Friday, July 24, 2015

Sunrise + Deer Swimming

This morning I was remembering back to when I read 'Life In The Woods' by Thoreau and how much he loved sunrises; he didn't miss one of them.

There's a certain magic in being awake at dawn and being outside in nature. It's a time to marvel at the quiet and fleeting beauty. 

With the hottest days of summer upon us, Charlie and I are walking early in the morning now instead of our normal evening walks. It's still warm and humid in the morning, but much more manageable.

This morning, as we made our way down to the River Edge Parkway on the Wisconsin River, I kept turning back to look at the gorgeous sunrise behind me. It was such a still and peaceful morning and the houses glowed pinkish-orange, reflecting the color of the sky above.

As we neared the trail, I spotted a doe on the path near the water's edge. It quickly darted into the trees before Charlie saw it and I figured it was making a fast retreat along the riverbank away from us.

But as I got closer to the river, I noticed ripples expanding in an ever-growing ring out in the water.

The deer was swimming away from us toward the island in the middle of the river!

Charlie and I sat on the riverbank watching its progression toward the shallows of the lily beds. It slowly emerged from the water and looked back to watch us as it moved into the woods on the other side.

Charlie just sat quietly watching and then quickly lost interest and started playing in the water, searching for sticks for me to throw for her.

Such a lovely treat to have a beautiful sunrise and watch a deer swimming on our Friday morning. You never know what you'll see when you make time to get outside.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Merrick Backcountry Adventure ~ Ice Age Trail

*This post is brought to you in partnership with Merrick.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Charlie and I typically avoid going anywhere "outdoorsy" on 4th of July weekend since campgrounds and trails are usually overcrowded and busy. Plus, Charlie's noise-reactivity is a problem when people are lighting off fireworks all around us. The last time we tried camping during this holiday, Charlie was a ball of fear, trembling in the tent and at times, trying to dig her way out of the tent. Not fun.

But this year, in partnership with Merrick Pet Foods, we decided to head up to the northwoods of Wisconsin and stay in a little lakefront cabin. Being able to stay "indoors" during the fireworks was the only way Charlie could feel safe.

Luckily the weather was perfect for the outdoor activities I had planned - kayaking on the lake and hiking on the Ice Age Trail!

We started our holiday weekend with a day paddling around the lake and exploring the shoreline. Charlie balanced herself perfectly on the front of the boat, like a kayak "hood ornament," keeping a lookout for loons that would pop up unexpectedly and then dive back underwater, only to pop up again somewhere else.

Every now and then she'd jump in to rescue a stick or leaf floating by and then I'd hoist her back into the boat when she was done playing. You just can't keep a lab out of water!

Spending the day out in the sun and fresh air was exhilarating, but also exhausting. It was nice to head back to the cabin for a hearty dinner on the deck while listening to loon-calls echo over the quiet lake. 

Charlie received a healthy serving of Merrick's Grain Free Beef canned food mixed with the Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Recipe kibble. After a long day of swimming and fetching sticks, she deserved a yummy dinner! 

Travelling with a dog on a homemade diet can be tricky and it's nice to be able to have wholesome food, like Merrick's Backcountry, to feed her when we're out on our adventures. I love that the food contains raw-infused bits to keep her on track with her healthy diet. And I love providing a "special treat" with the canned food to make sure she stays hydrated while giving her something she really enjoys eating.

. . .

As the day drew to close, most of the other vacationers headed into town to watch the fireworks, leaving the lake blissfully quiet and serene for the evening. I curled up in the safety of the cabin with my content pup and drifted off into a deep sleep.

The next day we headed out to hike a portion of the Ice Age Trail. I was hopeful that the mosquitoes and ticks wouldn't be too bad and was relieved when I was correct, although we did have some persistent horse-flies following us for most of the hike.

The ferns were thick and lush, birds were chirping and little streams babbled nearby. Charlie dipped her feet in the shallow brooks to cool off and splash around during short breaks before we'd head back onto the trail. As the temperature climbed and the woods began to feel rather tropical, we headed back to the cottage for a bit more kayaking to cool off before retiring in front of a campfire under the stars.

I love taking these long weekends and coming home with a tired pup. I know Charlie enjoys our outdoor adventures as much as I do and our bond continues to grow with every experience. 

Join the conversation about Merrick Backcountry by using hashtag #Wild4Backcountry and visit Merrick's website for coupons and more information:  Merrick Backcountry Website

*Disclaimer:  I received compensation for writing this review; although this post is sponsored, all opinions and thoughts are my own and I would never recommend something I didn't believe in. Pinky swear.