Today I took the dogs out to my parents' property in Pine Grove, which is just east of Mt. Hood. My parents have 40 acres of bare land that butts right up against the Mt. Hood Nationals Forest and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, which essentially makes their property go on forever. It's a fabulous place to take the dogs and just let them run around like the crazy wild beasts that they are!:o) I was a wee bit apprehensive this time though because my dad had been up the week before to work on the little cabin that he's building up there, and had said that he saw 13 elk near the cabin and a bunch of wild turkeys to boot. Elk and turkeys are great to look at from afar, but when you've got dogs who love to chase anything that will run from them and that smells funny, it tends to make a person a little worried.
We started off by having a lovely drive out to the property. It takes about two hours each way to get there. The last 10 miles or so go through open range territory where people graze their cattle. I've never actually seen any cattle close to the road, but the signs always have me a wee bit worried. Today was just going to be one of those days though! Half way through the open range area a cute little black and white cow crossed the road in front of me. Thankfully on a long straight stretch and thankfully far enough ahead of me that I was able to slow down without having to slam on the brakes!At that point I remember wondering if this was a sign of things to come. And it was! Once I got up the hill to the property and was turning off the "road" to get to the little camp site area, a lone pinto trots across the road. I thought that was odd, but didn't think too much of that. Then I looked up the hill by the tent trailer and saw a HERD OF HORSES in the trees right where I wanted to park!!
The dogs were going a little crazy in the back of the truck at that point! For one thing, they KNOW where they are and want to get out and RUN! For another, there are HORSES practically right in front of them! I got out on foot and sort of shooed them away. The herd totalled 21. They trotted off to one side of the hill and out of sight. I wasn't about to let the dogs out of the truck right then because they'd just chase right after the horses. My two love nothing more than to chase after something that is moving away from them! So I put up with Heffner's pathetic whimpering and called my parents' house and left a message to thank my dad for not warning me about horses!LOL Once the "coast was clear" I let the dogs out of the truck and I took off running in the opposite direction as the horses. The dogs will pretty much always follow me if I'm running. And they thankfully did. And boy did they have some serious zoomies!:o) We went off to check out how the construction process was going on the cabin (my dad does work on it in fits and starts as he has the time).
After checking out the cabin, we were off on our merry way up the hill to link up with a particular "road"/path that I was planning on following. Well wouldn't you know it, those crafty horses had come around the back side of the hill and looped around to our side of the hill! I knew what was coming when Bess suddenly went on alert and then took off. Heffner was right behind her. Sure enough, I took a few more steps and just over the rise was the whole herd. Ug! The horses sort of took off, they actually didn't seem scared, more that they were just loping away from an annoyance. The horses and dogs ran about a half mile down the back side of our current hill and probably about a half mile up the next hill before they started slowing down. The dogs kept their distance the whole time and sort of lost interest when the horses slowed down and started walking. Heffner was the first to turn around and head back to mom. Bess lagged back with the horses and actually approached one of them and they touched noses. And yes, I was FREAKING out! The horses weren't acting aggravated by the dogs (I grew up with horses, so I'm not completely ignorant on equine behavior), so I wasn't completely worried. And the dogs were actually reacting really well towards the horses aside from chasing after them.
Thankfully the rest of the hike wasn't as eventful. We did sort of end up following the herd in a round about way, but the dogs weren't really interested in chasing them after that first bout. The weather was also really nice. Temperatures were in the mid 60's. A little warmer than I was hoping for, but I really can't complain! And we had some beautiful views!
We hiked around for a good few hours and I got some shots of the dogs along the way.
The one other bit of excitement that we had was the dogs finding a couple of deer leg bones. First there was a small one.
Which Bess had to proudly carry around!
Then there was the bigger leg that they found!
This one also went into Bess' mouth!
She even decided to take a little break to gnaw off the hooves.**verps**
The dogs had a great time, got lots of running and exploring done, and have been happily napping after they got their dinner. And now I need to head off to bed to get ready for our activities tomorrow morning and to get all packed up for the national specialty!!!