Thursday, March 3, 2011

Woods Canyon Hike

Hi! Hi!  This is Zephyr!  And this is Astro!  We are so excited to tell you about a hike through Woods Canyon that Mom took us on way back in January on Presidents' Day.  Can you believe she didn't share this earlier?  We have hijacked her computer in the middle of the night to ensure that you all get to see this great place.  You are lucky anyways because, let's face it, everyone knows that the humans' senses are not as keen as the canines'.  So, even though she does her best, Mom leaves out some of the best things about our hikes.  Look at that nice soft reddish dirt!  We loved it because it smelled so good and different types of plants grew here that smelled really good.  This was one of our favorite hikes yet!

We just loved this hike in Woods Canyon!  It was the first time we had been there, even Mom.  Even though it was a holiday we only passed a couple people and that was at the beginning of the hike.  The day was warm and dry.  Only nice soft fresh smelling dirt under out feet, no cold icy snow.  The air was full of fresh new scents.  OMG, we were in heaven hunting around all day!  And, listen to this, there were cows on the trail!!  That's right, Live Loose COWS right on the trail right in front of us!!!!  Holy Cow!!!  (Hee, Hee, Hee, we are so funny)  Unfortunately, Mom had us on leash the whole hike so we was not able to go a-cow-coursin.  Yea, this is Zephyr here, I went a-cow-coursin once and it was pretty fun, but cows are slow so I had to run in circles around them.  Mom said I was trying to herd them, but that I didn't do a great job.  I said I heard them just fine, but they must not have heard me when I told them to run as fast as they can so we could race.

Look at all those bushes and trees.  You just know there are bunnies in there, and birds, and COWS!!  And, if they weren't there when we checked, they had been there, and we were on their trail the whole day.  It was fun because even though Mom wouldn't let us off leash she still let us roam and follow the scent tracks.  She said she'd never seen us hunting around so much and she really wants to try tracking with us now.  We say, Duh Mom, to be a good hound you have to use your nose too.

Let us tell you a little more about those Cows.  We had been on alert for a while because the the cow scent had reached our noses a long time before.  Mom had seen some cow pies and hoof prints so she knew cows had been in the area, she just didn't know how close they were to us.  We were strolling along the trail in an area that had lots of bushes and trees.  The ground was soft and a little damp in some areas.  Astro and I were out ahead of Mom on our Flexi's zig-zagging back and forth across the trail investigating everything.  All of a sudden as we came around a corner there they were, two COWS standing on the trail about 50 feet in front of us!!  At first we froze for a second or two.  Then I came to my senses and told Astro that we needed to let our prey drive loose.  We started bouncing and pulling and barking.  We kept looking at Mom and asking why in the world was she not letting us go?  She was not moved and did not let us go a-cow-coursin.  :-(  She did have to do some rearranging though.  The cows were not leaving the trail, they just looked at us.  So, Mom put one of us on each side of her and held our collars as we slowly walked toward the cows.  Mom had to lean back to help keep us controlled.  The cows were stubborn and just walked along the trail in front of us for a while and then they went off in to the trees.  We tried to follow them, but Mom wouldn't let us.  Big Bummer!  We continued on the trail and now we were on hyper-alert, checking every side track, every bush, and every tree.  And then, Holy Cow, there were more Cows on the trail!  Hee, Hee, Hee, Hee, Hee, it gives us the giggles as we think of them now!  OMG, it was so awesome!  The cows are so slow and we are so fast, if only we could have chased them!  Mom just told us in her Mom Voice, "This is exactly why you two are not allowed off leash in areas that we are not familiar with".  "Blah-Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah",  Whatever, so lame. 

Here I am showing Astro how to hunt using your eyes, ears, and nose.  As his big brother I feel that it's my job to make sure he learns how to be a proper hound.  If you click on the picture twice you'll be able to see that I was in perfect hunting position.  My body was still, my nose was taking in all the scents, my ears were perked to take in all the sounds, and most importantly my eyes were focused on the distant trees and bushes where I knew my prey was hiding.  There were birds everywhere here.  Quail on the ground, Dove on the ground and in trees, and lots of other little birds.  And, of course, COWS!  I was so excited I nearly went into a point!
Okay, let's take a break from the Cows.  You have to forgive Zephyr he gets really excited about those kinds of things.  Now, I, Astro, will demonstrate how all you hounds can get yourselves a lookin and smellin super fine for days to come after your hike.  This is especially helpful if there is a special someone you are trying to impress.  First, you need to dig up some nice soft fresh dirt.  Try digging in a few places to find the best dirt that is full of the most scent and is really sticky.  A note on proper digging position, your rear needs to be up high relative to your front to get the best leverage for digging and throwing dirt.  Also, try rolling and rubbing in the dirt to see how good it smells and how well it sticks to you.

Once you find some super great dirt you really need to get down in it and rub it all over your body, but especially all over your muzzle, cheeks, neck, and forehead.  It's even better if the dirt is mud!!  Look closely at the picture above, click twice for an up close view.  Notice how my body is positioned to allow me to put lots of pressure on my face as I rub back and forth, back and forth, in this fresh mud that was next to the creek.  Also, notice that the dirt is not just on my face, I've rubbed it all down my neck and I've made sure to get it on my chest, front paws and arms, and back feet.  And, look very closely at my eyes, this is the best part!  While you are doing this rubbing, you will get the most fantastic feeling throughout your body that for a little while you forget everything, just like when you are chasing a bunny.

