Last Saturday, the pups and I jumped in the car and wove through the back roads to meet Amanda and family at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. The grounds (though not the buildings) are dog-friendly, so we had a lovely ramble along the nature trails and through the fields. Both of mine were thrilled to see Arya and her people again (as was I!). They even had some rousing group play, as we essentially had the place to ourselves. Which is to say that Lilo and Titus both played with Arya and ignored each other…but Arya was delighted with the attention and honestly, that’s a huge step forward for them. They’ve been noticeably more comfortable and relaxed together since.
The play did end abruptly when Titus demonstrated that he is very much not a pit bull. The little guy slipped while running and landed awkwardly — and stood up dramatically non-weight-bearing on a hind leg. Then laid down. Then rolled over and died.
If this had been stoic Lilo, I would have thrown my keys at one of the humans and told them to bring my car now. But I’d seen Titus do something very similar a few weeks ago when it turned out that the problem was the world’s tiniest pine needle between his toes.
(Seriously, I’d brushed it off his foot thinking that couldn’t possibly be what was bothering him and surely he had some sort of fracture.)
I sat down with him and rubbed his belly and told him how brave he was until he decided that he would live after all. He was trotting soundly by the time we got back to the car and all systems remained go when I jumped him back out of the car after our quick picnic, so we continued with our day!
While I was at Saint-Gaudens, Paws on Peaks and another of the usual suspects had hit Zealand trail from the newly reopened-for-the-season Zealand Road for a traverse to finish up on Ethan Pond trail. The dogs and I beat feet for that end and started hiking towards Zealand; the plan was to meet up with the others and join them for whatever portion of their hike remained back to my (and their spotted) car.
I had kind of expected them to be done by the time I arrived, but no! We met up just past the spur trail to Ethan Pond shelter, just as both groups had decided that the other must have run into a problem and turned around. Three people, five dogs. Boom!
After seeing the others’ pictures, I did wish that I’d been able to join them for the whole hike; the area around Zealand is my favorite part of the Whites and the stretch of trail between there and where we’d met up looked wild and beautiful. Even just the out-and-back from Ethan, though, had a lovely remote feel — at least after the initial madhouse on the section shared with the route to Ripley Falls!
Though the pictures don’t show it, there was a fair amount of ice still on the Ethan Pond trail. And we did pass several emergency vehicles at the Webster-Jackson trailhead on our way to the spotted car; it turned out that they’d been conducting a rescue of a hiker who fell on a nearly-flat stretch of icy trail while not wearing traction. Result: broken leg. Gear up, folks! It’s still winter on top and under the trees.
I had some of Krista’s gear and vice versa from our trip to pick Titus up from New York, so I ended up following them to her car at the Zealand trailhead. Confession: I also just wanted an excuse to drive up my beloved Zealand Road.
I’m deliberately trying to stay away from the area right now because I know there’s no way I’d be able to hike just to the hut and back and the 4,000-footers or even Zeacliff are all a bit more than I think Titus is ready for. Soon, though! Very, very soon.
(And yes, knock wood, Titus has remained sound!)