3 Days of Canoeing, Camping and a bit of Hiking…Happy Dogs!

The weather has been exceptionally rainy and wet…and a spell of 5 days with heat index over 90…time to pack up the boat and head off for some camping. We stayed at a campsite within 50 yards of the canoe launch, and were serenaded by loons and bullfrogs ( along with some thunder-boomers) all during the first night. We did manage to get a sunset paddle in, until  the  clouds became quite ominous.

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The morning of day 2, we were out bright and early. The dogs were fascinated by a large family of ducks swimming right near the canoe. We think Edgar has a bit of bird-dog in his “unspecified heritage”.

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The dogs were well behaved on the paddle; we saw quite a few loons, a few loon chicks; we kept our distance, but we were able to partake of their amazing calls.  The dogs kept ears perked, and eyes peeled, but have come to expect seeing these wonderful birds. The preservation efforts are definitely paying off!

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The pups decided to take the boat out themselves, for a ducky little paddle!

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On Day 3, we drove 5 miles to another part of the large state park, and portaged  ( lugged) the canoe 100 yards, to a 48 acre, isolated, pond; only the sounds of birds, and the wonderful loon calls, at 6:30 am. The water was like a mirror, and it was a lovely paddle.

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Before heading home, we took the dogs for about a 90 minute easy hike; cool and peaceful; the humidity had finally dropped, and it was a nice way to end the weekend.

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More Dryland training Needed!

Given the record rainfall recently, the nearby canoe access remains feasible, as an entry point for early morning paddles. We arrived at the parking area at 0615; there was nary a place to be had! Apparently, the first weekend without rain in over 2 months had brought out large groups of kayak and canoe campers, who had headed out the previous day. We saw at least 8 campsites in use (these are not maintained campsites), but we were the only canoe on the water ( we saw one other boat, a sculler gliding oh-so smoothly!)

This access requires about 200 yards of travel through narrow channel; the banks are lined with grass and trees, just brimming with birds of all types, multiple herons and their nests, frogs and jumping fish. This proved to be quite a distraction for Edgar today… he was repeatedly turning around, to see and smell all the sights. Not being a “bad dog”, just a very wiggly one. We decided we need a bit more practice at the sit-stay maneuver; we also need to keep the “religious collar” (you know, the one that makes a believer out of him) on him in the boat as a reminder; he knows when it is on him, and just seems to mind better.

Once we hit the broad water, things were a bit more sedate!

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A Foggy Fourth and a little Rant…..

We had a lovely paddle early on the 4th, before the crowds and (most of)  the powerboats arrived on the lake. The water level is quite high ( as can be seen in the photo). but the water was calm, and there was not as much flotsam as we have seen other times.

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(Normal shoreline level is where the arrow is)

The dogs had  a great time; it has been very hot and stormy lately, so our hiking and canoeing trips have been a bit curtailed.

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And now for the rant…as we approached shore to take out the canoe, we saw a large dog running loose, tearing back and forth across the area, running up to other folks onshore, chasing a car at the parking area, and basically, looking to be having a great, (but completely uncontrolled) time. Once the dog appeared to be settled by his owners, along with their other dog, we landed the boat as far away from them as possible. Now, this is not a designated dog beach or dog park; it is a state park, that allows folks, and dogs, to use it before it opens each morning. Normally, dogs are not allowed, except at the boat launch, for loading and unloading boats only. Our dogs, always on leash, were being led away from the  boat; suddenly, the active dog came barreling at us from 100 yards away, warp 9, followed shortly by their dog #2.  Our dogs get along with other dogs, participate in agility and obedience groups, and hike and snowshoe with other dogs…but they are skittish around unfamiliar dogs that suddenly, or excitedly approach them.  We also have trained out dogs to behave at the boat launch, where there may be other kayakers, canoeists, jet-skis, SUPs, etc….The owners could not get their dogs to recall, and they were saying the ANNOYING  ” But they’re friendly” .  We were accused of being at fault. Somehow, we managed to keep our mouths shut, and not say what we really felt like saying…I know that others feel the same frustration, and I found a great blog author, that sums up our sentiments; check it out!

http://smartdog.typepad.com/smart_dog/2013/05/protect-yourself-and-your-dog-from-an-off-leash-dog.html#comment-6a00e54fae153788330191041d8766970c

Yeah, feel better now!