To celebrate Ruby's maybe-birthday yesterday, I decided to take her for a hike. Initially we planned on just going out to a rural area where we could walk some wide, gravel roads with pretty scenery, but I ended up stumbling across a hidden gem of an open space area, really almost too good to be true.
We met only one other person at the start, a woman walking a three-legged buff-colored Pomeranian. I could tell that we were likely going to intersect, but I wasn't sure which way was she was going so I didn't change our course, just kept Ruby on the opposite side of the road as they exited the open space area. They turned our way so we were walking parallel for a short time, although I picked up our pace to get ahead. I was so proud of Ruby as we passed - she was interested but not reacting - but after we got in front the Pomeranian started barking and Ruby could no longer contain herself. She started straining at her leash and barking, and I broke into a jog and led us off the road.
It was then that I noticed the county sign that designated the area as public access, so in a way we have the yappy Pomeranian to thank for our discovery. I kept feeling like we were trespassing, that this beautiful respite in its transitory shades of rust and gold under a brilliant Colorado blue sky couldn't possibly be ours alone for the wandering... A little footpath gently wove around the edge of a ravine, into a pine forest, over a slick rock ridge and across a meadow with a cattail marsh at the bottom.
Ruby was a different dog in this setting. I didn't ask much of her, as I wanted her to be able to relax and enjoy herself. Her terrier side definitely took over as she kept her nose to the ground for most of the time. We listened to the calls of red-winged blackbirds from the reeds and dogs barking in the distance. I truly felt she was in her element, not worried about traffic or strangers or the constant noise of the suburbs, and began to fantasize about a life in the country. As Ruby panted happily and explored the terrain with all her senses, I felt my own stress melt away.
Driving home with her curled contentedly in the back seat I realized that if Ruby
were the "take anywhere" dog that I had initially hoped to adopt, we
would not have traveled off the beaten path to find the swath of land
that felt like our very own for an hour or so, that reminded me how much
I love following my feet into the woods behind a wagging tail.