My little girl is developing confidence.

When we arrived back at our starting point, we ran into guerilla hiker eco-activist Marty and his two dogs, Bella and Roxy. I’ve seen Marty around for ten years or so, and he’s always telling me about new hiking places. He shares my love of nature and my sense of entitlement to full access to it. While we were chatting, our dogs were milling about and Jane uncovered and started munching on poop or guts or something just as vile. I told her calmly but very firmly, “No. Nothing in the mouth,” and she immediately made eye contact with me, opened her mouth, and let whatever it was fall to the ground. Marty said something to the effect of, “I wish I’d trained my dogs as well as you have to not graze on garbage.” I couldn’t believe Jane and I were being recognized for obedience – especially in regards to our biggest challenge.

Anyway, yesterday’s spring-like intermission evolved into a light snowfall after dark, and by this morning it was a full-blown whiteout. I’m guessing we got eight to ten inches – maybe even a foot. Jane and I got out in the midst of the downpour – the best time ever for walking – and spent a couple of hours running through the streets and parks. We ended up at Highland Cemetery in Ypsilanti Township where the snow seemed especially deep. Jane ran and ran full force and I trudged along, sometimes behind, sometimes ahead. There is nothing like walking (or running) in deep snow. The workout is magnified tenfold.

Sweet, sweet Jane…

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