Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hiking Hartwood with Adventure Dog

We walk our dogs every morning at one of the numerous county and township parks nearby. Ranging from quick one-mile treks around the two lakes at Deer Lakes Park to morning-long hikes at Hartwood Acres, we've covered a lot of ground this summer. Perhaps more mentally refreshing than physically taxing (this morning we clocked 1.5 miles in 34 minutes), it's a daily routine enjoyed by the whole family, especially our (nearly) senior-aged shih tzu, Leia.

At ten-years-old, Leia gets excited about treats and sleep. In that order. She enjoys a morning walk as a necessary precursor to her Rachel Ray Mini-Burger. Her walk is a familiar routine. It's a wooded trail that really gets her going. 

We take her to Hartwood Acres a few times a week. She sprints to the front of our pack to lead us over rocky ground, crossing streams, and climbing fallen logs. The forest is refreshing, cool and filled with little woodland creatures. Our main amusement though is our "adventure dog." She is able to cast off the tiredness of her age and conquer obstacles like a much more robust breed. A shih tzu wouldn't normally be considered the rugged, outdoorsy type. Our Leia has the heart of an explorer.

Leia, obviously anticipating food.

A wooded trail

The Hartwood Acres Mansion and garden

Stream Crossing

When faced with the choice between a bland uninteresting path or a boulder to climb, Leia will choose to scale an obstacle. Julia follows her, giggling and giving her constant praise for her agility and skill. It's on these hikes that I'm most aware of the richness of our life. There are miles of trails yet to discover and always an eager hiking partner ready to tackle the next boulder. There's just no better way to start the day.