I love the Potomac this time of year, wide, flat, and spooky.
Big bonus for Florian is that there are no snakes when its this cold on the trail.
I kind of love seeing snakes but for some reason our intrepid yodeler from the neutral territories is terrified of them, perhaps because he grew up with poisonous vi-pairs pursuing him as he leapt among the Alps picking mushrooms as a child.
You wouldn't get this Swiss hiker out on these sorts of rocky surfaces in the summer, because he is convinced that under every rock, twined around every tree stump and even lurking in every shallow puddle is a copperhead.
On this hike, we didn't see a single snake
but we did enjoy a perfect day and some really pretty foliage.
Things have gotten so crazy lately that I feel a little bad taking a whole day to just be out somewhere with the dogs.
Two weeks ago I went up to New York to drive Uncle Johnny down here, and since then its been good fun to have him around, get him settled into his apartment, and go looking for good deals on furniture.
I've been getting a steady stream of dog grooming clients, and have been working on a really engaging project on public lands livestock grazing at my nonprofit job--which is what I worked on 15 years ago when I lived in New Mexico--that keeps me happily looking at satellite photos of the Western U.S. and writing complaints to federal agencies for violations of environmental laws many an evening and weekend.
Spending time with Dad and my sister and niece, and trying to make time for training with Fozzie and Dahlia.
I'm not complaining about being busy. No, not me! I am grateful to have fulfilling work and to be surrounded by family members, even if they are crotchety and difficult.
It just can make you feel a bit guilty when you take a day, or a weekend, to not work or take care of anyone or do much of anything besides go space out in the woods or on the river.
This is another reason why dogs are our salvation, because they force us, or at least give us a really good excuse, to do the things that are important for our own health and wellness anyway.
Thanks kids! One more weekend before even more madness with the holidays and plans to make a series of very complex vegan hors d'oevres. Where should we go THIS weekend?