First things first: we have an Instagram now! It is cleverly usernamed @bullyandblaze. I’m be posting one or two pictures a day, either current events or older favorites, and we’ll just see where it goes from there.
Speaking of current events, I’m pleased to report that we’ve been hiking a lot lately! Our mileage is vanishingly tiny but our frequency is up from nearly zero to several times per week. Right now, frequency matters more. Contributing factors? Primarily two.
Factor the first: Titus’s last check-up with our local vet. The listened thoughtfully to my assessment of our current state, conducted a careful exam, and then made it clear in the process of discussing timelines and options that he thought Titus looked pretty good and that I should go ahead and do more with him.
Sure is interesting how much better I feel about listening when a vet says that while making clear that I am heard, understood, and will be supported if things don’t go well than when they imply that I am crazy and/or stupid!
So I took a deep breath and dove in.
Or committed to dabbling a few toes, at least.
Factor two was realizing how many new-to-me trails there are within 20-40min of my house that are totally suitable for this current project. I’d been feeling a little down, friends, about not hiking big hikes currently. Or not even about the big hikes, necessarily. Just: new places. New trails. There were so many routes on my wishlist, but precious few fit our current parameters for distance and difficultly.
Simultaneously enter a bit of creative Googling and also a new obedience class for Titus that has me driving just a slightly different direction than I had ever driven before. And thus enter a whole new list (and reminders of a few former favorites) of easy-to-moderate short hikes that don’t require spending more time in the car than we’ll spend on trail.
So we’ve reinstated the midweeknight hike that was a favorite feature of last summer. Not enough time between work and bed for long drives or long dramatic hikes, but plenty for a few pleasant miles away from it all. Like any adventure, they don’t all work out. We made it less than a mile into a very pretty hike last week, for example, before retreating in haste from what turned out to be a mosquito hellpit! But trying things again feels good, even so.
And finally enter, once more, the reminder that there are worse fates than spending more time in the car driving through beautiful landscape than on trail hiking through same.
I think we’re about a month away from taking another look at any of my longstanding wishlist hikes and given the way the last year has gone, it may turn out to be much longer than that. But affirmed support and new excitement are a heady combination, and we’re all enjoying getting to walk through the flowers as well as stopping to take a few sniffs of same.
We hit the road last weekend: central New Hampshire to Pittsburg, PA, and back. We drove from one green spot on the map to the next, checked out all sorts of pretty little forest roads and trails, and then on the return drive, stopped at the AT just past Bennington, VT. Many miles still lay ahead of us, but those rocks and white blazes felt an awful lot like home.