Sunday, August 18, 2013

Following a Deer Trail

Yesterday we headed to Big Eau Pleine County Park - home of one of our favorite hiking trails. Unfortunately it's become a "favorite" to a lot more people than we're used to seeing there; signs indicating a wedding party led us all the way to our trail head, and there were many people using the hiking trails for horseback riding and mountain biking. Seems everyone was intent on squeezing the last drop out of summer.

With all these people around, it was not a good day to have Charlie off-leash... which was kind of the point of our trip since she was in desperate need of a good run. But I wasn't going to be deterred from our original plan after having driven the 30 minutes to get there either.

I remembered back to last fall, when the water levels of the reservoir were at their lowest point, we had hiked along the shoreline out to the tip of a peninsula and then followed a well-used deer trail back to the picnic area. Determined to find a quiet place for hiking, we chose to follow that same deer path once more; always in pursuit of the road less traveled by.

I carefully picked my way along the narrow trail, stepping over decayed logs while Charlie disappeared into the tall grass running full speed ahead. Every now and then her red harness flashed through the weeds alerting me to her current location.

The deer trail provided easy access to a part of the woods where no one else would be, and I immediately relaxed... no longer worried about Charlie being off-leash and irritating someone. She was free to explore this new terrain while I enjoyed the peace and quiet. Gentle waves lapped along the shore on both sides of the trail and the sun glinted off the green-blue water in a sparkling dance. We had this piece of park all to ourselves!

Upon reaching the tip of the peninsula, I found Charlie down by the shore racing along the sand and playing in the water. Luckily, I had brought along a tennis ball in my pink backpack allowing for a game of fetch in the water while I snapped action photos of Charlie.

It was the perfect summer day. Warm, sunny, blue skies... enjoying a beautiful trail with the best hiking companion anyone could ask for - a dog.