For the winter holidays, Miles and I journeyed out East. My immediate family were all together for the first time in years. We came together at a difficult time: We recently lost my Nana, and my sister had just moved back after years in the UK, and was about to say goodbye to her companion of 19 years, Gulliver the cat.
Miles and I went on long hikes almost every single day. That was an important and cherished routine for Miles and I. My favorite place to go was Point Peele National Park. PP has proven to the PNW girl in me that there are magical forests on the East Coast. On these winter hikes, any worries dissipated into the fresh forest air, and our bodies forgot how cold it was and just enjoyed moving.
I am going to talk about how I think it is possible to go on off-leash hikes with tough-to-train terriers, and why I think training for such an ability is critical for their mental and physical well-being. But the obvious thing to say first, is that it presents a great benefit for us as well!
I know for me, seeing Miles’ bright little self zoom by, past, and back to me and past again and so on and so on… There is no feeling on Earth like it. And I think this series of photographs demonstrates that therapeutic effect! I hope you can enjoy what I felt, too!
The best hikes were the ones where my dad came with us.
My dad is 6’6, so he gets ahead a lot!
Miles is so well-trained, and likes to check in with me from time to time. I love the feeling of mutual respect and trust we have. Walks are such a pleasure with my buddy.
The brambles turn purple in the winter at Point Peele. I am not sure why! Does anyone know?
Miles, always taking trail short-cuts so he can get ahead and sniff!
Reaching the shore of one of the Great Lakes is always an experience. The relatively insulated calm forest opens up to wind-blown spindly young trees and the sound of crashing waves. The wind is a punishing force on most days in the winter.
The woods near the point in the winter always remind me of a Tim Burton movie…
The non-Miles glimmers of color were few and far between!
Miles talks to me with his eyes.
The frozen marshes.
I love this picture of Miles and my dad.
Frozen leaf impressions.
…And then suddenly, Miles bursts into a sprint!
Shake it off, Miles!
The trees are webbed with wild grapevines. They look so interesting with no foliage!
And of course Miles found the only opossum foolish enough to walk around during the day! If this video isn’t a testament to my training skill, I do not know what else is. Miles, as documented on this blog, by nature was born with a 100/10 level of prey drive.
Hi little opossum!
In the PNW it is uncommon to walk through a forest and immediately look down to see so many kinds of leaves!
Miles is so happy, he is dancing as he runs.