Here is the fabulous finished product!  Isn't it Great!?  Notice how I use the two layer method.  My first layer appears lighter but is really pressed all through my fur down to my skin.  The second layer is heavier and concentrated around my nose and chin.  Mmmm, so yummy.  I could smell it for days afterward.  Heaven!

Strong smells came from all kinds of places along the trail.  We take turns investigating the small areas that only one of us can fit in.  Hiking is so fun because we get to climb on all kinds of rocks.  Here I was checking out a good smell around some rocks and bushes.  Luckily, it was January and we didn't have to worry about Rattlesnakes.  We have never seen a Rattlesnake and Mom says we probably never will because she won't take us hiking in areas where they live in the summer.  Oh, Oh, Zephyr here, that's not true.  I did see a Rattlesnake once!!  It was a few years ago when Mom and I were hiking in the forest near our house.  We were going down the trail and all of a sudden we heard the rattle, "SSHHZZZ"!  I was out ahead of Mom about 10ft on my Flexi.  We look to the right and see this very angry snake at the bottom of a pine tree.  Fast as lightening, Mom pulls me to the left and I was like "No problem I don't want anything to do with that crazy thing!"  Mom said that was the first Rattlesnake she had seen here and she's lived here 20 years.  Luckily they are Timber Rattlesnakes up here and they are less aggressive and poisonous.  But, that one was really angry, and we never even got closer than about 3 or 4 feet.

The creek going through Woods Canyon is called Dry Beaver Creek.  It wasn't dry though, it had lots of water because of snow melting up higher.  There are cactus here and Astro got one spine in his nose that Mom had to help him get out.  Yea, I didn't like it, the spine was right on the tip of my nose and it wouldn't come off when I swiped it with my paw.  Well Astro, at least it wasn't like my cactus incident.

The water was really deep and rushing in the creek.  It was so loud sometimes that was all we could hear.  Mom likes to take lots of pictures of us.  She'll pose us and make us do stays and we usually don't mind.  Don't I have the cutest look on my face?  I was so happy to be out on this hike with Mom and Astro.

We got to play in the water too, climbing on the creek rocks is so fun.  The water was nice and cool and fresh.  During the summer this creek totally dries up.  That was hard to believe since in some places it was really deep and moving fast.  Mom wouldn't let us go in the water at some spots because it was so deep and fast and she didn't want us to go out too far and get pushed out by the water.  She worries about things like that.

Zephyr was really exploring around the water and I just decided to follow him because he always finds the best stuff.  This spot was nice because the creek bottom was soft and only had small rocks under the water so it was easier for us to walk around.  We found a couple good sticks, some stinky piles of leaves, and we climbed up and over lots of rocks.  It was also good for us to cool off in because we were gettin warm in the balmy temperatures of almost 60.

We went about 6 miles on our hike and we didn't even get to the end.  We think we are going to get to go back soon, maybe with our friends Friday and Linus.  That will be so fun!  When we got back to our car we got to have some special snacks before we drove home.  Yummy!  And then we slept all the way home.

When we are sleeping after a good hike it is the best.  We are so tired and happy that every muscle in our body relaxes.  Mom says she can even see it in our faces.  Also, we get to dream about the day and it's like we are still there having a grand day out hiking.

We hope you enjoyed our hiking story, it took us over a week to get it finished.  We almost got busted one night too.  Zephyr got up in the middle of the night once and Mom heard him while he was turning the computer on!  Yea, I had to quick jump in the big chair and look all innocent like "Oh, I just want to sleep out here for awhile, he, he".  But geesh, someone had to do it, Mom certainly wasn't getting it done.


jet said...

Bender hates cows. If he sees them too close to the car he barks and froths at the mouth and carries on. I wouldn't let him close to them - they would probably kick him in the head!

Sue said...

WOW!!! what a fab hike. Glad your mum kept you ont he leash so you couldn't get into too much bother:)

Definitely not showing Song the instructions on how to get all muddied up:)

houndstooth said...

That is a fantabulous adventure! I wish I lived close enough to hike with you guys. It would just be the best. We never see rattlesnakes or cows on our hikes! I am currently working on digging a hole to China in the turn out pen and I took many notes on your technique!


jcp said...

What a great day! Love that pic of Astro with the muddy nose!

Hiking Hounds said...

Thanks everyone, we're glad you liked it. We wish we could go hiking with you too, Bunny. Sometimes it is lonely being the only greyhounds around. Good luck with your hole to China, we can't wait to see pictures.

GreytMusic said...

Amazing post! Thank you for sharing and putting that incredible work of art together!

KB said...

I had to smile - our first dog was named "Astro". He was a chocolate lab. It seemed so odd to hear another dog being called Astro in your story.

What a great hike! It must be wonderful to live in a place where you can do a desert-like dry hike or a snowy hike in the middle of winter.

Loved the demo of how to get muddy and stinky! I'm not showing it to my dog!

Aragon greyhounds said...

They looked like they had a blast. Lucky about the rattlesnake. I had a dog get bitten by a rattler several years ago. He made it but it left a huge scar on his face.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Wow, I tell you what guys, your Mum had better be careful or you'll be taking over the blog writing all the time. This is an awesome post:) Love the photos although the ones with Astro demonstrating your digging technique nearly made me cry ... your tail looks so gorgeous and Beryl hasn't got one any more:( But that's OK, we're cool with it now and I got lots of smiles from your story to cheer me up, thanks!