Thursday, April 7, 2016

Across Country To 8 Points

Nine days ago it was snowing.
A couple of days later I walked out on BLM land with Kory while wearing shorts.
Spring (as it always is here in Idaho) is coming in fits and starts, but it is irrevocably marching towards warmer weather and the world is quickly becoming greener all the time.
With both me and my dog embedded in serious spring fever, and with both of us feeling restless, I loaded my sweet dog into the Tahoe and headed for open land.
We didn't go far.
In fact, we drove only a mile before turning onto Big Butte Rd, and then quickly turning off the road and hitting a dirt and rock filled, partially rutted out double track trail.
We did not drive very far on the trail.
In fact, after negotiating a couple of very deep ruts, and after negotiating a couple of very rocky sections I wondered "what the heck am I doing??".
Pulling the Tahoe off the trail I parked the vehicle in the middle of.............well.............absolutely nothing.
A HUGE expanse of wide open land.
By the time I opened my door my dog was barking hysterically in barely contained ecstasy.
 We were going for a walk.
We were going for a walk RIGHT NOW.
And she knew it.
Opening the back door of the Tahoe I quickly moved out of the way and watched in amusement as my pup instantly leaped down to the ground.
A quick sniff of a sage bush and she was off and running across country.
The world was hers, and she loves her world.
Abandoned Tahoe in the middle of a wide swatch of empty land, with Atomic City a mile and a half away in the background...................
We were headed for the 8 Points.
8 Points is a series of large rock hills (8 of them of course) that rise quietly in the middle of the desert.
When LC and I first found them not long after arriving in Atomic City back in August of 2013 we were caught off guard by their presence.
The terrain in this part of the Snake River Plain has a few small rises but it is mostly flat, and as we found ourselves exploring this new place we came across these hills.
The are all clustered close together, are rocky and challenging to climb, and stand in contrast to the sage and desert grasses that surround them.
We visit this place a few times a year.
Certainly at least once each season.
This was the place we first let Kory off leash to run free, about a month after we picked her up at the Boise airport.
After walking her on leash for over a month LC and I drove out to the 8 Points and set her free for the first time.
The trail and the desert were both covered with snow.
As soon as we let her off leash she began to run.
She ran past me.  She ran past LC.  She ran past the Tahoe and she kept on running.
Sprinting without thought, without slowing, without having any idea where she was or where she was going.
LC and I watched our new dog disappear over a rise, and then looked at each other, stunned at what had just happened.
Quickly regrouping we loaded back into the Tahoe, turned the vehicle around on the trail, and headed back down the snow covered trail hoping to track down our new pup.
Very quickly we saw her on the trail.
She was half a mile ahead of us, still on the trail, and still in a full sprint.
We eventually did catch her, and it was only months later, as we continued to get to know this dog and the ways that are only hers, that we began to understand what had happened.
We wondered if we had given her too much freedom too quickly.
Wondered if she was not bonding to us as well as we had thought she was.
Both of those things were probably in play.
But I also think that (because she had been leashed for a month) that this young, athletic dog just badly needed to run.
As simple as that...................
I didn't do a lot of zooming during this short trip.
There were few features to zoom in on.
Instead, as Kory and I wandered quickly off trail and then headed straight across country, I simply snapped pictures of the vastness of our surroundings.
Click on any picture and it will enlarge...................
Looking back towards town.................
30 minutes after abandoning the Tahoe, we reached the 8 Points.
Kory knows this place well.....................
I already miss winter.
Over this past week temperatures have been in the 60s.
The sky is beautiful.  The sun is beautiful.  The slowly increasing green is beautiful.
But summer is coming.
My least favorite season of the year.
Last summer LC and I were busy helping an elderly lady move out of town.
It took the entire summer.
This summer we will camp more.
If we can be close to water then maybe summer will not be such a burden for this cold-loving woman.
The wall of mountains close to us are still filled with snow.
Cedar Butte snow is just about gone.
Big Butte still has much snow and the trail leading to the top will be closed until the middle of next month....................
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade...................Charles Dickens

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