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Muggy Sunday

>> Monday, May 3, 2010

We finally managed to get caught up enough on errands and to-do lists to take a little ramble in the woods on Sunday.  The forecast was predicting severe thunderstorms, but we decided to just pack a plastic bag for the camera and risk getting soaked ourselves.  Our thumbing our noses at the forecast worked, as nary a drop fell on our heads.  But oy!  It would have been welcome.  It was so humid the air was viscous, and within minutes we were mighty sticky.

We opted to drive over to Clark Reservation to see if it was even open.  Clark Reservation is a wonderful spot for a walk in the woods, but is sadly on New York State's list of park closures.  We got lucky, though.  Although there was no Ranger to be seen, and no one collecting money, the gates were open.  Even the rest rooms were open, although not terribly clean. 

Clark Reservation is chock full of interesting glaciology, and makes for a challenging walk because of its craggy rocks.  The hounds are out of practice and out of shape, and several times took faceplants into the crevices before they found their rock climbing legs.

Because Lucy has a stumpy leg and can be a bit clumsy, we tried out a new harness on her that is specifically designed for rock climbing:

It gives us a good handle for hoisting when she needs the boost, and has nice secure, padded straps to make it more comfortable for her.  It's actually designed so you can rock climb with a dog - as in, sling her over your shoulder and climb on up with ropes.  I'm not that brave or that strong, but it was great for our hike Sunday and will be perfect for Adirondack high peaks.

Have I mentioned that I love Ruffwear gear for dogs?  

The rocks were enchanting, what with all their crevices and cracks and all the hearty life that grows out of those cracks.

We spotted a tiny toad contemplating leaping across the great divide:

I'm not entirely sure what causes the cool pattern of cracks in this photo, but it's amazing.

The hounds did wonderfully well and enjoyed being in the woods.  They haven't been outside nearly enough all winter, and whuffled and sniffed their way along with evident joy.

One of the (many) hazards of having ridiculously short legs is that one's nose and tongue are closer to the ground than they ought to be.  For some reason, Simon always collects lots of dirt on his tongue, which just makes me want to scrape my own tongue.  Pleh.  It doesn't seem to bother him in the least, but then, he has no qualms about eating bugs, wood, rotting animals, kitty litter, or poop.  A little dirt is remarkably clean by comparison.

In Sunday's heat and humidity the hounds went through a lot of water.  I guess they had to get the dirt off their tongues somehow.  Have I mentioned that my ridiculous dogs have to share everything?

Spouse and hounds, lookin' happy:

We wandered the upper trails for quite a while, then decided to go down all the stairs and walk around the lake as well.  Unfortunately, in the low light levels my camera and I failed to work well together, and most of my pictures turned out pretty crummy, particularly on the lower trail.  I tried a variable ISO setting on the camera that I will not be using again.  It pays to take the time to work out the proper settings.  The camera is not always smarter than I am, apparently, which is both good and bad.

The water level in the lake was extremely high, as you can see below.  Judging by how stressed some of the trees looked, I would guess it's been high for a while.  There is a lovely wetland at one end of the lake that seems remarkably prehistoric.  I kept expecting giant dragon flies the size of the dogs to come zooming through.  Sadly, my pictures of it stink.

I have lots of pictures of flowers and creatures that I will hopefully have time to post tomorrow. 

It's a fascinating place, and I just hope it wasn't my last walk ever in Clark Reservation.  Honestly, sometimes New York State government makes me crazy.


Carolyn H May 3, 2010 at 10:46 AM  

The humidity here in southern PA gave way to lots of rain late on Sunday. I managed to get outside and into the forest for a bit, but not for as much as I'd hoped. Your excursion certainly looked like a great time!

Ellen Rathbone May 3, 2010 at 11:23 AM  

Love the new header photo! And I've never seen such slender basset hounds before! What a good person you are for them. :)

I remember goint to Clark Reservation for a herp lab back in college - we found Tiger Salamanders there - truly amazing animals. Then when I was in grad school, we went on a moss field trip - more great specimens. Hopefully, even if the state does close this park, it will only be a temporary thing and will reopen in a couple years. I can't see them putting such a treasure up for auction! THAT would be a crime.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire May 3, 2010 at 1:09 PM  

Carolyn, the rain has finally hit here, and it's a whole lot more pleasant out there now, thankfully!

Ellen - I don't take much credit for the hounds' slender shapes because they are hyperactive spazzes who burn off what they take in. Plus, being presumably puppy mill Basset hounds, they have less skin than many, which makes them look more slender. Simon has back troubles already, though, so we will have to make sure they stay fit.

I agree that selling Clark would be criminal - I hope you're right that it will reopen soon if it does get closed. I wish we'd spotted a Tiger Salamander!

reneé May 4, 2010 at 1:15 PM  

i love ruffwear too!
our dog, crosbi started wearing the ruffwear pack on our backpacking and long hiking trips. she carries her own water and food.
all of her previous packs had slipped around and dug in under her "arm pits".
crosbi's got the boots as well, although we don't use 'em very often...
(p.s. the new tweaks to the layout look good)

Woodswoman Extraordinaire May 4, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

Renee, you are a brave woman. If we put dog food in packs on our dogs, they wouldn't go anywhere. They'd just stand still and try frantically to get their noses into the packs. It might be entertaining, but not conducive to a good walk! Water, though, they could carry - good idea...

Sneaksleep May 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM  

Oh no, I didn't know Clark Reservation is going to be closed as a NYS park! Do you know what will happen to it?

Anyway, I'm glad you and the spouse and hounds got to enjoy it--great pics!

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