Outdoors Magazine

Joy Times Two

By Hikingwithheather @HikingHeather
I haven't been hiking much lately and I hate it when people are constantly saying they're "too busy" for this or that, so I'm not going to make excuses. Truth is, lately I just want to be home. I'm enjoying being in our little "nest" and doing stuff around the house.
Joy Times Two
Jake and Charlie are enjoying our quiet 5am weekday walks and then Jake gets another sunset walk by himself in the evenings. We hang out in our backyard a lot and spend time out at Alan's house where there's more space to run.
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But I've really missed being immersed in the woods; surrounded by green and uncluttered quiet.
So we woke up really early on Sunday morning, made some coffee for my thermos and took a 20-minute drive to the Dells of the Eau Claire County Park.
Joy Times Two
Joy Times Two
Joy Times Two
I figured with it being so early, we wouldn't have to deal with any other hikers and most of the campers would be busy packing up since it was the end of the weekend.
I was right. We had the place to ourselves. And it was sublime.
The skies were a swirl of gray clouds, making the green of the ferns and trees even more vibrant. Bird-song filled the woods and a light breeze ruffled the canopy above us.
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I kept Jake and Charlie on-leash for the first part of the hike, but quickly realized this was going to be too difficult to keep up for long. I eventually let them off-leash and it worked out great. Jake stuck by Charlie's side and even though they'd trot ahead, they always came back to check on me.
Joy Times Two
Joy Times Two
Jake takes his time smelling everything; experiencing everything for the first time. Charlie can sometimes be impatient, but I think having to wait for Jake helps remind her to slow down too.
I think we could all take a life lesson from puppies and treat everything as if it were new and worthy of taking our time to experience all over again.
Joy Times Two
Joy Times Two
At one point, I think Jake became intoxicated with all the sights, smells and sounds (as well as his freedom to roam) and got a serious case of the zoomies! He was running like crazy through the shallows of the river edge, up the riverbank, through the woods, and down the trail, and then turning in a tight circle with his tail tucked to do the whole loop again. Charlie and I just stood there watching him, in awe of his speed and maneuverability. He's really beginning to grow out of his puppy clumsiness and becoming quite athletic!
Joy Times Two
Joy Times Two
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Eventually I had to make him stop for fear that he'd crash into a tree! We took a few minutes to catch our breath before back-tracking our steps to the parking lot.
Joy Times Two
It was a magical morning watching these two pups experiencing nature and reminding me why I love hiking so much. I missed the forest and the river and it was good to be back.


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