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A friend and I walked with our dogs in the hills yesterday. It had rained the night before and the air was fresh and clean. There were low-lying clouds when we started but soon the sun broke through and we were warm going uphill. We heard a lot of shooting even though the main deer season is over. Probably target shooters. Luna doesn’t care for gunfire but she stayed close. We lingered a bit and the sun went down and suddenly it was chilly. Winter will soon be here.

Another day in the woods with my dogs.

My friend Cindy came to visit from Grant County and she really likes to hike the Maple Pass trail so on Monday, that’s what we did. Us and over 100 other hikers. The place has become overrun with visitors. The restrooms were strewn with trash from the weekend. It was pretty appalling. I heard that someone else estimated 500 hikers on a weekend day. Egads. While this place is over-the-top beautiful, I may take it off of my list of places to hike. Cindy agreed and said she is ready to explore new trails next time.

Luna’s twelfth birthday was this past weekend and we celebrated with friends (dogs and people) and a hike to Cutthroat Lake Sunday afternoon. The original forecast had been for good weather but it was overcast and tried to rain on us. Not enough to get us wet. Going up the trail, we passed many people coming down and all of the dogs were well behaved. We got them off to the side so others could pass. Of course, it took quite a while to get to the lake but there was no big hurry. At the lake, we pretty much had it to ourselves that late in the day. The young dogs – Molly and Kala mostly – ran in big circles chasing each other and burning off steam. Luna, the twelve year old labradoodle kept up with them for one round. Sky found a stick. Really, she did. We visited and photographed and enjoyed the scenery, knowing soon all of it would be deeply covered in snow and we may not get up there again for many months.

This hike at this time of the year is nearly irresistible. How can you NOT do this? Just the drive to the trailhead is enough to make you stop and pay attention.

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