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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Canicross Hikes 2009; Lake Maria State Park

Sweet Pea, Zala and Katsu help us up the hill

Lilly and Frankie aren't far behind

The lime green freshness of spring

The Big Woods trail

Beautiful swamps and bogs dot the area

Lilly and Frankie take a water break

Up the look-out hill

Dragon flies over head

Break time at the look-out

Vast beauty

The universe provided us with some good weather for this weekend's canicross hike. It was in the upper 60s and low 70s with blue skies filled with wispy clouds. Hailey, our ever-so-appreciated dog helper came along for the very first time so two Points Unknown sled dogs got to enjoy the hike.

Zala and Sweet Pea were the chosen ones. This would be Sweet Pea's first hike. She never seems to like the harnessing part of being a sled dog so she froze as usual, anticipating the ensuing chaos that can happen at hook up that she also does not like; dogs shouting at the top of their lungs, "pick me! pick me!" Instead, she seemed amazed to find that she was the only dog being hooked to the line and there wasn't a sound but the wind in the trees and the chirping of the birds. "What in the world am I supposed to do?", she must have thought as I gave the "ready, let's go" command. It took a gentle bump in the rump to remind her that "ready, let's go" means we start moving. She startled and ran forward as if to say, "oh ya, right". She then noticed the other dogs, singly attached to their people and she spotted Hailey with Zala. It was then the chase instinct began and off she went, pulling with all her might, to catch up with her pack member. There was no way she was going to let Zala lead! How strange it was to hear noises that we've never heard come out of Sweet Pea as she protested at her position in line. She whined and shouted at Zala to wait for us. Based upon her performance, I think Sweet Pea has found a new hobby.

This year we explored different parts of the park and in the end went close to six miles instead of the three to four we did last season. It seemed to be the year of the dragon fly. They greeted us at the park entrance and we came upon what seemed like hundreds of them in a lowland sumac grove at the base of a look-out hill. Dragon Flies are our friends because they eat those pesky mosquitoes we Minnesotans call our state bird so we hoped they would follow us on our entire journey. The mosquitoes did seem worst than last season but all in all weren't bad enough to dampen the mood on our hike. Once near the lake the mosquitoes seemed to disappear into the woods as the dogs took a dip and watched with anticipation as young fisher people reeled in tempting snacks.

Our next Canicross Hike is on Saturday, June 6th at Carver Park. I hope you'll join us! You don't have to be a northern breed sled dog to learn how to pull and join the fun!

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