Today is a nice day. It’s supposed to rain later, and get colder, but its nice now. So I decided to take in some exercise. Now, I know I’ve been exercising alot lately – shoveling rock, battling rototillers, and swinging small sledgehammers. But that’s work exercise, not recreational exercise. So I got out the leash, packed up Judah’s training bag, and headed off down the street. We went north into the “new” section of town, then turned west toward the “old” section of town.
It was then I discovered something that my dog and my kids have in common. Whenever they want something, they get this intense “Please Please PLEEEEEZE!!!” look on their faces, and they stare, with shining eyes, right at you. When Judah and I turned west, he suddenly stopped mid-block and gave me “The Look”. I said, “What do you want? You show me what you want.” Judah promptly dragged me across the street to the entrance of the rail trails that run in the woods just north of town. The boulder at the trailhead says “Round House Recreational Trail”. This is because our town was, during the late 1800’s & early 1900’s, a railroad hub. The town had a roundhouse and railyard back then; you can still see some of the buildings’ foundations. Actually, the town was founded and built by the railroad so their workers could have a place to eat, bathe and sleep. Too bad the railroad pulled out in 1982.
But I digress. So Judah drags me over to the trailhead, pees on the boulder, and then drags me down the path. The trail has two entrances, and this one runs along a small creek and behind some very expensive houses until you get into the woods. Its a very peaceful setting, and the homeowners are above the creek’s “bench” so there’s no fear of getting flooded. Once we got up into the woods, we could go in a couple different directions, but since Judah likes to go east, we went east. Then I let Judah run off leash. He loves that. He thinks the woods are his private playground: The Sniffenpee Dog Resort and Spa. He goes barreling down the trail and crashing through the underbrush, looking for things to chase. (In the past, he’s chased countless rabbits and squirrels, and even flushed out a couple turkeys.) I walk down the path, listening to and watching the birds. Today I could hear and see woodpeckers, red winged blackbirds, cardinals, bluejays, and robins. Aahhhh…….
So we go east until the trail splits. I take Judah’s water bottle and a pie pan out of the bag, and give the mutt a drink. Then I ask him “Which way do you want to go now?” Stupid question. He always goes back south, then west, along the “Gooseberry Trail”. I call it that because this trail runs along one of the many small creeks in this wood, and along this creek you find gooseberry bushes. He stays off leash until we come in sight of the six-figure homes that I mentioned before, then its back on the leash, stop at the bridge for another drink, and back home. By now Judah’s exhausted; his tongue is lolling out, he’s panting and drooling, and walking very slowly. But it’s been good exercise for him, and me. Relax. Unwind. Listen to the birds. Enjoy springtime. Aahhh……