But Charlie had been without a walk for 36 hours and was anxiously awaiting my return so we could go hiking. Since I was not interested in driving anymore, we went to Sunnyvale Park for a quick hike around the lake. While we were there, we met a HUGE black lab and Charlie got to play with him for a bit after our walk while I chatted with his owner. Charlie seemed appeased enough for us to head home so I could "veg out" for the rest of the afternoon.
After spending so much time in the urban-ness of Milwaukee and also driving around Madison, I was looking forward to recharging my spirit with a long hike on Sunday. The morning was sunny and bright, but somewhat chilly. The temps were forecast to reach the upper 20's by early afternoon and the wind had died down to a light breeze... sounded like good hiking weather to me! I still wasn't interested in driving too far or stressing myself out with trying to find somewhere new, so we decided to stick to a tried-and-true comfort spot: Dells of the Eau Claire County Park.
We had a beautiful drive out there even though the road is showing signs up winter's wear. I pulled over when we saw a bunch of turkeys crossing the road so I could take a picture, but when I turned on the camera the display read "Battery Exhausted" and wouldn't turn on. HUGE bummer. I was soooo looking forward to taking pictures along one of our favorite trails on a beautiful sunny late-winter day.
*This should have been my first sign that things were not going to go well today.*
When I got to the entrance of the South parking lot, the snow looked deep, but there were tire tracks going in so I figured it would be okay. Big mistake. As soon as my tires hit the driveway I had a sinking feeling that I was about to get stuck. I put the Jeep in four-wheel-drive and had to keep going; there was nowhere to turn around. I was flooring the gas to keep the vehicle in motion as I entered the parking lot area where I hoped to keep enough momentum to turn around and get the hell out of there. Unfortunately I got too bogged down and lost momentum. I had to put it in reverse and then back into drive several times before I was able to get lined up with my tire tracks and head back out. My heart was hammering and I had huge amounts of adrenaline running through me. By the time my tires hit pavement again, my whole body was shaking. I couldn't believe I had gotten out.
Charlie, meanwhile, was sitting in the back of the Jeep wondering when we're going to get out and play. I couldn't just go home after getting all the way out there with her, so we drove to the main entrance to the park which was plowed out up to the first small parking lot. I had to sit still for a moment and let my heart rate get back to normal, but I figured it would help to get out of the vehicle and get some fresh air.
There were actually several cars in the parking lot; it seemed most of them were there to snowshoe. I had no intention of going for a long hike at this point, but wanted to give Charlie a chance to explore and play in the snow a little. I threw her ball and we walked around the main picnic/playground area for about 10 minutes and then headed back to the car. The trails are pretty snowed-in right now and there isn't much access unless you have snowshoes. I don't plan on coming back here until the snow is melted and Spring has arrived.
Driving home, I realized I may have done some damage to my Jeep; there's a shimmy when I get over 50 miles per hour and a lot of "play" in the steering wheel. Just what I need ~ car repairs. This has been a long week/weekend and I'm physically and mentally tired. I guess, just like my camera, my battery is exhausted.
I'm going to spend the rest of the day reading a book by a sunny window while sipping a cup of tea and recharge my battery.