Sidekick Pauli Gets Off Her Doggie Couch

Sidekick Pauli, my most faithful hiking pal, has entered her retirement years. She is covered in fatty tumors and some of them are in awkward spots. She likes to sleep…a lot. 🐾

However, she can be persuaded to get off of her doggie couch as long as getting off 1) involves a treat, 2) she is immediately hooked up to her leash (signal for walk), and 3) I have my car keys in hand (signal for going hiking)!

All stars aligned for her Saturday morning! Her dog smile was ENORMOUS as she trotted out to the car at a respectable 10:00 am.

We headed up to Dam #4 on the C&O Canal near Sharpsburg, Maryland. This would be a short hike for me, but a big, super, best hike ever for my aging Pauli girl!

Parking at Big Slackwater allowed me and Pauli-wog to hike a mile on the canal to Dam #4, then turn around and hike back … 2 miles total.

It was beautiful weather for January. Rain threatened, but with a balmy 58 degrees, I was happy to chance it.

The hike down to the dam was lovely. The Potomac River sparkled each time the clouds parted enough to allow a peek of sunlight through. A group of Mallard ducks quacked a warning as we neared, then took flight with a whoosh of wings and upsweep of river spray from their webbed feet on take-off.

Getting to the Dam, we explored the river bank, then headed back.

Sidekick Pauli seemed in a hurry…and practically dragged me back to the car. I noticed the temps had dropped, the sky now hid the sun completely, and a stiff wind had begun to blow. Sidekick Pauli was not pleased. She kept me walking at a very fast pace… where was my retiree now…good lord, was she trying to kill me???

Fifteen minutes and we were in the car! Then the rain came…turns out Pauli-waddle-doodle-all-day was trying to save me. 😄

Best hike EVERRRR…hike on!

How Quickly the Clouds Change the Sky

I started walking in the gray cold rawness that comes with winter.  No snow on the ground, just last fall’s display littered upon the ground.  Today I walk because I am sad, and worried, and feel like my stomach has been punched.  It is with no real purpose as I fly down the trail except to outrun my thoughts.

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My Sidekick Pauli has a lump.  A lump that is concerning.  A lump that sidles up to her carotid artery.  A lump that grew in a matter of two weeks.  She goes in for surgery tomorrow morning.

This is my hiking companion we are talking about.  My eyes are filling…just stop thinking. There is no need for “what ifs”! Get it together!

The stiff wind blew down my collar and I pulled my coat a little closer.  I wasn’t even dressed particularly well for this hike.  Whatever.  I stopped to look out over the Potomac River noticing a sliver of blue on the horizon.  What a beautiful winter sky.  I tucked my head down and kept forward on the C&O Canal headed for the Catoctin Creek Aqueduct. Fifteen minutes before I had no idea that was where I was headed, but it was good to have made a decision; to have a focus.

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I can’t think about this right now.  I noticed a guy and his puppy coming towards me.  As he passed, the puppy leaped towards me.  I heard him say “C’mon Sally”.  Sally?? I knew it before I inquired with excitement “Sally? Is that Sally Pretzel? !!!”…IT WAS!!!!!!!!  Sally Pretzel is the puppy of one of my hiking friends!  Her husband just happened to be walking her out on the canal today.  It helped me to meet Sally Pretzel.  She reminds me of Sidekick Pauli when she was a puppy!  Little Sally made me laugh! 🙂 🙂

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Heading on I notice the clouds had changed.  There was more blue now.  As I passed the Catoctin Tunnel it felt warmer and I loosened my coat for the last mile to the aqueduct. Down the path that overlooks the aqueduct to stretch a little before heading back to Point of Rocks.

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On the way back the clouds behind me were dark gray, but bright blue skies were in front of me.  I knew those blue skies weren’t going to last, but never mind…I was now hoping to see snow.  A few flakes flew as a train rounded the rocks and clickity-clacked by me.  The passing train made me feel I was walking a million miles an hour.

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As the gray pushed over the sun once again, snowflakes fell more rapidly, then just like that…poof…they were gone, and I was left to walk the final mile in the gray cold rawness that comes with winter.

Hike on.

Between a Couple and a Few

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Between a couple and a few…could be miles, could be pets, could be just about anything in my life at the moment. Been stuck in the house between a couple and a few days because it has been wicked cold.  Today I could not stand it any longer…cabin fever be gone!  I mentioned to Little […]

C&O Canal: Point of Rocks to Catoctin Aqueduct…A Chilly Hike!

This gallery contains 16 photos.

My son came home from college for the Thanksgiving weekend on Amtrak.  We got to talking and he mentioned the train had gone over this really cool aqueduct he had never known about just before getting to Point of Rocks.  I said, “Oh, that’s the Catoctin Aqueduct!  They just finished refurbishing it…I keep meaning to […]

7/13/13 C&O canal to Harper’s Ferry with the Trail Dames of Maryland ~7.5 miles

This gallery contains 3 photos.

I drove away from the house this morning in light drizzle and fog.  As I pointed the car in the direction of Harper’s Ferry and headed down 340 west the drizzle became a steady rain.  I wondered, as I glanced at the sky, whether any of the dames would cancel.  I turned on the radio […]