Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Traffic, Snakes and Training

I found myself wishing for a house in the middle of nowhere this morning. The freeway above our neighborhood was closed, diverting traffic through residential streets. (Why on earth CalTrans closes part of the freeway during rush hour is beyond me). This of course happened the morning I tried to walk Kona through the neighborhood. A stream of cars shot her stress through the roof.

We hurried home and set out for the ridge. Unfortunately, we got stuck in the detoured traffic. It took us nearly 20 minutes to drive four blocks. Once on the ridge, the air traffic, there to take footage of the freeway closure, buzzed my nerves to the edge. Please. Turn. Off. The. Noise.

I know things will quiet down. We had a peaceful run yesterday and I'll try to focus on that.

We were out early again yesterday. The sunrise painted the eastern mountains orange.
Kona seemed to watch the sky with me.

At the bottom of our long downhill, Kona and I stopped to investigate some interesting scat. I almost think it was an owl pellet as I've never seen bones like that in coyote scat. Any ideas?
Before turning around to climb back uphill, something caught Kona's attention. The seeds on the plants behind her are turning from cotton white to red. I suppose we get some fall color around here.
We climbed the steepest section of trail, catching the sun before it touched down into the canyons.
Before we reached our vista, we stumbled across a snake track.
Towards the end of our run, we ran into a second track. It seems like the snakes are more active this time of year.

Some of you asked if I've ever run into a rattlesnake. I have seen only two rattlesnakes in all my time running and hiking in their habitat. Both of those encounters happened in the last three years. One was on this trail. While considered an aggressive snake, rattlers earn this title only because they don't back down from a confrontation, not because they chase or wait in hiding to bite. All the same, I've kept a keen eye on the trail recently.
Back on a snake-free vista, I practice some obedience with Kona. These mini-sessions often perk Kona up. Her body relaxed and she held her tail up.
Before heading back to the car, we practiced one off leash recall. Kona stayed put as I ran away, then ran with gusto when I called her to me.
Instead of putting her back on leash, I kept her loose while I walked back to the green bench to pick up my treat bag and camera case. Kona was obviously feeling spunky to be off lead. When she started trotting away with too much spunk, I called her name. She spun her head around to look at me! She didn't come back in my direction (which was fine. I didn't recalled her.) but met me over at the bench, where I gave her a huge handful of treats.

That's my Kona Girl!


Sara said...

I'm always dreaming of a house in the middle of nowhere!

Yay Kona, behaving off leash, and being a happy girl. That's awesome.

Priscilla said...

Good girl!!
You must be so proud of her. Good she looks at you when you call her name. We really have to practise recall with Eva.

Careful of those rattlesnakes!

Barb said...

Look at that smile Kona has! She knows she's done GOOD! Loved seeing your early morning shots, AC. I bet KB and I will be the only ones to enlarge the scat photo! It doesn't really look formed enough for coyote - would be very interested to know if it is an owl pellet. I bet KB will know.

KB said...

I love that last photo! That's a smile a mile wide. I'm smiling back at you, Kona!

As for the scat, I don't know. I kind of doubt that owls eat entire bones like that... but I know that coyotes do. However, coyotes have very acidic GI tracts that help them to break down bones so usually the bone pieces are smaller than that.

I have a bunch of great tracking (and scat) books - I'll look to see if I can figure it out.

Sorry about the traffic. The air traffic can be the worst... It was driving me nuts during our fire. Glad that you had a peaceful run yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Awww...I luvs her happy, smiling face! What a very good girl she is!

I don't know what kinda poop that was. It for sure wasn't bear poop. Bear poop has berries in it!

Yep, I think you and Kona woulda liked our hike in Collie-rado. Nobuddy around for miles and miles.

Wiggles & Wags,

Diana said...

Love the sun rise photos. Snakes, uh no thanks. Diana

Kathy said...

Kona looks proud of herself for her great recall practice, that is a big smile in the last picture ;-). It looks like fall....I have noticed the snakes a lot more too, I wonder if they are just closer to people or if there are really more snakes?????

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

You could move here. :o)

I love that last shot. Smiling girl!

Stella said...

Sweet Kona looks very pleased with herself and with you!

I love your pictures!

Jo and Stella