Ziggy Tails: Season 2 Episode 4 It Finally Happened
Saturday was a beautifully day here in Maine. The sky was blue-bird-blue with white cotton-ball clouds and the sun played peek-a-boo with the puffy formations.
We decided to stick close to home since we had a commitment in the early evening. So, out back we went. Kind-of, anyway for a jaunt in the woods. If you will remember from the last episode, Prince Ziggy got hurt and refused to walk. My pack-able carry harness - that I finally purchased hadn't arrived yet, so instead of bushwhacking up to the old logging road, we took the Outback. I didn't want to get into the same predicament as last time. I think he picked up a bur between the pads of his toes. There is a lot of thorns and briars where we bushwhack. Maybe little booties will be the next purchase. Prevention is the best plan.
Ziggy and I hiked out there last fall. It's a nice lollipop-loop I wanted to show Bruce. It isn't travelled much or hardly at all, so a nice place for Ziggy to be free. It's difficult to keep a cattle dog down. Every once in awhile he needs to get the crazies out. From the house it's about a six mile hike, maybe longer depending on which trail I use to get there.
Since we took the car, it would be at best, four or five miles. The road is deteriorating with each passing year, and this winter seemed to be rough on it. Instead of taking the car in further, we parked at the fork of Vinegar Hill Road and Trout Pond road. We didn't mind, we wanted a nice walk. Once we were back about a mile we let Ziggy off leash. He doesn't go far. He darts from side to side sniffing and inspecting all he can. He really could be called Zig-Zag. Occassionally he might dart in the brush or trees after a squirrel or bird, but only to scare it away. His job, after all, is to protect us from such violent creatures.
We hiked, more like, walked until we came to another fork. We went left. This trail is really over grown, not passable by vehicle. I love it out there. In the fall with the absence of leaves on the trees, you can see the lake and if you look closely you might be able to sneak a peek of Maine's crown jewel, Katahdin.
This really is my happy place, in the woods with my sweetie and Bruce also. Hah! gotcha. The fresh air filling our lungs, the warmth of the sun on our skin - even though most of our epidermis was covered to keep from feeding the insects - and the sounds of wildlife are so much better than any other form of therapy. Then combine those benefits with being with the one you love and life can't get any better. Ziggy adds his own dimension to the situation. He is a joy to watch with his attentiveness to the smallest of things. He has to check everything out no matter how small. No feather or leaf blowing in the breeze escapes his detection.
It was hot for June. I remembered water, but I forgot Ziggy's little collapsable bowl I carry in my pack. I had taken it out to clean and didn't put it back. I tried to give him sips straight from the bottle and from my hand but he refused. He didn't even find the usual disgusting ditch water to roll in to cool off either. But I knew he'd be fine. We were headed for one of Maine's many treasures - a pond.
The descent down the over-grown logging road is roughly a mile long. It's nothing like dropping down from a highland mountain road in western Maine, but it was still tough navigating the loose rock and washout road bed in places. Once we reached the pond, thirsty Ziggy took off. There was a trail about 100 yards from the road to the pond and Ziggy wasn't waiting for us.
I love these little ponds. Maine is dotted with them. Like most remote ponds around the state, this pond had two canoes on its bank. If the boat is not locked, it is common knowledge they are free to use (unless in some areas there is an honor system to pay per use).
We are so blessed to live in this wonderful state. I know at times I take it for granted. We have some much accessible to us and a lot of it is free. All it requires is time and a little gas. Even with the prices soaring for petrol, it is still a cheap vacation. But what do we often do, I know I do? Complain. "It's too hot!" "It's too cold!" "It's raining!" "It's too buggy!" "It's too far!" And my favorite is, "I don't feel like it!" Then when we can't get out and explore, for whatever reason, commitments, health, etc, we wish we would have.
Even with our economy tanking, we still have it pretty good here in the United States. We are blessed beyond measure. Sure, life is hard and some of us have horrible situations and even tragedies but griping about it isn't going to help. Well, maybe it does a little bit. Everyone needs to vent. But living in a state of complaining only brings more misery.
We enjoyed the peace and beauty of the pond while Ziggy cooled off and drank half of it. That reminds me I need to give him his worm-meds. But, we didn't stay too long cuz the bugs were too bad (complaint). They were huge - mosquitos and black flies - and they were hungry.
Back out we went but this time we needed to climb the 1-mile. This is the only hill in my life that I have ever had to walk my bicycle. And that was years ago when I was super fit. The road climbs out of the pond area gradually, then steepens, levels out slightly then pushes up again steeper. Combine that with the loose road-bed and I could not pedal my bike. Even on foot, the hike out is a huffer and puffer one. I was sucking wind, Ziggy and Bruce not so much.
Our hike was almost over, we were on the tail-end of completing the loop, about a mile and a half back to the car when I noticed Ziggy became very intent on something. When he does this I try to divert his attention back to me with a high value treat he knows I am carrying. But it failed to do the trick. In one quick zig and zag and a few barks, he was gone! I called, paused, called, paused trying to hear the jingle of his collar. Nothing!
It finally happened. He did not recall. I must say, my heart sank. He was gone just like that. We didn't head off into the woods after him. That would have been stupid. No sense either one of us getting lost also. We stayed on the road and kept calling him, pausing to listen, then repeat. But nothing. I held back the tears, because that would not help. When we reached the fork where we went left to start the loop part of the hike, Bruce continued out to get the car. That meant he would have to navigate it through the bad section of road. I stayed and started to do the loop again.
After about a half a mile I decided to go back to the fork then I was going to head back to where Ziggy first went into the woods. All the while, calling - pausing - calling - pausing - praying - repeating. I decided when I got back to the fork I would let myself have a moment. My emotions were spilling over and I was on the verge of panic. Crying was all I needed to do. Just as I was about to remove my pack and sit down to decompress, I look up and there he was, strutting down the road towards me as if nothing happened. I called him up into my arms and we hugged and I cried.
I called Bruce to let him know our Ziggy returned. A half our of pure torture, not knowing if we'd ever find him again. Next item to purchase, a GPS tracking device for off-leash walks. Boy this dog is costing us. But we love him just the same.
In the car on the way home.
Here he slept at home the rest of the afternoon and went to bed early that night.
Emily and Ziggy
A little extra:
I took this photo of what appears to be a while blaze, which is the trail marker for the Appalachian Trail (and the Long Trail in Vermont).
Then I made this meme.
Closer inspection will review that it isn't actually a 2" by 6" stripe painted on a large rock denoting the trail. It's actually bird poop on a small rock that was on the road.