August 1, 2010
We began our day today with a 4 hour hike. It was good because since Shyla has been sick we have not been afforded the opportunity to take long or strenuous hikes as her muscles have not been strong enough to handle them. There was a period of time that the combination of medicine and lack of activity she was unable to even stand on her own. She has come a long way since then and on this trip seems to have grown so much stronger. It is good to see her happy and eager to be on the go. She does fine on short or flat surfaces but that limits our choices and so we are looking forward to this hike today.
Our campground is on a road that dead ends about 4 miles further north in the national forest. There is a campground located at the trail head and it appears to be very popular even though there is no water or electricity hookups. Colorado’s camping mostly consists of primitive sites with water obtained only at the restroom, and sometimes even the restrooms are chemical stations only. Electricity is a luxury usually only found at private campgrounds and at most of the state parks. But I am not complaining as this is the state that is know as the “Colorful State” due to its magnificent mountains, streams, and plains. Modernization changes things and I think keeping the primitive sites preserves the beauty of the land surrounding them.
The trail is a steady climb into the mountains and follows along a stream as it makes it way down the mountain. The stream is one of many that eventually runs into Vallecitio Lake. You can see the stream most of the time, even though it is usually about 50 feet or so below you and sometimes more. The trail crosses the stream three times and includes going around the cliff hangings of rock faces. The trail can be strenuous at times but is well defined by use. It would seem that the national forestry rangers do a great job of keeping it maintained as there is evidence along the way of big rock slides that would cover the trail.
Along the way we passed several groups and individuals coming out and coming in. On our way back we passed a group of three packing what looked like backpackers gear. Later as we signed back out (a log is posted that you can sign in to notify rangers that you are on the trail system in case something happens) we saw that they have planned a 5 day hike trip and will be camping in the wilderness as they go. This same group had a dog that also had a pack attached to carry its own food. I have seen these before but never actually on the animal. Great idea! Maybe we should get Shyla one and she can carry the water bottles instead of me always putting them in my pants pockets.
Just as we were returning the sky decided to give us an early soak and so as we neared our vehicle we were wet from a combination of sweat and rain.
Showered and changed into dry clothes and then took the 30 minute drive to pick up Shyla. She surprised us by having what seemed an emotional outbreak at seeing us arrive. Normally she is so quiet. We may get a woof here and there but really they are so rare that they even surprise us. Today however, upon our arrival were greeted with intense barking. She could hardly contain herself as I tried unlocking the kennel gate. We have never seen her this animated and excited before.
The kennel (or I guess I should continue with the term “spa”) has a refreshing approach. They really rely on honesty. You can pick your pet up anytime….and I mean literally anytime…. 7pm…1 am….it doesn’t matter as the kennel is kept unlocked. Each day they just update the receipt with the fees for that day. No one has to be there to check you out…..you just leave a check for the fees or your credit card info (even that seems so strange in this day and age with credit card theft abound). It has been a long time since I have experienced that type of trust. Very refreshing.
Arriving back at camp we spent the rest of the day in relax mode…..well Andrew and I did…..Shyla spent the rest of the afternoon redefining the territory rules to the chipmunks!