August 23rd, 2016
It has been challenging to get Bailey outside for her afternoon walk. The puppy fur disappeared quite some time ago. A thick, heavy adult coat took its place. Although our summers are nothing like those ones that people living in the south experience, the heat is more than enough for our gal. Sidewalk walking and open park space are not suitable for the “black beastie” when the sun is shining and temperatures hover over 16 degrees Celsius. Bailey has been snoozing way too much in my opinion and the male young’uns in the household have parked themselves in front of the big screen for movie marathons. I could see it was time for action! The crew loaded up in the van that was way too hot – more grumbling from the gang and a drooly Newf to boot. Halfway to our destination, the air conditioning had hit its stride. I announced that the family would be hiking up to the waterfall on one of our Menihek Nordic Ski Club trails. Much of the trail is shaded by tall pines. The uphill climb is well-worth the effort because Bailey can wade in the slower-moving portions of the stream and drink huge quantities of refreshing mountain water. She is motivated to exert herself in the heat with this reward waiting for her. And so, our hike began.
I am always amazed how different the cross-country ski trails appear in the summer from the winter. The vegetation is now lush and overspills onto the trails. Clusters of berries hang off the plant branches. On this hike, we came across three wild grouses (Labrador turkeys as we like to call them) moving amongst the tall grass lining the trail. Bailey eyed them up but, remained sitting until they had moved on. She is definitely not a hunting dog. We resumed walking upward and Bailey took in the smells. A couple of squirrels chattered down at us as if we were going to steal their horde of nuts and seeds. By this time, my youngest son was wishing that I had packed snacks. We reached the waterfall somewhat sweaty. Bailey wasted no time in cooling her paws and sucking back the water. I hesitated to say anything to my son who was happily gulping down the water downstream from Bailey’s spot. What’s a little dog drool?
The other son was scrambling up the stairs on one side of the waterfall before crossing the bridge at the top and returning down the steps on the other side. I considered following him. However, Bailey showed no signs of wanting to get out of the water. She had waddled uphill on a warm day. Who was I to deny her this pleasure? Eventually, Bailey did emerge refreshed and gamed to get back on the trail. We continued until the 2.9 km turnoff was reached before heading back. The hike back went quicker as much of it was downhill. Despite the heat, even Bailey picked up speed. She stopped long enough to refill with stream water that originated from the waterfall above us. I appreciated not having to haul water for her. The final dip came when we reached the lake situated by the lodge. Everyone seemed in better spirits from hiking outdoors. Our slightly wet Newf clamoured into the van, promptly lay down and closed her eyes. The drive home was punctuated with loud snores originating from our sweetness. She had earned her nap.