Saturday, April 8, 2017

Harrison Hills, Part 2

This is the face that woke me up at 5:30am this morning:

In preparation of an early morning hike today, I had packed up the car the night before. Charlie knew something was up and was totally confused when we went to bed Friday night... she had been expecting a hiking excursion. Apparently she immediately remembered the packed-up car when she heard the automatic coffee pot turn on this morning and she came to wake me up. This girl LOVES to hike!

Earlier this week I made plans to join another segment hiker on the Harrison Hills Segment of the Ice Age Trail and help with shuttling. We met at 8am this morning and staged our cars with one at the beginning of the segment and then drove to another point to hike back to the first car.

The mileage of this segment exceeded my comfort level, so I only joined them on the first 6 or so miles. Hopefully by the end of this season, Charlie and I will be able to do bigger miles in one day! But since Charlie is carrying a little extra winter-weight and I haven't worked up to that intensity yet, we took the safe route today and stuck with a distance that was comfortable.

Because of Charlie's dog-reactivity, I wasn't sure how she would get along with Matt's dog, Bob, but they did really well today and Charlie even seemed to enjoy their company!

After solo-hiking for so long, it was nice to have some company for a change. And it also felt good to finally complete this section of the trail. Charlie and I had hiked a portion of the Harrison Hills Segment back in 2013 and somehow never made it back to do the rest. I had forgotten how challenging the hills were! By the end of the hike, I definitely felt out of shape.

It was my first time doing an early morning hike and I'm so glad I finally got to experience that. There's a different kind of quiet and stillness in the morning, especially this time of year when there's a light layer of frost on vegetation that sparkles in the rising sun. Birds were singing and frogs slowly warmed up enough to begin their chorus. The woods were quiet of ATV noise and other human sounds that can distract from the wilderness experience. It was just nature and the slow awakening of a gorgeous day.

This segment has quite a few small kettle lakes that the dogs took breaks to explore. And at one point we even saw a distant beaver dam across a lake.

Beaver dam is on far side of lake.

Close-up of beaver dam on left.
Charlie did really well with the challenging landscape and distance today, so we're going to try doing more of these types of hikes in coming weeks. It's nice to know that the weather is warm enough now that we can be out all day!

My thanks goes out to Matt for inviting me along on the hike today and being patient with us. Charlie insisted on being the lead dog for most of the hike and I appreciate that Matt and Bob allowed her to be "queen" today. I was really proud of how well she did with meeting a new dog and we had a great time!

Me and Charlie. (Photo credit: Matt Mitschke)