Thursday, July 6, 2017

Adventures "Without" Dog

This is a tough time of year for Charlie... and a lot of dogs. Fireworks can bring out every fear in a dog. I'm fairly sensitive to loud noises myself, so I can relate. I truly can't wait for this month to be over and for the firework noise to die down. 

The unfortunate part about all the firework noise is this is the pinnacle of summer! It's finally warm out, everything is in full bloom and everyone wants to get out and enjoy it while it lasts.

So I put my guilt aside and left Charlie home while I went on some adventures without her this past holiday weekend. Understanding that she was way more comfortable staying home in a safe place made it a whole lot easier to actually enjoy my time without her.

And surprisingly, I had a great time! I was able to focus on my own fun without having to take care of Charlie's needs. I was able to leisurely explore areas, take frequent breaks and not have to worry about keeping Charlie out of situations that would set off her reactivity issues.

Saturday morning I did some kayaking with friends on the Wisconsin River in downtown Wausau. We had a great time paddling and floating around, talking and catching up on gossip, and just soaking up the sun and fresh air before the afternoon storms moved in.

That afternoon I decided to take a long hike by myself at the Plover River Segment of the Ice Age Trail. I was looking forward to hiking at my own pace and having some quiet time.

I followed fresh bear prints through most of the muddy trail. 

But was startled when I came upon a clear-cut along part of the path. The bare patch of earth looked so different. This is a trail that I know by heart... and suddenly I didn't recognize where I was. 

I almost cried. 

I know these things happen and are sometimes necessary, but seeing things like this makes me ashamed to be human. 

Luckily it was a small area and I was soon enveloped back into the green woods and the sounds of birds and the river pulled me forward. 

The recent rain left everything dripping and released aromas of green growth and wet earth. When I got to my "turning around point," I took a short break to do some forest bathing.

The timing was perfect. There was a calm in the air... distant thunder hinted that the next storm cloud was on its way, but the leaves were still and the mosquitoes and deer flies that had been following me the whole way disappeared. I was standing in the middle of an emerald paradise looking at the shapes of every type of plant, watching an ant crawl along a blade of grass, a butterfly floating by. I slowly turned in a circle taking in the entire forest from the top of a moraine and had as much time as I wanted to just look.

As I began walking again, the breeze picked up and a gentle rain started to fall. Thunder got closer and soon I was in the middle of a small thunderstorm. I knew these scattered storms were going to be moving through the area all day and had deliberately planned on hiking during the weather. It's so refreshing and exhilarating to be in the woods when it's raining.

I ran through part of the trail and walked at other points. As I crossed the boulders at the river crossing, I slipped off one of the rocks and ended up knee-deep in the river, laughing. It was an interesting and somewhat pleasant experience hiking the last half-mile with water squishing in my boots; made me feel like a kid again.


Saturday was my adventure day and the rest of the weekend was spent playing in the backyard with Charlie, grilling out (and sharing my food with her), sipping coffee on the front porch and watching birds landing on the bird feeder. We had a lot of good restful time hanging out at home and playing together in a space that Charlie considers safe and I still got my time away for adventure. It was a win-win for both of us.