Sunday, May 31, 2009

Air Force Academy to Farish Hike--with a twist

I have been scouting the approaches to the top of the Ramparts now for 2 years. As far as I can tell no one knows more about the different approaches than I. I have taken my dogs up Stanley Canyon, Up Eagle Peak, up the Rampart approach (with an excursion to Blodgett Peak) and all over the front range of the Ramparts. I have seen it all: One afternoon while timber crashing (my term for going off trail) we found a nicely worn bear trail, we have found several very old trails up what I call Deadman's lake forbidden trails, we have been up Eagle Peak searching for short cuts, up Rampart an untold amount of times. I think we want to go on a hike that few have attempted. It's longer than the standard Stanley hike, but it will be somthing new. The dogs are up to it. I need to train a little because this is no picinc. This will be a 10 hour hike of about 10 miles. Bridie is the point dog--she takes the front position. I could probably go in 15 miles cut her loose (actually she is always loose) and she could find her way back home no problem. I had no idea when we got her how good of a hiker she was. If you met her at the house you would think her a timid, nervuous dog, but one day hiking with her and you would know her as I do--I would never attempt to go out on half of the hikes I do without her--period. She has a natural sense about things--its uncanny. When we go timber crashing, she always knows the right way to go. I have, several times, gone in a direction I though would be the best, most easist way up or down a hill only to find her going a different direction, after getting in tight spots with Zamboni I have retreated to follow Bridie. Now after some hard lessons learned, I just tell Zamboni---follow Bridie. You would think a Golden Retriver could not get up a bolder field--I thought that approaching Eagle Peak for the first time. I said well this is it girls, we can't possilbe get up there. I was surprised to see here hopping from one rock to the next--I could not keep up with her. I actually had to pick up Zamboni (my Huskie) and carry her to the next level as she could not keep up with Bridie. A few hike later, here we are going up Blodget Peak and I could not keep up with either. They leap from one Boulder to the next, like its thier mission in life to stay ahead of the two legged dog (me). The lead picture is Zamboine on top of Blodgett peak ( a 5 hour hike). I was feeling guilt one day, because I never see anyone with their dogs on the hikes I go on. I thought, maybe, I should not be taking them on these trips. Until one day I was gone on a trip for a few weeks, I decided it was time for a short hike and when I got out the gear, Bridie actually was crying. She was trying to put on the harness ( I never hook her up--but have the harness as a precaution in case we come accross something where I might want to hook her up). Now its to the point that if I just move my backpack and make the slightest sound, both Bridie and Zamboni are on me as if it is time for another adventure. Okay I will admit, they say never, never ever hike alone. If that means hiking with people, I am guilty. However, I have my dogs and would take them over people any day of the week. I once fell going down a ridge,,, Immediatly both dogs were on me licking my face, hovering over me like I just had liver surgery. You can't get more loyal friends. Look I always go with 3 backup comm systems, I have a first aid kit, food and water for a few days. If something happens to me, I will be fine. I am in the mid stages of training Zamboini to go without a leash, Bridie has been there for two years. She does whatever I tell her. On a short hour hike, I had Zammers off the leash for about 20 min when she spotted something and took off. I called her back, nothihing, I tried again, nothing, I got out the treat bag and shook it, nothing. Finally, out of desperation I told Bridie to go get her, not really expecting her to do so. Much to my surprise, she took off into the woods and a few minutes later came back with Zamboni right behind. It was awesome. Of course Zammers got a scolding, and Bridie got a treat. My heart stopped racing and we called it a day. I still need about 6 months of good training before that Huskie will stick by me on long hikes without a teather. However, I do admint going uphill, there is an advantage to be teathered to a huskie with too much energy.

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