Today was a eminently normal day. It was one of the more normal for a long time. We went out and got eaten by bushes and lost our hats and snagged our clothes. We went for an easy hike and the deer trail we were following petered out and there we were, left with following the dog.

Sophie is great at finding trails as long as you want one that catches every good smell and you don’t mind trying to get by in a world that is dog-high. Sophie is a hound. She can find anything. It is really helpful if you get turned around in the mountains. She is good in the city too. She if she can use her nose.

We all pay attention to where we are going but around here the trails are often cow trails. During the summer ranchers lease federal land grazing rights and turn the cattle out to graze on their own until roundup. People who are more urbancentric can get concerned and even upset about the free-range cows. We just take it in stride. Sometimes you have to lengthen your stride to not take it in, if you know what I mean. The cow patties can be pretty prolific. Well the cows are prolific at making cow patties. Mostly they wander all over the place in the brush creating trails that peter our or where there are 10 and the all look about the same. There are hundreds of miles of cow trails. Some of those trails also attract deer. All of then are shorter than people. Dogs are shorter than people. The best looking trails are shorter then coming out from under twigs


The best trails are followed by the best people bending to dog height. We learned a long time ago that Sophie was really good at finding her way but we never have taught her that she has to find taller passageways through the brush. The point never makes sense to her.

DOG HERE: What is she writing about me? I find the trails. What is her point? This is how it goes. The best trails go where you want to go. The next best trails smell good. The ones I pick for them are clear. I don’t want to lose those two. Do they like my trails? Sometimes they get grumpy. Today they laughed. I like it when they laugh.

Seems Dad lost his hat to a hat-eating limb. Mom was pushing along going “ouch, ouch, ouch.” Seems up there the bushes have thorns. What did I know, I am not that tall. I found a trail. I do not per-sample it for them. Well, that is not true I do scoot around and find the best one and then come back and get them. They think I am doing what they tell me. They call, “Here Sophie, this way.” I make a quick double check of the trails I found and then lumber my way over where they are. I look straight at them them so they think it is their idea for me to come.

Mom has this silly whistle she does. No matter what  cannot help going when I hear that whistle. I get so fussy. I have a deer and she whistles and I have to leave the deer. It is not just because she calls but that darned whistle others. I guess it is like Pavlov’s dog. See food, salivate. Mom whistles, Sophie comes.

“Sophie, what are you writing!? Let me have that key board back.” Uh-right, I’m letting go of the keyboard? Would you even be here to have a keyboard except for my superior hound skills getting you back to the car?

“Sophie, give me that keyboard now or I will whistle.”  “Gee, when you put it that way Mom. Just don’t whistle, ok?” I still think you would be out there if it weren’t for me though. Quit talking about short trails. They are fine trails.

dog coming out from under twigs on a trail

The trail looks perfect from hound height.

MOM HERE: I am back on charge, sort of. .  I have the key board but I am also being glared at by a red hound dog mix. I love that dog. She is so bossy she makes us laugh. Today we really did follow her trail. We got snagged on about everything out there. We got slapped in the face by tree limbs. We got hung up on our clothes. I was doing fine during one “crouch down and pretend you are a deer or a dog” trail and just as I was almost out, something grabbed my jacket and it was like a sling shot. First I went back teetering on the brink of falling flat on my hinnie. Then, I leaned forward to try to get fee and all of a sudden Wham! That branch not only let go it smacked me so hard on the back that I got shot out of the bushes and nearly landed on my face. Thank goodness for stout treking poles!

We finally made it out of the bushes back to the road but the troubles did not end there. We could not find the car even though we knew it was close. Finally we figured out that out RED Subaru is now a WHITE Subaru. We could find a used red one when we went to replace our deceased red one. Thankfully Sophie knew where we were going and our brain finally caught up with her feet.

It was a normal day. Hiking in the snow with the dog, getting fooled by the hundreds of cow and deer tails, following the dog through the bushes to where we want to come out. Who cares if we have to hunker down and help each other through the bushes. It is a chance to be close, to laugh, and to help get each other unstuck. When we start laughing, Sophie always comes back around to join in.

We love our hound. She is good at finding stuff. She will find our new home for us. She and I will go together and watch it be built day by day. She will inspect every wood, nail, window and board. She will sniff it all so that when the doors are opened for us on that final day she will know it is our home and will take us there.

That is what you get for following a dog.

dog and man walking in snow toward car

That final push to the car in the last of the December sun.