We've been gone for a season, but are back again.
A schedule change keeps Kona and I away from our sunrises some days, so we're hitting the trails in the afternoon. Some of you may know that afternoons pose extra challenges for Kona. A combination of less energy and more neighborhood sounds can put my fearful girl on high alert. But as more seasons together pass, midday outings become more commonplace, and even offer special adventures.
A balmy 50 degrees made for perfect hiking weather on Kona's favorite trail.
Kona buzzed with nervous energy left over from the car ride to the trailhead. I worried she wouldn't be able to relax. Suddenly, Kona froze and spun around. Coming behind us on the fireroad sauntered the largest animal Kona ever saw. A horse. I pulled Kona off the trail to let the horse pass. Much to my dismay, as the horse trotted by, Kona responded like the beast before her was an overgrown deer.
Just when I thought Kona might stop pulling like her last supper was getting away, the horse turned around towards us again. The rider stopped right by Kona and I, letting us know that her horse was good with dogs; There was no need to pull off the trail. I thanked the rider but let her know that I didn't think my dog was too good with horses. She offered to hang out for awhile to let Kona investigate her first big deer.
I hesitated, but the rider and her horse had such perfect, calm energy that we stuck around. The rider talked casually about dogs while I white-knuckled Kona's leash. After awhile, the horse decided to get a better whiff of Kona, turning his face inches away from my sweet predator. Kona's muscles pulsed. With each exhale from the horse's large nostils, Kona leaped backward. The horse had called her bluff. Kona was way too nervous to make the mysterious beast into lunch.
No sooner had they left that Kona wanted to chase after them again. After several bends in the trail, she forgot about the horse, but continued to buzz with nervous energy. The huntress was primed.
For the rest of our hike, I held on for dear life. Kona slowed only to plead with me. "Can't you move any faster, the squirrel's getting away."
As we explored a new section of trail, Kona's spunk came to use as she helped tow me up the steep terrain.
I made it back to the car in one piece. Despite her antics, Kona seemed not an ounce tired. And remember that girl who was too scared to drink on her hikes? Well horses and squirrels make a girl thirsty.