Monday, March 26, 2012

A Hiking We Will Go

   Rafael unexpectedly came in to town from Rochester and had Sunday free, and the weather was GORGEOUS ( spring arrived about a month ahead of schedule due to "the winter that never was", but I don't hear anyone complaining!).  We figured those were all the excuses we needed for a hike, so we piled into my Rav and drove out to Clinton Lake.
   It's amazing how everything has greened up and blossomed in the last couple of weeks. It really is miraculous how quickly it happens. Between that, and the fact that I haven't been hiking since my surgery over seven weeks ago, this outing was particularly appreciated. The dogs could barely contain themselves—and didn't! We pulled into the parking lot, and Rafael opened the back gate, and the dogs flew out and into the woods in the blink of an eye. Leash-less, of course. It was impossible to tell which way they went—the trail split off shortly upon entering the woods, and the tall, impossibly green grasses concealed them.
   Apparently it was a day of miracles, because Aki answered my calls and was back with me just  a few minutes later. And Tay—the one I was really concerned about—obediently returned a few minutes after her. I guess if everything has to be on his terms, but he returns safely, that may be the best I can hope for. But I could tell our training sessions over the last few weeks are WORKING.
brilliant green
Taylor spontaneously posed for Brett
(and for me)
   There were lots of firsts: the dogs found a snake & millipede, &amp Taylor repeatedly jumped for joy (actually, he was jumping because he wanted to EAT the snake!)
   Aki swam for the very first time... by accident. A guy in a boat came somewhat close to the shore, & she took off to try to catch him. It was just like the old Looney Tunes cartoons, where Wile E. Coyote runs straight off a cliff, and hangs midair until he realizes he ran off the cliff, then reacts. Aki leapt into the water valiantly, got up to her ears & you could see the look on her face: "Oh no! This water is WET!! I have to get OUT!!!" She hurried back to shore. It was very funny. (And now, just imagine observing the 3 of us idiots trying to get into & out of a kayak!)
We also found a new lil' friend... (click to see more)
    Afterward, we drove through Lawrence to have dinner at Free State. The traffic was slightly insane as we neared town. Suddenly Rafael said, I think KU might be playing tonight. Yep, it was the Sweet 16 game, which fortunately was live in St. Louis. Campus was mobbed with celebrating students. But through some stroke of luck, we easily found a parking spot past Mass St., walked right into Free State (pass a mob of kids drinking beer out of plastic cups), and got a table with NO wait. Amazing! The end to a perfect afternoon: a Cyclist (beer + lemonade) and a bison burger.