Saturday, January 7, 2012

A winter walk

This afternoon the dogs and I went for a walk on my favorite nature trail. I've never walked this trail in January - you usually can't even get to the trailhead without a snowmobile. This year is different - we have ZERO snow and temps are way above average. There aren't many years you can go for a walk on Jan. 7 in just a sweatshirt, jeans and a down vest.

Before we left, the Farmer said, "Don't get shot." He's great with the words of wisdom. Before we go camping, he either says, "Don't freeze to death" or "Don't get hit by lightning." Before we go walking in the woods, he always says, "Don't get shot." Deer hunting season ended last month but I guess he figured maybe some folks hadn't heard.

Jamie wore his bright yellow pack and carried water bottles and a soft-sided bowl. Phoenix wore his brand new bright blue pack and carried nothing (it was his inaugural trip with the pack). I wore a red hoodie and a bright blue vest. We were a colorful bunch. We didn't get shot.

It's a public trail and my guys always walk on leads. An amazing number of people think it's okay to let their dogs run loose. They're the ones yelling, "It's okay, he's friendly!" when their big goofy dog comes crashing into my guys. I am usually yelling, "Call your dog NOW, my dogs aren't friendly!" Phoenix makes that perfectly clear. Once the people get their idiot dogs back under control, they usually give ME the hairy eyeball. Whatever.

The trail doesn't get a lot of maintenance. Some parts are a little primitive but it's a great hike. We took the three-mile trail that goes back to the river and had the whole thing to ourselves today.

The forestry department who (sort of) maintains the trail calls it an oak savannah. I'm not sure what that means but apparently there aren't a lot of them left in Iowa. There are Indian burial mounds along the trail. The signage assures visitors they are there but is a little vague about exactly where. That's probably a good idea. The green moss-covered rock in the creek was about the only splash of color this time of year. Everything else is shades of brown.

They have put up some new directional signs. I had to laugh. "You are here." Well, I pretty much had that figured out. There was a tiny little asterisk to indicate where I was.

No ice on the Iowa River, which is very, very low. We frequently see Canada geese and bald eagles around the water but it was pretty quiet today.

It was a great walk in the woods on a sunny winter day. It was probably the best time of the year to hike with the dogs there - when we got back to the car, NO BURRS.


  1. Wow! Are you sure you didn't end up in Wisconsin by accident? That looks JUST like the woods I typically hike. Right down to that single mossy rock.

    Congratulations on no burrs!

  2. Also a great time to hike-no ticks. I love that trail altho it's not very close to my house.

  3. Sounds like a great trip. I'll admit, I often hike with my dogs off leash, but I keep an eye out for other hikers, dogs, and horses, and work on the assumption that any on-leash dog is not friendly, and call my dogs to me for a leash up.

  4. Love the bright colored back packs... glad you didn't get shot!! (we don't want to decrease our Spam count!)

  5. That's a beautiful trail! I'm also enjoying our (so far) mild winter. Last night was my club's Christmas Party / Awards Banquet. In 2010 we were buried under snow. Last night I was in flip flops and no coat! Layla isn't as excited.

    A few weeks ago, a father/son were duck hunting and got shot. Well, sprayed with pellets. They saw who shot them and confronted him, but the shooter ran off. When the cops were interviewing the father/son, they got shot at AGAIN!! This time the pellets didn't break skin, but still! At least the cops were there that time. Hopefully they got the second group of shooters. My family has never hunted fowl, only deer and so far haven't gotten shot at. I guess we'll stick to the larger game.

  6. Late muzzle loader deer season ends Tuesday. Don't get shot. (My resident deer hunter took the next two days off from work to go hunting, and my job was to look up the dates!) LJ