Yesterday, the Girl and I hiked about eight miles along Clear Creek Trail. We didn’t make it all the way to Knob Point, which was about two miles farther than our turn-around. In the end, I’m glad we stopped when we did.
The trail was wonderful. It was a little warm on our climb away from the staging area with the morning sun on the east side of the hill. But the grade was easy and we kept the pace up.
The Girl hunted for lizards, ground squirrels, and rabbits. She’ll chase a cottontail rabbit, but knows that the jackrabbits can easily outrun her. She might take a few steps in pursuit, but it’s always halfhearted and she breaks off quickly. I love to watch her and I keep my eyes and ears open for rattlesnakes. I’m confident in her aversion training, but I want nothing to happen to her because of my inattention.
We passed a couple of draws and I marveled at the cool air flowing down from the ridgeline. It was cool in the shade of the granite outcrops and a nice contrast to the warm morning air.
Before long we passed our first pine tree. Soon we were in a pine forest near the north end of Jacks Valley. The ranch below was beautiful in the morning light.
We hiked on another mile or so. When we were about two miles from Knob Point, I decided to pause, drink a little water, offer some to the Girl, and turn around. We were four miles out and that would make an eight-mile hike, which would be our longest to date. I didn’t know how either of us would feel on our way back. The prudent part of me thought it best to turn around. The adventurer part of me wanted to go on to the point.
The prudent won.
So we started back. Along the way, I paused a couple of times to look around. I found a benchmark hidden (sort of) in a cluster of boulders. I’ll bet it was difficult to setup a tripod over that mark. I’m confident that electronic surveying methods were used, but it was still a difficult setup.
When we were about a mile from the rig, the Girl started showing signs of heat. She will pause, paw some sand up under a shady sagebrush, and lie down to cool off. It was about 80F, but I think the combination of temperature and sun get to her. She’d had water, so I knew she was hydrated. She was just hot.
So, we double-timed a good part of the last mile. She doesn’t like me to get ahead of her when I’m moving. Heh… So off we went.
It took us about 15 minutes to make the remaining distance back to the rig. She drank the water I offered. Then she hopped into the back and crashed in the furniture blanket I use to hide the contents of the rig. It was OK.
We made eight miles yesterday… our longest hike yet. I think I had another mile or two in me, so I know that I can make the Knob and back. But, I also know I’ll have to wait for cooler weather or we’ll have to start much earlier to avoid the heat. The Girl just can’t handle the heat and I want to protect her from heat exhaustion.
What a great hike and a great day. I’m thankful.