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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Canicross Hikes 2011; Points Unknown Kennel

Crossing the Oake Lake trestle bridge

Annie, Zala, Aise, Ziggy and Illy

A break at the coffee shop

Illy and Alison watch the activity in town

Ziggy never gets table scraps (or so we've been told).

Annie and Ziggy wait patiently for any crumbs that might happen to fall their way

The Points Unknown crew - Zala, Aise and Illy. This rest stop is where Aise finally settled down. She was so hyped up to go that we spent the entire 3 mile journey to the coffee shop working with a pretty annoying behavior. She would lunge forward then when she hit the harness, she would jump into the air, scream and turn to bite it for apparently keeping her from going the speed she thought she should be traveling. We corrected her dozens of times, praised the momentary good behavior and traded off trainers so our frustration wouldn't begin to interfere with a fair correction, after making certain the harness wasn't causing her any pain. We're happy to report that on the return trip, not once did she lunge and bite her harness. Now let's see how good her long term memory is when we have our next canicross hike in a couple weeks. We see her over exuberant behavior as an indication that she is going to be an excellent sled dog. Now we just need to channel that energy so she uses it for good and not evil!

Zala is looking cool in her camo hat

Neil's hands create a make-shift bowl for water along the route

Honey Bee swarm

Newly hatched painted turtle

A last minute change of plans brought us all to begin our Canicross Hike last weekend at the Points Unknown kennel. Excellent training moments were found on the route chosen. We began heading down our long driveway and along the lake and hooked up with County Road 20 where we remained for only a short distance before catching the gravel cut-a-cross road to the Luce Line Trail. Here, we hiked along Oake Lake, through the woods and all the way into Watertown and along the Crow River. Our half way point was the Crow River Coffee Company which is, as you might have guessed, along the Crow River. It was obvious by the turning heads that the passersby in "downtown" Watertown had never seen such a sight as we hiked across the bridge and down main street with our canicross gear on, being pulled by dogs in harnesses.

There's a great spot to sit outside the coffee shop. We all took turns hanging on to the dogs while others went in to place orders for snacks, lunch and water for the dogs. The rest stop was perfect for the dogs. Even though the temps were cool, the sun was beating down on us while out of the shade and the dogs were beginning to get warm. By the end of the break, there were no panting dogs which gave us the indication that we could forge ahead and begin our return journey back to the kennel. Because the temperatures were climbing, we took a shortcut through the woods and on the edge of a neighboring alfalfa field. Here, we were cautious to remain at a safe distance from the neighbor's honey bee hives and while doing so, witnessed a swarm of honey bees that had followed their queen out of the hive, landing in a huge clump on a shrub nearby. To add to our "wildlife" spotting during this hike, Eli found a newly hatched painted turtle and helped her make it safely down to the lake.

Dogs, people and turtle returned safely to their destination, thus reaching the end of another canicross hike.

The next hike is on June 11th at Minnewashta Regional Park in Chanhassen, MN.

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