Meet Buffy, my hiking partner. She’s a 7-year-old, 95 pound chocolate lab. I do what I do when we hike. She explores, follows scents and plays in the creek if there’s water. Occasionally she stops and stays where she is until she sees me. She never wanders far. She’ll also sit patiently nearby while I’m taking pictures. She minds well, is SO smart, is personable and overly friendly — and I’m not one bit prejudice. Buffy does have an alpha personalty, which she seldom shows unless it’s necessary.
One of my favorite times we had together was during a camping trip here at my rural property. I left the rain flap off the tent so we had a broad view of our surroundings and of the sky. It was the middle of the night. Barred owls (one of my absolute favorite birds) started hooting in the trees around camp to the south. The whole family carried on their hooting conversation. The male had a deeper voice than the female. The 2 or 3 young ones lacked volume and proper rhythm. We just sat side by side, listening to the hooting. The owls flew without us seeing any of them.
Another time we sat at the base of the bluff at Stone Face, eating a snack. It was late fall last year. She sat quietly beside me, and we watched a big buck slowly walk across the hill below us. I kept whispering, “stay” and she did. The buck never knew we were there.
I included these next 2 pictures of the road bordering my property, which is 1 mile from the highway. My place is on the left side in both pictures. The first one shows the road leading to my pull-in at the top of the hill. The second one was taken from the pull-in, looking south. There’s a TALL hill on past that dip that doesn’t show in the picture. The road dead-ends 1/2 mile from camp. The road lost its rugged character about 10 years ago when the state put in an ATV site at the end of the road, and did extensive work on it. I can now see more vehicles in one day than I used to in a whole year, not to mention having to listen to the unnatural buzzing chain-saw-like ATV sounds.
I usually limit my hikes here now to during the week for more peace and quiet.