I don't know why it looks like I have a peg leg in this picture
We went on Merlin's favorite river hike. Mama and I have not taken that hike because that trail is always packed with bikes on the weekend, but since we were going in the middle of the day on a work day Mama figured there'd be fewer bikes. She was right, but there were still an awful lot.
We hiked along the river and through the woods and despite the bikes I had fun. Right when we started I accidentally stepped on a frog and was very surprised when it hopped out from under my foot. Then I spotted a snake and this one didn't lift its head but rather slithered off into the grass and I followed it (from a safe distance). I also got to go wading in the river and was so excited that Mama almost went swimming in the river but managed to catch her balance on the slimy mud shore somehow.
Wading by where some trees fell in to the river and made a calm spot
We got to what Mama said was Merlin's favorite bench and sat down for a rest and to enjoy the view. Some dog was barking on the other side of the river, but I didn't bark back.
The view from Merlin's bench
Then after a bit we kept hiking until we got to what Mama says is Boo's bench. When Boo was alive there wasn't a bench there, but Boo always stopped at this same spot every time they hiked this trail. After Boo died Mama called the forest preserve people to find out how much it would cost to install a bench there. She got transferred into someone's voicemail and she left a message. Nobody ever got back to her about how she could donate the money for a bench, but when she went hiking with Merlin the first time on that trail, there was a bench right where she had wanted to install one! So, she calls it Boo's Bench.
Standing on Boo's Bench and enjoying the view
When we got to the end of the hike Mama took me down below a bridge for some skinny-dipping. Well, I went skinny-dipping, Mama stayed dressed and on shore.
Our stuff on the backpack tree
On our return hike a woman on a bike passed us and I lunged and barked at her. She stopped and called out to Mama, "Are you on a counter conditioning walk today?" Mama said yes we were and the lady asked if she could help. Mama said sure. The lady was a vet tech with a reactive German shepherd and she said said she wished more people would stop and help her when she was out with him. The lady got off her bike and came over and said hi to me. Mama gave her some treats and she gave some to me. Then she walked her bike by me and handed me treats then she straddled her bike and walked past me and handed me treats, which was a bit unnerving but fun. Then she got on the bike and pedaled slowly past me and tossed treats, which was odd, but yummy. Then she stopped and dropped some treats by her wheel which I went and got. Then she leaned over and pet me while straddling her bike and I liked that. Then she biked off and I was fine. Then about 1 minute later she came back and passed me again and I lunged and barked at her. Mama called me an idiot and the woman said, "Well you did say it was a work in progress. Good luck!" and she rode off.
When we got to Merlin's Bench I wanted to go sit down again. There was a man down by the bench playing the weirdest game of fetch. He had a stick in his hand and he act like he was going to throw it in the river for me and wanted me to be sure I saw where it went. I'd get all psyched up and ready to jump in the water and fetch it, but then he wouldn't throw it. He just stand there with it for awhile and then he'd pretend like he was going to throw it again. I watched him for the longest time, but he never threw that stick. Mama said he wasn't playing fetch, he was fly fishing.
At the end of the hike Mama and I met an 8 week old chocolate Labrador puppy. We spent about 15 minutes sniffing and playing and Mama talked to the puppy's mama and grandma (this was their first ever dog). The puppy tried to eat my tail, but I didn't mind. Finally I decided I'd had enough puppy and told Mama it was time to get going and Mama and I walked back to the car while the puppy went on her first ever hike.
Total Miles Hiked: 5.5
Bikes Seen: 35