Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sleepy Creek Lake

We were unexpectedly reunited with Collette last week, when her adopter had to go out of town and asked us to watch her. Which was not a problem, as it seemed only right that she get to go on at least one camping trip with us.

We took off Saturday morning with me, as usual, in the dark about our destination. I had the chance to wrangle all 3 dogs for a remarkably peaceful walk along a trail in suburban Fairfax while Florian taught a private ballet lesson--during which we saw two deer, two Great Danes, and Fozzie stayed fairly calm on both occasions--and then we were off to Florian's camping land of mystery. 

We had discussed going someplace remote where we could relax a bit even with the three dogs, so I was a bit surprised when we came upon the familiar scenes of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. 

A sweet little town of herb shops, New Age trinket stores, and of course the renowned hot springs, which you can enjoy through one of the spas of through the public site in the park in the center of town. 

In the 90 degree heat we had to be a bit creative about how to check out the attractions; fortunately, most of the businesses are dog-friendly. The dogs were able to help Florian pick out a tie-dyed T-shirt, and then we cooled off those fevered paws in the cool stream running right through town. I waded in myself, but not too deep as there are huge crayfish in there and they've given me the heebie-jeebies ever since my big brothers threatened to throw them down my back when I was a kid. 

What I always forget about Berkeley Springs is how close it is to the Potomac and some amazing hiking and camping places.  

Just a couple of miles out of town we found an access point to the river and to the C & O canal. The dogs took no time at all to get into the water


And Florian was not far behind.
Collette just loves her sticks, and she loves chasing Fozzie around in the water, harassing him, and paddling around.

As far as I know she learned to swim just a few weeks ago--when we took her on another little trail in Virginia--and like most dogs learning to swim she is not what you  would call graceful.

She does the most ridiculous thing where the front half of her body rears up out of the water and her paws paddle up and down furiously, creating an enormous splash, while her face gets an incredibly serious look of concentration. 

 But then, I guess all dogs look kind of ridiculous when they swim.
After cooling off we took a nice stroll along the empty, always beautiful and slightly spooky C & O Canal trail, and then set off to find ourselves some tasty food to share with the dogs before heading off to Sleepy Creek Lake. 

It's the closest place we've found to camp near Berkeley Springs, accessible through a winding drive through the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area...State Department of Natural Resources-speak for a place you need to watch your ass during hunting season.

Fortunately, we encountered only benign presences along the road 

and awakened to a foggy morning on the lake complete with the deafening sounds of bullfrogs, spring peepers, and water birds. Fozzie stayed on his leash until the geese were safe in the center of the lake, and Collette stared out in wonder.

Thanks for the fun trip, everyone! Collette, I hope your mom comes home soon so I don't get too much more attached to you.


  1. You find the most beautiful places for the dogs to just enjoy. I always wonder how you handle them off leash and how they would react should a person or other dog approach you.

    Delilah has been swimming with us a couple of times but I don't feel like she is very graceful either. You can here the thump, thump, thump as she goes along. But as long as she is safe and enjoying herself, I'm fine with that.

  2. Wow Kirsten, that was a great outing. Everyone had big smiles. Crayfish?? Hmmm...pot of boiling water, some herbs, wine, garlic and onions....

  3. It looks like everybody had a lot of fun! I especially liked your "slightly spooky" trail.

    Elka seems perplexed and slightly freaked when we see deer. If I'm outside with her on the leash, she stares and stares until I either ask her to come away, or the deer leaves. If we're inside, she'll give her single "alarm" bark and stare out the door or window, trying to figure out what they are.

  4. It looks like everyone had a blast! I hope the photographer did too.

  5. Awesome photos! What a gorgeous place, and such fun for the dogs. That is great you had Collette again. She seems to fit in so perfectly with your two pups! Love all the water photos, it looks like the dogs really enjoyed playing in the water. You and your dogs go on such fun, beautiful adventures!

    K and Suka

  6. Looks like a fun way to escape that heat! Great foggy morning pic too!

  7. Sounds like a fun town and getaway. Bet Colette was happy to be with you guys
    Benny & Lily

  8. What a cool place!

    Stop on by for a visit

  9. beautiful destination!

    dontcha love dogsitting former fosters? its my favorite!!!

  10. What a lovely camping trip. I've always wanted to bike the length of the C&O canal so now I have a glimpse of what to look forward to.

    I hope Colette gets to go camping with her new adoptive family. She seemed to be having a great time.

  11. What a great camping trip. Brilliant to see the dogs have such a great time. Looks like a fab place.
    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.