After nearly a month of sub-zero temperatures, we finally had some blissfully mild weather this weekend! This January thaw was a much-needed respite from the cold, dark days of winter and even though I know spring is a long ways off, it reminded me that winter is almost over and we're on the downward slope now.
Charlie, Alan and myself hiked at Big Eau Pleine County Park on Saturday and I even worked up the courage to hike across part of the frozen reservoir... something I've always been too afraid to do by myself.
VIDEO (Charlie running across the frozen ice):
Charlie hiked nearly double our own miles, zipping around in circles, running ahead of us and then running back to check on our forward progress. She was ecstatic to be outside enjoying our favorite trails again after being cooped up in the house for so long.
She had us laughing most of the time with her silly antics... finding sticks and tricking us into throwing them for her and "hunting" mice beneath the snow... listening to their little rodent highway and then pouncing!
After a long and leisurely day of hiking, Charlie was content to go to bed early. Every time I checked on her, she was in a different position, but always peacefully snuggled into the duvet.
Since Sunday was a football day for Alan, Charlie and I went out for a hike on our own. This time we headed for Dells of the Eau Claire County Park.
The normally noisy rapids were eerily quiet, frozen over under thick layers of ice. Every now and then I could hear a muted babbling far beneath the ice, but otherwise the only noise in the woods were a few birds tweeting and the crunch of the partially thawed snow under my boots.
There were very few people at the park today and most of them were exploring the river area, leaving the trails in the woods all to ourselves. We took advantage of the solitude and I allowed Charlie to romp off-leash.
We traversed as far as we could, until the trail became overrun with frozen run-off from a hillside stream that turned the trail into an ice rink. I didn't feel like ice skating today, so we turned back and hiked a few spur trails instead.
Our hike ended at a deserted picnic shelter where I found a dry picnic table to sit down for a break. I shared my apple with Charlie and played fetch with her stick, letting my muscles relax while watching Charlie's tail wag from flank to flank... so much happiness!