Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You're Rolling in What?

This morning's outing was all about Kona. So guess what we were doing? That's right, out for a little exploration. I chose our Creek because Kona's a fan of water splashing and rock hopping. And me, well I can't get over this place in the winter. The water continues to rise, although I can hardly fathom the creekbed filling to its banks.

Kona got down to business.

I discovered a new trail the last time we hiked here. It's not a mysterious path. I simply never noticed it. The singletrack boarders the opposite side of the creek from the fireroad we normally follow. The winding, narrow passage brought out the hunter in Kona.

She yanked forward, in pursuit of invisible creatures I couldn't smell. As pain began to shoot through my fickle arm, I stopped to rest and soak up the surroundings.
Kona paused just long enough for me to snap a photo.
Kona pulled ahead, not showing any sympathy for her two-legged human. I skipped around rocks, desperately trying to keep the pace. I gave out an enthusiastic, "Good Girl!" everytime Kona paused to sniff something. I needed the breaks.

I realized we needed to cross to the other side of the creek to avoid bushwacking through dense brush. While I looked around for a place to cross, Kona became unusually still on her leash. I looked down to find her investigating a pile of fur. Back and white fur. A skunk found its resting place on the riverbed. I moved Kona along.

We crossed over to the fireroad and soon made it to Kona's favorite canyon spot. She stopped to have a drink.

She soon found a stick to pick up.

Kona would have loved to cross through the canyon for hours. But we reached a point where the creek was too high to cross without getting my feet wet. It was a sad excuse, I know. But we had also been warned.

As we headed out, Kona caught the scent of something up the canyon walls. Although Kona loves the half mile on this narrow trail, I always am on edge, wondering if something or someone watches me from one of these rocky walls.

We skipped along the creek for part of our hike out. Kona glued her nose to the ground and pulled me from scent spot to scent spot. At one point, she yanked with urgency, then paused next to a large granite rock. I shook out my arm. Suddenly, I saw the oh too familiar signs. A lifted paw. A tucked shoulder. Lowering to the ground. Kona found something to roll on.

Usually, hike rolls are reserved for coyote scat. I peaked over at her quickly to see if I needed to stop her from rolling in something stinky. I quickly realized she wasn't in scat.

Kona rolled on a snake.

Really girl?

I gave out a quick, "Whoa, whoa," and tried my best to pull her away quickly without making her nervous. Not to worry. Our reptile friend was not alive. Even though my analytical brain knew this as soon as I saw the snake, instinct made me move Kona way from it quickly. I mean, really. What snake would hang out while a Kona Dog rolled all over it?

Once Kona moved away, I took a closer look. The snake was probably only two feet long. I don't know why I didn't take a picture of it, because now I'm having trouble figuring out what kind of snake it was. My best guess is a garter snake.

We left our snake to be taken away by animal or water and continued towards the car. On our way out, Kona met a couple new dogs. One ridgeback puppy caught her attention. She again wasn't too happy about being confined on her leash.

We made our final creek crossing to make the scary final stretch to the parking lot. Kona was glad to hop into her crate, but was also willing to snatch a couple treats before making the leap.

She's a bold, snake-rolling huntress.


Sara said...

I would have been freaking matter if the snake was dead or alive! I don't know how you remained calm.

That's great that Kona took some treats before hopping in the safety of her crate.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

We've had our fill of snakes around here. For Kona's sake, I'm glad the one she found was taking a dirt nap.

Kathy said...

wow, my heart would have stopped when I saw that snake, Kona really wants to keep you on your toes ;-).

KB said...

"A bold snake-rolling, huntress" - that line totally cracked me up!

Love reading about your adventures. I'm told that a dog can be your best protection against a lion (if that's what you worry about on those rocky walls). Once, K and I came around a curve on a trail, and a lion stood not 30 years away. K was off-leash and took off after the lion snarling and barking. It all happened so fast that I never uttered a word.

The lion went straight up a tree. At that time, I didn't know that a treed lion is a pretty safe lion to check out so we hightailed it out of there.

At the time, my friend was the leader of a mountain lion research study where they treed lions and put radio collars on them. He wanted to borrow K for his work. He said that either a dog has the lion treeing gene or they don't. Obviously, K does.

Aside from that, he also said that people with dogs on leashes are very rarely attacked. It's way too much trouble for the lion if they have option of an innocent mule deer instead.

LauraK said...

Sounds like a very eventful morning! I wonder why dogs feel the need to roll in really stinky stuff? Especially after a bath, that's the worst!