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Posts Tagged ‘walking with dogs’

“You are so lucky,” the woman said. I had just confirmed that yes, I do work at Healthwise. “You get to bring your dog to work, and then you get to walk these trails at lunch.”

She smiled, and I smiled back as we each went on our own way. She was headed out into the Boise foothills with her dog, and Tooey and I were headed back in to work.

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At the time of this photo, we were about 20 minutes away from the building, which is nestled right into the base of the Boise foothills. The building is so close that its parking lot is often used by folks who bring their dogs to walk or run the trails. But from where we were, you could look out south, toward the building, but not see it. Just snow, juniper and other desert plants, and the cloudy skies that will bring more snow tomorrow.

And she’s right. I am lucky. Not just for the reasons she stated, but also to have this winter landscape so close, and a companion handy to explore it with.

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In my youth, growing up in Grand Junction, Colorado, I frequently explored the outskirts of town in an old jeep and on foot. Now I only visit on rare occasions such as for visiting family this last week for Thanksgiving. Our motel was just a mile from the desert, so it was the obvious place to go to run the dogs in the morning.

The area, sandwiched between the city limits and the mountains, is open to the public for lots of uses. The rolling hills of Mancos Shale provides some tempting challenges for off-road vehicles and motorcycles. As such, there are many vertical paths headed straight up (or down) the hills, and these provide paths for dogs and humans to stretch our legs after sitting in the car for the 1000 mile road trip from Oregon.

From the crest of a Mancos Shale hill

From the crest of a Mancos Shale hill

Carlin and Tooey resting after zooming to top

Carlin and Tooey resting after zooming to the top

When it rains or snows, these hills become slippery and somewhat treacherous to navigate in or on a motorized vehicle. There are frequent roll overs and spills that are often the outcome of mixing speed, alcohol, youth, and internal combustion engines. (Note: the author of this post only knows about this through hearsay and never did anything like it in his youth.)

On the slope of one such hill, Carlin noticed a lump of dried mud that looked out of place. He turned over the artifact, and we determined that it must have resulted from such a mishap.

Carlin's prize

Carlin’s prize, with pups and Trice below looking for more

Encrusted in the alkaline clay-shale muck, was a rather nice wristwatch. Based on the broken band, it appears that a motorcyclist must have taken a hard spill sometime in the past, and the watch was ripped from his wrist and buried in the muck. After some recent rains, it reappeared on the surface where Carlin extricated the find like a fresh found fossil. The leather band looked like what you would expect when you bury something organic in a caustic soup of minerals, but the watch was in near perfect shape with the correct time and the hands just ticking along as though nothing was wrong. The date was three days off, so I speculate that since not all months are 31 days, this watch must have been buried for sometime.

When I returned to Oregon, I cleaned it up, ordered a new band online, and should have a fine time piece that has already proven to be quite rugged. For the record, this is a Luminox Anacama model 1925 (MSRP $625).

I can only hope the original owner is still alive, as we found no wrist bones sticking out of the mud. I am sure that if he survived the spill, seeing his motorcycle sitting at the bottom of the hill probably distracted him enough that he never noticed the watch was missing.

Tooey and Carlin cruising the ridge looking for more goodies. (rabbits specifically)

Tooey and Carlin cruising the ridge looking for more goodies (rabbits specifically)

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While in Wales, we had a number of amazing and fun adventures: Caerphilly Castle, the Welsh Life museum, a tour and tasting at the Penderyn Distillery, the dog show, the field trial, a Joshua Bell and St. Martin in the Fields concert at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, and sitting around the dinner table eating Sandie’s wonderful cooking and talking with our friends.

But I think of all of them, my favorite were the daily walks. Martyn has the very good fortune to live within 10 minutes of a wide variety of terrain where he can walk his dogs. Plus, he lives in dog heaven — rural land veined with foot paths, public right-of-ways that have existed for centuries, allowing the public access through private farms, pastures, woodlands, and even a quarry. Sometimes walkers have to crawl over fences and through gates, but the right of access still exists.

Martyn makes sure his 5 dogs go for a long walk twice a day. And while Russ and I were there, one or both of us went along each time. One day, Martyn and Sandie, plus three dogs, went to two beaches, which were about 45 minutes away, and well worth it (even during the fierce 10-minute downpour).

Here are some pictures from our walks:

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