Last weekend I had to leave Charlie home while I went to Madison for a family visit. I wasn't sure if dogs would be welcome at this particular event and didn't want to take a chance that Charlie would have a problem when we got there. Plus it was a hot day and I wouldn't be able to leave her in the car.
Since I was going on a road trip without her, I figured I should take advantage of hiking at Gibralter Rock, which was on my way. This is one of those places that I would not be comfortable taking Charlie to and I knew, unfortunately, it would be a segment of the Ice Age Trail that I would have to hike without her.
But as I drove away from the house looking at her silly face as she stood up with her paws on the screen door, my heart literally broke into pieces and tears streamed down my face.
Obviously we don't do much apart from each other and it was extremely difficult for me to leave her behind. But I cheered myself up with the prospect of taking the Merrimac Ferry, the only moving part of the Ice Age Trail, across Lake Wisconsin on my way to Gibralter Rock and reliving childhood memories along the way.
The last time I was at Gibralter Rock I was a child hiking up there with my family and I have a clear memory of my mom getting a bad case of vertigo and constantly pulling us back from the edge of the trail.
I've had a fear of heights my whole life - probably inherited from my mom - so I was curious how I would feel revisiting this place.
The trail leading up to the top of the rock is winding and steep in some places, giving my lungs a good workout, but within 15 minutes I was at the top. That's when I realized that my happy-go-lucky hiking was at an end and I needed to really pay attention to my footing.
There are no guard rails and the trail winds very close to the edge in several places. There are flat rock outcroppings from which to get a great view or just sit and contemplate the turkey vultures floating below. But I get nervous out on those areas... I'm always afraid this will be the day that the rock ledge breaks free and tumbles below with me on it.
Regardless of my fear, I stuck it out and kept my GoPro camera rolling so you fine readers could get a sense of what it's like up there. But I have to admit I was relieved to head back down and get my feet on lower ground. I guess I'm just better-suited for hiking forests and river valleys; I'm not a mountain hiker.
Enjoy my little video...
p.s. If you see my hands waving off-screen once in awhile, I'm swatting away bugs since I forgot to bring along bug spray! I tried really hard to keep my hands out of the picture, but I'm pretty sure I failed a few times.