Tyke on a Hike

When I was in Ottawa last weekend I stayed with Ray’s brother, John, who gave me so much invaluable training advice. When I proudly told him I recently had a big weekend with 31 miles of trail running he told me I needed to walk. Huh? Isn’t running big miles the key to success for a jungle trek? No. Apparently I need to get my walking/hiking legs so he prescribed long hikes instead of long runs. In all fairness, Ray prescribed this a while ago, but I thought running long would trump hiking. And I’m stubborn and like to run. I had been doing two long runs on Sat/Sun every other weekend and a long run and long hike on the other weekends. Time to scratch the weekend running (gasp!).

Part of the Rachel Carson Trail

On Saturday I took Tyke for a 3 hour hike on the Rachel Carson Trail. It was beautiful and I loved being out in the woods with the happiest dog on Earth. Tyke is also the best dog I’ve ever met. He’s very smart and very well trained- not only does he respond to verbal commands but he responds to hand commands. He is friendly and doesn’t jump/lick/bark. Kids love him and he loves kids. I learned that he also loves water. The trail runs along a river and every 5 minutes Tyke would hop in to swim around and cool off. I was surprised when he launched himself off a 10 foot cliff, but he happily swam to the shore, scrambled up, shook off and went on his way without missing a beat. If only I were that agile.


Tyke on a hike the weekend before. He was looking at me because he was responding to his name. He does it, I swear.

I was even more surprised when 2 hours into the hike Tyke bolted into the woods and didn’t respond to me telling him to stop. I hear the sound of a dog pouncing through the brush, a long pause and then a distant splash. I call Tyke and I get no dog. I call again, still no dog. I walk to the area where he went to find that he had somehow bounded through a barbed wire fence and off a 15 foot cliff into a pool of water between two sets of rapids. The Cyclist is going to KILL ME. No, wait, I’m going to kill Tyke. Suddenly my cat is the most wonderful pet ever. As Tyke longingly looks up at me to solve his problem I realized that he can’t climb back up the embankment and I can only try to coax him into the weaker current to see if he can get out there. I tried to replace running with hiking, but thanks to Adventure Dog swimming might be added to the Amazon training regiment. I am thankful for my lifeguarding skills and even more thankful that Tyke was able to swim to a spot that I helped him find and scramble out no worse for the wear. I, on the other hand, have some nice cuts on my legs from barbed wire. Good thing The Cyclist doesn’t mind a girl with a few scrapes.

Afterwards, Tyke lost his off-leash privileges. He took this to mean that while on leash it would be a perfect opportunity for him to hop off another ledge into a mud pit that went up to his belly. Thankfully he dragged the leash and not me through the mud. More thankfully, I had the Cyclist’s car and not mine! 3 hours of hiking, 9 miles of trails, lots of mud, burs, scrapes and one very wet/muddy/tired dog.