Roving Retrievers-Tails and Trails

A “tail” of two Golden Retrievers (and their humans)as they travel west:

Day 4 Boulder, hike up Mount Sanitas

It was a restless night for all last night. I know, I was awake most of the night to listen to everyone tossing, turning, shaking, and scratching. We woke just like we do every morning, Bobby’s tail slapping across the side of the bed reminding us it’s the start of another day. It’s early, 5:30-ish and we do not have a routine. Even if you are a group of one, you need a routine. We are a group of four, it’s dark, it’s early, and being the typical males MJ, Bobby, and I are, we look to Sue for direction. Bobby has one thing on his mind and Sue makes certain his needs are attended to immediately. So while Sue feeds the dogs, I throw on my clothes so I can take the dogs outside. MJ scoffs at his food bowl giving it a cursory glance, outside we go.

The downside to where we are staying is it is in town and doesn’t have a yard or grass. It’s dark, I should have put on a headlamp. Boulders street light system in town is almost non-existent, I can’t see a thing. I let the dogs decide which way we are going to go, all I want is a warm cup of coffee which Sue said she would brew. The sooner the boys do their thing, the sooner I get my coffee. MJ and Bobby both end up “dropping a deuce”, I can see one pile I can’t see the other. I am fumbling with the roll of doggie potty bags, unable to see the perforation to tear one off. Of course the dogs are finished and start walking while I am trying desperately to pick up their junk…UGH! I’m finally able to locate the second pile, secure the bags and we head back to the carriage house for coffee. I take note, tomorrow I’ll tear the bags off before we start our walk, I’ll bring a headlamp, check.

We walk in and Sue announced the bad news. The pound of coffee we brought with us is whole bean, we don’t have a grinder. That’s ok, it is exactly 6:00 am, the Starbuck app shows we are three blocks away from a store that just opened. Leash up the dogs again, we head out. We find the Starbucks…closed. The sign on front says they open at 6:00, not a soul to be seen inside. Sue said it best, “Damn Millennials!” Open up the Starbucks app, a one mile walk to the next one, perfect early morning dog walk.

It turned out to be a great walk. The sky was crystal clear. The perfect time in the morning when you look west, the sky is pitch black and as you turn toward the east you are treated to the subtle orange glow of a rising sun in the distance. The beautiful transition of colors in between, so refreshing. The cold morning air accentuates the beauty of that glow providing just enough light to allow a sneak peak of the mountain views we would see shortly, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee.

Morning glow over Stores near Starbucks

Morning glow over Stores near Starbucks

We needed to get back, Sue and Michelle planned on early morning yoga before our hike up to Mount Sanitas.

Mount Sanitas is one of the many hikes in the area which is pet friendly. You can take your dog off leash and hike to the top. The trailhead is about 4 blocks from Michelle’s house so we load the dogs in the car and drive to her house. As it is so convenient to her house, this is one of Michelle’s favorite hikes, we can’t wait to go. Even though MJ doesn’t move like he once did we thought he’d be able to make the trek, if he starts to tire, we’ll just walk slower. The day was sunny and warming up quickly. We left Michelle’s house and made it to the trailhead in minutes. Once there we unleashed Bobby and Michelle’s dog Charlie thinking MJ would do better on leash. It was a busy Saturday on the trail, people with their dogs all running around greeting each other as they passed on the way up. The Mount Sanitas trail is a relatively short hike, approximately 1 ½ miles to the top with an elevation gain of 1,200 + feet. Once on the trail the work starts immediately. Many of the steps up require Sue to help MJ lift his rear quarter up to the next level. As mentioned it was quite warm so after 15 minutes we stop to let the dogs drink water. MJ is shaking, we’re afraid he really has no business being on this trail so we make the decision to walk him back to the house. Poor guy.

We head back to start the hike all over. Without having to worry about MJ, the hike goes well. The dogs are having a blast, they run ahead, almost out of sight and return back down wondering why we’re moving so slow. At the top we are treated to spectacular views of the entire area. Photo op at the top and we start our way down. As there are two trails to the top of Mount Sanitas.  Michelle suggests taking the alternate trail down so we can explore the other side of the mountain. As the trail was quite congested going up, and the other trail is not so heavily traveled, it sounded like a great idea.

Photo Op climbing Sanitas

Photo Op climbing Sanitas

Top of Sanitas with dogs

Top of Sanitas with dogs

The very start of the trail was much steeper requiring special attention to footing as the steps down were quite huge. The dogs were doing great, having made this hike many times, Charlie was showing Bobby the quickest route around the obstacles that lay in their way. As we descended the grade became easier and the trail eventually became almost a steep gravel road. From time to time we would come to a fork in the trail, Charlie always knew which way to go. At one point Bobby took a wrong turn, I noticed he wasn’t with Charlie so I started calling and whistling for him. He was not paying attention when he got on a trail he was not supposed to be on. The two trails had a wire fence separating them which Bobby could not see the wire. When called, Bobby in a full on sprint headed for us, not seeing the wire fence or thinking he was way smaller to fit through it. We tried yelling to stop but he was too excited. He exploded into the fence, his face somehow making it between the horizontal strands of wire, but his rear left leg seemed like it may have gotten hung up for a brief moment. The momentum of his weight carried him through, but he let out a yell that in my mind I can still hear. He ran up to us on three legs crying like we have never heard. He stopped at my feet, crying and shaking. Sue and I looked at him thinking we would see blood, thank goodness there was none. He kept is paw off the ground not wanting to put any weight on it. I thought for certain he broke his foot or leg. We had about ¾ of a mile left to get back so as soon as he calmed down I picked him up and started to carry him. Let me tell you, 80 lbs is not a lot of weight but when it’s “live weight” it weighs a lot more. I walked about 100 yards before I had to take a break. He kept his paw off the ground, he was panting so we gave him water. As he was drinking I noticed he tried to put weight on his foot and when he did he didn’t whimper at all. A positive sign, perhaps nothing was broken. I picked him up again and walked another 100 yards and had to put him down again. This time he put weight on his foot and took a couple of steps. Sue put his leash on so we could determine if he’d be able to walk. Thank goodness he seemed ok! We left him on leash and walked slow. 10 minutes later he seemed fine. We think he probably bruised his leg but at the speed he hit the fence it probably scared him. As I wrote in my first blog…Bobby is a knucklehead!

So back to the house to let the dogs eat and rest. Sue and I ran to the grocery store as we needed to get food in the house. We invited Michelle over for a quick home cooked pork chop dinner and so ended another fun, busy, and certainly exciting day. Tomorrow we are headed on another hike, much longer and higher than todays hike so a good night rest in in order.