Ticked off, times two

Kris and I made the journey to the Gulls again yesterday, this time taking the girls for a Christmas hike. We were planning on a long hike for Christmas day, where long is greater than three hours. After the call exposing the amazing gifts from the Gulls, we switched plans and asked if they were up for a hike, too. They were interested, but for a shorter one that Liza could walk, and suggested the trails around their new house. A few minutes later, we were on our way.

Kate had been on the trail we were going to hike. The trailhead was near the end of their road, so we wandered down the road, and turned to head along the trail back around to their house.

Once we hit the trail, Kris was terribly keen on letting the dogs off their leashes. Since the trail was along private property, Mike and Kate could give us permission to allow them off leash. I was a little worried about letting them off the leash: that Annie would take off and not return; that Bella would wander off and not return. When we let them off leash at other park, we're confident we'll find them again because not only is the park fenced in (leaving only about 30 acres where the dogs could get lost), but the interesting smells are centralized so they don't go too far. Annie is a beagle in fur only, she acts more like a lab or collie, in that she'll run away along a trail for twenty-thirty yards, then run back to see that you're following, run forward, run back and check. Bella is a true beagle, she puts her nose down, starts sniffing, and wanders away, following her nose.

After a short way down the trail, I agreed to let the dogs off the leashes, but quickly changed my mind when we had to stand around for ten minutes waiting for Bella to wander back to us. We put her on a leash, but left Annie to run, since she seemed to be following us.

Definitely a mistake, as she caught a scent and took off. We kept walking for a bit, as Annie's howls followed us as we walked along, but had to stop again when she seemed to be running along the top of the ridge instead of near us. Some of her howls were almost desperate, a sound Kris assured me meant only that she wanted us to come to her, see what she had caught.

After standing around for another ten or fifteen minutes, and hearing Annie's howls become fainter, I decided to run back to find Annie. I have no idea what possessed me to think that, after three years of ignoring me, Annie would suddenly stop chasing the delicious smell she was following, and come when I called for her. Clearly just dumb on my part.

I gave up after running a quarter mile back along the trail, and ran back to the group, telling Kris he had to go get Annie, she wasn't listening to me. Shock. Mike went with Kris as Kate, Liza, Maeryn and I went back up along the trail. We waited for close to half an hour before Kate gave Liza and I trail directions and instructions on how to break into the house, so that we could turn off the oven, saving the Christmas turkey. Mike hadn't been on the trail before, so Kate didn't feel comfortable just hiking away from Kris and him. She went back to find the boys, as Liza and I went home.

Liza was a trooper. She walked the whole trail, complaining only briefly in the last quarter mile or so. However, even that complaining wasn't really complaining so much as telling me she was tired, and, heck, so was I.

Mike and Kate asked us to stay for dinner, which was a tasty, tasty meal. We went home a little later. After we checked the dogs for ticks, I went to take a shower. That's when I discovered the little hitchhiker.



The poor shadow placement, not withstanding.

I'm really beginning to hate ticks. This is number two in as many years, and, as far as I'm concerned, two too many.

Especially since both are from chasing the dogs into the bushes.