Saturday, March 14, 2009

High Vista Nature Preserve

Today the weather is fantastic! Bright blue skies, sun, and dare I say it?.... WARMTH! Mid 40's!

Saturday is the day the pups and I go for our weekly outing. They get walked every day after work of course, and go on errands with me here and there, but every Saturday is our big day of hiking. They always know when it is Saturday. Always.

It was so nice out, we decided to explore a new area we had never been to before... the High Vista Nature Preserve in Scott, which is on the southeast shore of Skaneateles Lake. Wayyyy out in the boonies. The north end of the lake is pretty built up (the village of Skaneateles & surrounds) but the south end is amazingly wild and beautiful. The southeast side has the Preserve, and the west side is Bear Swamp State Forest, one of our favorite places.

The hike was approx. 1.2 miles, so I thought it suitable for Lucy. And I was pretty much right... she handled it great. There was one part that had a long and steady hill, but we had a few stopping breaks for her... but mostly she stayed out in front of me (!!) and was very attuned to her surroundings. Cliff, of course, was his usual gregarious self. The trail was well marked but covered in leaves, a bit more pounded-down then the surroundings, but still a bit tricky to follow. You really had to pay attention to the marked trees or else you could get way off track. Clifford's navigational skills are pretty poor anyway, so I was repeatedly having to reel him back in the right direction. Most of the time, on well-marked trails, I can "zone out" and truly... meld... with nature, daydream, but this time I really had to pay attention to the marked trees and keep Cliff from leading us off into the hinterland.

There was one pretty swollen creek we had to cross. Cliff just plowed on through. Lucy gently picked her way. I tried to jump it and miserably failed, LOL. On the loop back we came to a section with a small gravel island in the middle, which enabled me to jump two small branches of the creek without getting too wet.

Fungus among us...

I couldn't stop looking up and at the trees sillhouetted against the bright blue sky. It was breathtaking!!!

We didn't see any animals on our trip, except for 3 large woodpeckers flying near the parking space. They were beautiful, black and white checkered, and I'm sure they had red on their heads but I didn't see it because they were zipping through the trees so fast. I wasn't surprised to see 2 together, but 3? Do they flock? We also heard lots of Canadian geese and crows, and a strange bird that sounded like a chicken... not so much a "Bawk!" but a "Bak!". What in the world could it have been? Lots of deer poop too, and I was surprised that Lucy was not interested in it much at all... she is a dog that finds poo absolutely fascinating. Thankfully she is not coprophagic, she just really likes to sniff and examine it.

So this was the most interesting (or should I say irritating??) part of the whole trip. On the way back from the Preserve, we were driving through Skaneateles, 30 MPH and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lots of peeps out enjoying the stores, strolling the sidewalks. I was at a stoplight and an old guy in a truck, with a Brittany Spaniel on the seat next to him, pulls up and starts talking to me... so I roll down my window and he is like, "Lady you shouldn't drive with your dog sticking his head out the window, he could get gravel in his eye and it could cause problems....wah wah wah..."
"Thanks" I said and rolled my window back up.
I can't tell you how irritated I was. Dude, maybe you shouldn't let your Brittany sit on the front seat because if an accident happens, he'll go through the windshield. Jeesh.
I do allow Cliff to stick his head out the window if we're going 35 MPH or less. Could he get gravel in his eyes? Or a gnat? Okay, sure, but he enjoys it and the chance of that happening is relatively small. In the grand scheme of things, I am pretty lenient. If I was Suzy Safety, then I would muzzle or separate my dogs whenever they are unattended. I would keep crates in the car and the dogs would have to ride in crates (an uncrated dog in a car accident could go out the window or decapitate their owner in the drivers seat, ouch). I wouldn't have a dog door. I would never feed my dogs raw bones or anything BARF related. I wouldn't let them run with other dogs or run in the yard as much. Cliff would have to stay buckled next to me on a 6 foot leash, instead of having 20 feet to explore with.
I consider myself a pretty great dog owner. I suck at most things in life, but not things dog-related. Sure, I may over-identify with my dogs too much, and sure, they may be spoiled a bit, but they have a pretty great life. If I could somehow bring them to work with me, then I think they would have it 100%. They each get private walks with me every day, hikes on the weekends, car rides whenever I run errands, trips to my parents' house every other week to see their "Grandparents" and play with the Pugs, the best food I can afford mixed with a variety of home-cooked meats (which I bring into my house for them despite my vegetarianism, the lucky son of a guns), they get Spa Night every Monday (where they each get groomed and conditioned, nails done, teeth done, ears cleaned and a massage), a dog door to go in and out whenever they please, dog beds galore and free access to the bed and both couches in the house. Usually once every month, or once every-other-month, they get to see Trace's boys or Renee and Rich's Mercedes for Greyhound Play Dates. They have the best vet in town (IMHO) and go for complete exams every 6 months. I think they have it pretty much made.
I wanted to tell the old guy in the truck that, so he didn't think I was just some schmuck who didn't give a rat's ass about her dog. Unfortunately you only have a certain amount of time at a stoplight. I mean, he has point, but... I don't know. There was just something about it, and the way he said it, that raised my hackles a bit.
Anyway... afterwards we went to Connie's to pick up a Veggie Burrito Grande for lunch (yumm), did the car wash thing (I love watching the dogs' faces as we ride through it)... and now I'm trying to get psyched up for housework. I really want to take some photos of my art studio and press room, but they are disaster areas. Ugh. We'll see how this turns out...

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