Monday, September 10, 2012

The Appalachian Trail

This weekend like true modern parents, we crammed as many events as possible in to make sure that Lamar, Fozzie, and Blue had the spiritual, physical, and emotional enrichment their growing minds need.

Saturday there was a dog fun day at a city pool in DC. Apparently a lot of city pools open up to dogs on the last day of the season, before they clean up and shut down for the winter.  

The Washington Humane Society let us know it might be a good opportunity for foster dogs to get some exposure. We brought Blue with her nice purple Adopt Me bandana, but it turned out dogs who came had to have a license. 

It was just as well; I'm not exactly fully at ease about Blue being around other dogs in such an exciting environment. What fun though to watch all the labs, beagles and other wet pups launch in and do the dog paddle.

So we used it as an opportunity for our girl to meet some other dogs under safe circumstances and see how she did. She did well--excited to see other dogs, but not overexcited like some other dogs I could mention. 

Then we brought her to DC's Eastern Market, one of my favorite places to go on a weekend. Lots of crafts, hippie dresses and local produce, and lots of people to meet and greet. She did great there too!

Saturday evening, we took Lamar and Fozzie with us while Florian taught a private ballet lesson in Virginia. It was a chance for me to take a nice, mellow walk with my boys in the cool post-storm evening air, and to watch the froggies jumping out in front of us as we walked. 

Did I just refer to a walk with Fozzie and Lamar as nice and mellow? Amazing what having three dogs, two of whom want to rip each other to shreds, will do! My sense of "normal" has shifted.

On Sunday, Florian took me to a section of the Appalachian Trail above Frederick, MD. 

I've always thought it would be cool to do a really long walk, ever since I read about the Peace Pilgrim--the woman who walked coast to coast spreading a message of peace and relying on strangers for food and shelter. 

I was also inspired by a book on tape I once listened to during a long road trip, Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods.  I don't remember the exact figures he cites, but I remember his potent message about how little, as a culture, we walk. 

Strip malls have replaced sidewalks until most walking anyone does is from the parking lot to the store, and then around the aisles until its back to the car for the drive home. Or maybe we drive to the health club, then find a place to park, so we can walk on the treadmill.

So there was something exciting to me about going on the mythical AT, where so many have gone for a really substantial walk and left behind that world of strip malls and treadmills.

Though not burdened by the enormous backpack of the through-hikers, we did have our own little challenges to surmount on our section of the AT.

Each time we encountered another dog on the trail I had to maneuver Fozzie into the woods on one side, but I found I'm so used to his outbursts by now that it doesn't even bother me to just pull him off trail and let him yodel away as the dog passes.

Though his harness and head halter combination makes him rub his nose against everything he can find--

grasses, ferns, the ground, your legs, your crotch--it sure does make it easier to manage him.

If I were going to walk the entire Appalachian Trail, would Fozzie eventually tire of flipping out every time he saw another panting frito friend?

Is that what we need to try, for Fozzie to reach the next level in his canine enrichment program?

Sign me up, I'm ready for a nice long walk in the woods.


  1. Walk Across America is another good walk book...we read it in school (8th grade?) The dude who wrote it had his dog, Cooper, with him as well. He started out on the Appalachian Trail, and the sequel, which I haven't read, covers the westward journey.

  2. You are such great doggie parents!! I tried to convince my HOA to let the dogs run through the pool before it closed, and I got DENIED! The woods are beautiful!

  3. I love the things you do with your dogs. Our world is confined to the small woods at the top of the street, but the dogs are enjoying it and I enjoy getting back to nature. Except for the bugs.....I could do without the bugs. :-)

  4. You sound a little melancholic, or am I imagining it? My Sister 1 did a pilgrimage walk more than 10 years ago. I can't imagine doing it myself. It sounded lonely. Though maybe solitude was part of the point. I HATE treadmills and gym bikes (I have to ride a few times these days for rehab). They make me feel like a hamster. Is Florian wearing a tie dye T from the markets? I love tie dye Ts and hippie dresses! :) X

  5. I'm with you on shifting senses of "normal". I honestly can't tell sometimes whether Maggie & Sadie are getting better walking with each other or if it just seems better compared to rambunctious Hurley walking with either of them.

    A long walk sounds wonderful!

  6. I read A Walk In The Woods. Bill Bryson is hilarious, and it stuck with me his thoughts on how little we as a nation walk and how much we miss by not walking. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. You're wonderful puppy parents...except for letting Blue drive (ha).

  7. Sounds and sure looks like a fun day
    Benny & Lily

  8. I've heard of that pool event, that's awesome! Good for Blue making friends in a safe and comfortable way. Ohhh your maneuvering comment reminds me of hiking with Madden. It was a chore but a chore we are totally used to, in fact I am pretty pro at this with any of my dogs who decide they want to "have a moment," as I call it.


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