We finally got home from our Alps trip at midnight. We had left our hotel in Venice at 7:30 am, so that's a total of twenty four and a half hours traveling. We flew from Venice to Newark. From there we flew to Chicago but our flight was delayed for two hours. Because they had a lot of people they switched to a larger plane, and that caused all kinds of problems. People who already had seat assignments from connecting flights (like us) didn't get reassigned. They didn't have the right food carts to load on the new plane. Even after we pulled away from the gate (an hour late) we sat on the tarmac for another hour while the pilot said they "finished the paperwork". Every time I fly United seems to find new ways to screw things up.
Since we only had an hour layover in Chicago we didn't even arrive until after our flight to Boise took off. But you can count on United for some things - like delays. Our flight to Boise was delayed an hour. We made it to the gate and even had time to grab something at McDonald's before boarding. Still, by the time we got home it had been a long day.
After being gone for two and a half weeks we got quite a welcome from Abby. We both sat on the floor and she went back and forth between us as fast as she could. It was pretty clear that she was glad to see us.
Even though we got in late, the time change ensured that we would be up early the next morning. While we were in Europe I had gone hiking every day, so I decided to keep it up and go hiking again. Sandy wanted to go to the store and restock the house but I was sure Abby would be anxious to go along. It was going to be hot in Boise (although not as hot as Venice!) but we had an early start and I planned to go to Bogus Basin, where it would be at least ten degrees cooler than in the valley. We pulled out of the driveway at 7:35 - just a little later than when I go to work. The morning traffic on Chinden was a annoying, but it was worth it when instead of going all the way to the Water Center, I could turn off to head up Bogus Basin road.
Exactly one hour after leaving the house we were pulling into a parking spot at the lower lodge. I was hoping that because it was a weekday there wouldn't be (m)any other hikers. But just as we pulled up two ladies were starting from their car with their dog. Abby went nuts when she saw the other dog. But they headed up towards Deer Point and were long gone by the time I got my boots on and was ready to start.
I didn't know how Abby would behave on a hike so I started out with her on the long leash. Besides, there were signs in the parking area about keeping dogs on leash in the ski area. Abby was really excited to be out! This was her first real trip into the mountains - she had only done one hike up Table Rock last summer.
We passed the lower lodge and started up the road to the upper lodge. It took us about forty five minutes to get there and we didn't see anyone the entire time. As we came out of the woods onto the service road leading around to the north side of the mountain, I spotted what at first I thought was a cat sitting right in the middle of the road. As I focused on it, I could see it was a big rabbit. I had never seen one up here, even though I've probably hiked up Shafer Butte a dozen times. I stopped about twenty feet away to get a picture. Abby was straining at the end of the leash - she was definitely interested. The rabbit just ignored us. I walked a few steps closer, then a few more, but before I could get a closer shot the rabbit decided that it had enough and bolted into the brush. It was all I could do to hang on to Abby as she tried to follow. Fifty feet further ahead was another rabbit sitting right in the middle of the road, but this one didn't wait for us to get nearly as close before darting away. Now Abby was really into this mountain hiking stuff!
A little further along I decided to try letting her off leash. She went ahead but not very far. She stayed on the road most of the time. When she got a bit ahead of me I yelled check and she stopped and waited for me. She was behaving really well. She even stuck closer than Laney used to. I had been worried about nothing. At the top there were a couple of guys working on a new tower (nothing like a mountain top with wilderness solitude!) so I put her back on her leash. We went over to the buliding next to the other antennas and sat down and enjoyed the view of the valley. Abby was content to sit in the shade on the cool concrete next to me. After we had some water, we were ready to start down. We headed toward the saddle between Shafer Butte and Deer Point to do a traverse of the mountain.
As soon as we were about a hundred yards from the construction site I let her off leash. She did really well again. When a truck passed us on the road going up to the construction site, she came as soon as I called and sat next to me while it passed. She was doing great.
Until we reached the saddle. Then another hiker was coming up with a dog, a young black lab. I called Abby and she would stop. I would almost catch up to her where I could grab her leash, but then she would start again. It turned out it didn't matter. When she got to the other dog they sniffed each other and were instantly friends and wanted to play. The black lab was a six month old female named Josie. While I petted Josie as she jumped all over me, Abby did the same with the other hiker. Then Abby and I continued down while Josie and her human went up.
About five minutes from the car I put her back on leash so we would be legal again in the ski area. I stopped at the rental shack - they said they had cold drinks inside. I tied Abby to a tree and went inside and bought a diet coke. When the guy kept looking behind me I turned around and there was Abby. Apparently I didn't tie her very well and she followed me inside. But the guy petted her and was ok with it so no harm done.
We were back at the car after a two and a half hour hike. I drank my coke while Abby drank almost a liter of water. Then Abby was ready to jump in the car. She laid down in the back and slept the entire drive back home.
A good start for our hiking together this season.