We took off Saturday morning with me, as usual, in the dark about our destination. I had the chance to wrangle all 3 dogs for a remarkably peaceful walk along a trail in suburban Fairfax while Florian taught a private ballet lesson--during which we saw two deer, two Great Danes, and Fozzie stayed fairly calm on both occasions--and then we were off to Florian's camping land of mystery.
We had discussed going someplace remote where we could relax a bit even with the three dogs, so I was a bit surprised when we came upon the familiar scenes of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
A sweet little town of herb shops, New Age trinket stores, and of course the renowned hot springs, which you can enjoy through one of the spas of through the public site in the park in the center of town.
In the 90 degree heat we had to be a bit creative about how to check out the attractions; fortunately, most of the businesses are dog-friendly. The dogs were able to help Florian pick out a tie-dyed T-shirt, and then we cooled off those fevered paws in the cool stream running right through town. I waded in myself, but not too deep as there are huge crayfish in there and they've given me the heebie-jeebies ever since my big brothers threatened to throw them down my back when I was a kid.
What I always forget about Berkeley Springs is how close it is to the Potomac and some amazing hiking and camping places.
Just a couple of miles out of town we found an access point to the river and to the C & O canal. The dogs took no time at all to get into the water
And Florian was not far behind.
Collette just loves her sticks, and she loves chasing Fozzie around in the water, harassing him, and paddling around.
As far as I know she learned to swim just a few weeks ago--when we took her on another little trail in Virginia--and like most dogs learning to swim she is not what you would call graceful.
She does the most ridiculous thing where the front half of her body rears up out of the water and her paws paddle up and down furiously, creating an enormous splash, while her face gets an incredibly serious look of concentration.
But then, I guess all dogs look kind of ridiculous when they swim.
After cooling off we took a nice stroll along the empty, always beautiful and slightly spooky C & O Canal trail, and then set off to find ourselves some tasty food to share with the dogs before heading off to Sleepy Creek Lake.
It's the closest place we've found to camp near Berkeley Springs, accessible through a winding drive through the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area...State Department of Natural Resources-speak for a place you need to watch your ass during hunting season.
and awakened to a foggy morning on the lake complete with the deafening sounds of bullfrogs, spring peepers, and water birds. Fozzie stayed on his leash until the geese were safe in the center of the lake, and Collette stared out in wonder.