Mr. Shadow

Over at Andy's last week for some Skittle infusion, Shadow decided to lure me back into the conversation with his cuteness.

 Lockwood hike and home

Kris and I managed to sleep most of the night through last night, with Kris' waking to the smell of Andy's coffee and my waking to the thud of an excited Blue landing on top of me, bringing the tent down in the process.

Nothing like using a sixty pound dog as wake up call.

That same dog makes a great escort in the middle of the night when there might be coyotes and other large animals roaming around, and you're not sure if it's safe to walk around the small building, across a small open space to the other side of the hilltop, in order to pee.

Andy thinks that Blue didn't actually sleep last night, that he maintained watch the whole night. I know that Annie wriggled her way out of the tent in order to sit watch for a while. She did, however, recognize the warmth of the tent, and wormed her way back into the tent, sitting on Kris' head in the process.

This morning, I was, unsurprisingly, the last person up, with Bella being the last of the seven of us actually getting up.

After breakfast, a meal that Bella thought meant, "We're going home!" but really meant, we're heading off for another hike. Having climbed to the top of the hill he'd been wanting to climb, and discovering another hill beyond it, he decided he wanted to climb THAT hill to see if there was another hill beyond it.

Interestingly enough, I think all of the dogs have decided that I am the source of all that is good. That is to say, food.

So, off we went on our hike, pretty much following the same trail that Kris and Andy (and Blue and Shadow and Annie and mostly Bella) took yesterday. The six of us (where the six of us were the seven of us minus Bella, who was, once again, on her own hike again) went out the back way, down the hill, up the next one, and along the ridge. Up and over a couple hills, to the top of one hill, to discover the next range of hills after that range.

For the way back, we decided not to go back the same way we came up, and opted instead to hike back "towards the water tower." We found a copse of pine trees, though how they survived, much less grew so big, on the top of the hill with little water, I have no idea.

Bella kept up with us, following her own path, sometimes being ahead of us, sometimes being behind us, but always walk walk walking at her own pace.

At one point, I stopped to squat, and Bella passed me, to catch up with Kris and Andy. Kris decided to wait for me, Andy decided to continue. At that point, we lost Andy. He went off either down toward a large ravine or down towards a dropoff of unknown height. We decided to try to the left, towards the large ravine.

After a few hundred meters, Kris was less confident about the direction we were going, so decided to turn around. Bella was in front of us when we made this decision, being the only dog with us. I hurried up to her, turned her around, and hustled her back the way we had come.

We had walked just far enough for Bella to disappear over the hill we were scrambling up when we heard Andy call out to us, why were we walking back the wrong way? Eh?

We called for Bella to come back, but, being on her own hike, she just kept going. We turned back back around, headed back to the ravine, scrambled up and around around the ravine, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Must to my pleasant surprise, Bella figured out our mistake, had turned around, and was coming back our way. She didn't seem too pleased about our mistake, deciding not to greet us when she caught up to use, and just walked right by.

Much like yesterday, according to Kris.

We wandered down to the bottom of Crews Hill, walked up Crews Road to the top of the hill, and gathered up our stuff. The dogs were sufficiently tired out to sleep all the way back home.

I'm happy to say when we made it home, I was able to stop by a Starbucks and buy a hot chocolate. A premium hot chocolate.

One I'd been talking about for the previous day, to Andy's consternation, I think.

 Shadow is Welsh!

From Andy:

I think shadow is half border collie, half welsh collie! We met a welsh
collie at the beach today. Same size and leg length as shadow, same
coloring, similar fur length. The long legs are an adaptation for herding
cattle. Also some similar mannerisms. But the welsh collie doesn't do the
"stare down" that you use for sheep (or shadow uses on Blue). And the welsh
collie has floppy ears that won't stand up on their own. Shadow can keep his
ears up. Otherwise, they could be twins. The lady also had a border collie,
so it was easy to do a side by side comparison. The border was way more
focussed on fetching, which is typical of other border collies I've seen,
and it was also "normal" sized (maybe 6 inches shorter and 15 lbs lighter).

 Not Blue.

Okay, so, there were other parts of today's hike that weren't about Blue (no, really!).

Andy shows me that we're here! Yay, the beach!

We found a really big tire on the beach:

Bella was very puppy-dog on the beach, with her ears flapping in the wind:

A very happy Bella:

Annie found a dead seal on the beach, and showed it to me just before she rolled all over it.

Poof! New beagle!

All in all, a good day:

 Confuse 'em

Andy IM'd this morning and asked if we were interested in taking the dogs to the park. Go outside and play? Uh, yes? Kris had plans at noon, so wanted only to go to the local park. We went off to the park, three people, four dogs in tow.

I expected each dog to do his usual thing: Bella would sniff everything along the perimeter; Annie would run run run, then sniff along the perimeter, waiting for a lapse in our awareness to make her escape; Blue would chase the disc as long as Andy threw it; and Shadow would alternate between playing defense on Blue and hovering near one of the people for a quick snuggle.

To my surprise, Bella came out to play with us, chasing one of us when someone was running around, and dodging us when one of us was chasing her. She artfully zipped among the three of us, swerving in and out, juking one way and dashing the other when we made to cut her off. Bella pretended to be a 2 year old dog, and endeared her little heart to us.

Shadow also surprised me by chasing me down, nipping at my legs and herding me back to the pack when I tried to run down Annie, who had "wandered" away. When I turned on him and started chasing him, Andy and Kris joined in, turning the herder into the herdee.

When we were done, Andy asked if I was interested in heading to Ft. Funston, confuse the dogs by giving them not one, but TWO outings. I was up for it, so off we went. Although the trip was billed as a "fool the dogs and go on a hike," in reality it was, "display how inaccurate Kitt's timing is with her new camera."

Andy asked if I could take a picture of Blue mid-air. Sure! So, throughout the hike, I took pictures of Blue. Note, I didn't say I "took pictures of Blue mid-air." No, that would have required good timing on my part. instead, I managed an off-frame picture of Blue:

A distant shot of Blue:

A close shot of Blue:

Blue chasing birds in the surf:

Blue eating sand:

Way after a catch:

Just a little after the catch:

Waaaaaay before the catch to compensate:

And so far before the catch, Blue was still spinning:

But, you know, you take enough pictures, ONE of them is bound to be good, right?

Of course, there's the shot of Andy, to prove he was there, too:

Of my dogs, well, I have a lot of pictures of their butts:


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