Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Friend, Charlie + Feeling Grateful

Car selfie while waiting for our lunch in the drive-thru at Culver's.

It was a pretty chilly day today, only reaching about 40 degrees, so I decided our best hiking spot would be in the woods at Plover River Segment of the Ice Age Trail. While the leaves are pretty much stripped from the tree branches at this point in the season, the thick woods lining the valley of the Plover River would give us good protection from the wind, and the sparse branches would still let through enough sunlight for a little warmth. 

I always love the part of the trail with the hand-hewn boardwalk. It's so quaint and rustic! Charlie has gotten pretty good at balancing on the boards and rarely falls off now.

She was alert to all the smells of the forest today... taking her time and walking slowly while sniffing along the ground. There must be tons of activity this time of year with the smaller mammals gathering food for winter preparation for hibernation and the deer trying to lay low from the hunter's filling these woods. I acknowledged 2 pickup trucks in the parking lot today (usually there are no other cars in the parking lot) and Charlie seemed pretty skittish around them (she probably smelled blood from deer carcasses - she gets that way around blood and dead things).

I found an interesting "burial" of some kind of skull inside a woodpecker-hollowed hole in a tree with a large feather stuck next to it. I couldn't tell what kind of animal skull it was, but someone thought to honor it in this way. I'm always amazed at the things you'll find while hiking!

The only green remaining in the woods are moss-covered logs and tree trunks along with the occasional fern frond. Otherwise the ground is covered with brown crunchy leaves and sodden mud.

But the wind still whispers through the pine trees and the river continues to babble over glacial rocks and boulders. Charlie perpetually finds joy in chewing up sticks while splashing through the shallow river and stirring up the sandy bottom as she explores the riverbank.

And I'll never get enough of watching her enjoy this peaceful wilderness. People always tell me how lucky Charlie is to have me. And I always agree. But I'm just as lucky to have her. I never would have reached out to explore new areas and find these mystical places without her need for adventure pushing me along. I'll be forever grateful to Charlie for igniting my passion for hiking and enjoying nature. We're very lucky to have each other. Love you girl.