Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trail Running Wiener Dogs

Today I decided to go for a walk on the trail at Leona Heights Park. To be honest this isn't really much of a park. It is more like a gated off parking area next to the road. There is a nice creek that runs through the "park" are there is a trail that follows the creek up the canyon away from the road.  The start of the trail has a series of wooden bridges that allow the trail to  cross the creek several times. It was surprising how much water was flowing in the creek given the small amount of rain we have had so far this year. 

Shortly after leaving the bridges behind the trail becomes a little challenging. Since the trail runs along side a creek there are several places where a good portion of the trail has washed away and the trail is very narrow. There are also places where the trail is muddy and you have to be careful with your footing. In many places it is a pretty sharp drop off down 20+ feet to the rocky creek bed if you should go off the edge of the trail.  I had worked myself a pretty good way up the trail and was facing a decision. Did I want to cross the creek yet again ( this time on a single plank put down so you didn't have to get wet going across the creek) or back track a little bit and take another trail that went up the side of the canyon. As I was trying to decide what to do along comes a guy running up the trail. Behind him were 3 small dogs. One dog was a black Lab puppy. The other two dogs were wiener dogs. The runner went past me with a nod and a friendly hello and he went across the plank crossing the creek and up the steep section just after the creek crossing. The dogs didn't find the creek crossing so easy though. The plank was up on some rocks. While these rocks weren't much of a problem for your average person to step onto they were quite the obstacle for all three dogs.  The Black Lab puppy took a few moments trying to figure out how to get on top of the rocks to the plank that crossed the creek. After a few moments the Lab puppy decided he would skip the plank and jumped up on another smaller rock and slid his way across the rock to a point where he could jump to the opposite bank. The wiener dogs though felt their best option was to use the plank, if only they could figure out how to get up the rocks. 

The runner had stopped at the top of the steep section of the bank and was calling encouragement to his running companions. After several anxious moments the first of the wiener dogs figured out where to jump to be able to get to the creek crossing plank. The second wiener dog took a while longer to finally figure out how to get to the top of the rock, even after watching his partner figure it out.  Finally the runner and his doggy companions were back on their way.

I decided to back track and take the other trail and explore the canyon wall leaving the creek behind. Unfortunately the several different trails I explored ended up being pretty over grown. I could have pushed through the brush but it looked like I was going to come out into someone's back yard and I didn't want to do that so I started to retrace my path back down to the creek trail. From pretty far up the canyon side I could see the run and his dogs heading back down the creek trail. Suddenly there was a bunch noise from the dogs. It seems one of the wiener dogs had slipped off the trail and had slid down into the creek bed. Needless to say it was way to steep for the poor dog to work his way back up onto the creek trail under his own abilities.  The runner had to work his way down into the creek to rescue his dog. Of course then the runner had the same problem of how to find a place where he could get back himself and dog back onto the trail. All the while the other two dogs were making anxious sounds not sure if they should try and follow their master or stay where they were.  After a few minuted the runner finally found a place where he could climb out of the creek and back onto the trail with his dog in hand. With runner and dogs reunited on the trail once again the group continued on their journey towards home. 

For most of the rest of my walk home I pondered how wiener dogs aren't the best breed of dog to have if your hobby is trail running and you want to take your dong on lots of trail runs.

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