Sunday, October 9, 2011

A walk with Haggis

It's the long weekend for the Columbus Day holiday here in Maine. I pulled our spuds yesterday, not a great harvest, but adequate and better than might have been expected considering how much potato blight we had.

That left me stiff and sore this morning. The weather was due to be warm, so I wasn't much up for any more garden chores. Aimee was off to some biologists' fungus meeting in Waterville.

Haggis and I decided on a good long walk.

We drove up to the Dixmont Hills, just across the county line to the north. A good three miles or so and maybe 800 feet of ascent, just enough for a couple hours exercise in the golden-dappled woods of autumn in Maine.

Haggis is funny when hiking. He's an old dog now, and likes to spare himself if he can, and the Dixmont Hills are steep in places.

Probably he's thinking to himself, "if that mean old master would just take me on a good walk like this every day, I wouldn't be so old and fat and slow."

I know the general feeling. I get much the same inclination during the deep snow of early winter, when walking in Maine is damn near impossible. Any moderate walking fitness I may build up the rest of the years seems to bleed away during those two months.

Not that Haggis won't run along most of the day. he just takes a lot fewer side trips than he used to. If Haggis can see a trail and thinks he knows where to go, he'll run still ahead. Not too far -- just enough to let you and he both know that he's not quite past it yet, but not enough to give him more work to do.

If you're bushwhacking, he sets right in behind you and dogs you until he can see the trail again.

He gets hot, too, so any crick or wallow is a good excuse for a nice cooling dip.

I took pictures, but my cheap old camera was set to the close-up setting, so they all came out blurred. Here's one from way back, but the same season of the year.

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