Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day Two: In Which It Rains

Favorite DogGear: Chilly Dogs Great White North Winter Coats - impressively toasty, even when a little damp. Spent seven days of almost constant wear in the Northwoods, and look good as new after a trip through the washing machine (because they didn't smell like new coming out of the woods).

Close Encounters on the Wild Side: red squirrel, loon, minnows, coyote scat, ticks. Oh god, the ticks.

But look - a loon! Honest! Not a black and white spot on the camera lens.
True story.

After a super yummy breakfast of french toast and coffee, we do a final gear check and then hop in the shuttle for a ride to our starting point. The idea will be to walk about twenty-five miles along the Border Route Trail back to Clearwater Lake Lodge, where my dad's Jeep awaits to drive us back home. On our trip out there, our driver tells us about the Rottweiler he used to have an what a nice dog it was (dog lovers - they're everywhere, man). This lets me forgive him for wishing us thunderstorms - "no offense, but we could really use it." Or at least, I forgive him in that moment, because half a mile into our hike, it starts to rain.

Our starting point. Rubi loves the grasses, omnomnom.
As far as rain goes, it's not bad: gentle and even, no wind. Or, at least, it's not bad if you're not hiking in it. The people have rain gear, but it's not long before the water wicks through our socks and into our boots. The trail is beautiful, even in the rain, but wet boots make for miserable hiking.

Pretty, but wet.

The girls don't fair much better. I packed them winter coats instead of rain gear, and before long, they're soaked. As soon as we stop moving, they start shivering. We all push ourselves harder than we should, and practically exhaust ourselves in the five miles to our first campsite on Topper Lake.

My first order of buisness is setting up the clubhouse -er, I mean "tent" and getting the girls dried off and warm. I towel them down, pop them in the tent, throw on their coats and wrap them in their sleeping bag. They still look wretched, and I start questioning my decision to bring them along at all.

"This look? This is hate . . . feel the warmth of our hate, crazy lady."
Luckily, the rain lets up in the early afternoon, and we all venture out of hiding. Even the sun comes out! It turns out that our little campsite on Topper Lake is quite pretty. Wet, but pretty.

Topper Lake, as seen from our campsite. 

Topper Lake from our campsite, just facing the other direction. 
It's still pretty windy and a little chilly, but after spending a few hours in our tent, the girls and I are ready to do a little exploring. We head back up the trail to check out a few overlooks that we rushed by in our drive to be warm and dry.

Suddenly, the wet seems worth it.

South Lake (I think) on the other side of the trail from Topper.
Piper and Rubi in front of  South Lake, North Lake in the distance (I think).


  1. I just love your post and the tongue in cheek, ok blatant sarcasm. I laughed so hard I snorted when I read this caption.
    "This look? This is hate . . . feel the warmth of our hate, crazy lady."

  2. I always know, my dogs love going on hikes, even if it is cold and wet- they may shiver when we get done, but they love being out there. And I bet yours would agree.

  3. cudos, crazy lady. even with the "hate" i bet they'd rather be there than almost anywhere else!

  4. Laura, do you keep the dogs on leash while hiking or are there areas where they can be off leash?

  5. Dogs should be on leash while hiking. Just like on walks, it's rude to have your dog off leash. Also, this really isn't a place where you want to lose your dog.