When my daughter left for college, I had to get used to living alone for the first time ever. It wasn't pretty. All of a sudden, the only person I had to talk to was myself. It didn't take long until I'd grown very weary of me.
So, I landed on the brilliant idea of owning a dog. It was a dumb decision from the get-go and he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But, over the last two years, we've found a way to co-exist.
This morning, Bad Dog woke me at dawn. In spite of my initial reaction, this turned out to be one of those delicious Mondays where I ignored my garden chores and made up a lame excuse to wiggle out of work. We devoted the entire afternoon to goofing off.
A half mile bike ride, from home, delivers us to the beginning of the Round Valley Trail and from there we take a shortcut to McLeod Creek.
It starts out with a stroll through a lush, green meadow filled with wildflowers. I recognize Globe Mallow, Dame's Rocket, Indian Paintbrush and Wild Geraniums. Did you know that honey bees are responsible for the pollination of over 80% of America's wildflowers? I didn't either. What would we do without Google?
The next order of business is to bark at the horses. That's always fun - especially when the owner runs out to yell at me.
We finish our day with an icy cold dip in the creek. My job is to observe... and to run when he climbs out of the water and starts shaking himself off. McLeod Creek is fed from melted mountain snows. Even in August it quickly freezes your toes.
And, then we turn around and head for home. This is my favorite part of the journey because he's so exhausted he walks quietly by my side all the way back to the trailhead. "He's an angel... He's gorgeous..." Other hikers are filled with compliments for my well-behaved dog.
If they only knew....