Monday, August 16, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

The Moorhead Park District sponsors a 'dog swim' event at the neighborhood wading pools the night before they are drained for the summer.    It was a cool evening for swimming, but in a way it was nice, as there weren't as many people there as there might have been otherwise.

Swimming in a pool is an entirely different experience for dogs than swimming in a lake.   For one thing, they have to step (or jump) off the edge into the water rather than run into it as they do at a lake.  Getting out is a little different too.  They have to push themselves up out of the water onto the concrete.   And then there is the chlorine - which, I suspect, stings their eyes, just as it does ours.   Both of the girls were nervous, and needed a little coaxing to get in the water.  For Princess, watching the other dogs splash around and chase after the ball was enough to make to conquer her fears.   She stood on the edge, leaning toward the water, trying to muster the courage to take the plunge.   I finally gave her a little push and she fell in.   Once she realized that she could swim, she was hooked.   I pushed her a couple more times and after that she did it all by herself.   I was so proud of her, and she had so much fun.   She is a brave girl. 

Dee Dee - not so much.  For one thing, she hates commotion, so just having so many other dogs around made her nervous.   I picked her up and put her in the water several times - even pulling her on a leash while she swam, but she just wanted to get to the edge and scramble back up to solid ground.    People were incredulous when I told them how she charges into Lake Michigan and lets huge waves swallow her up and absolutely loves it!    It's hard to imagine being afraid of a little wading pool after facing the waves of the Great Lakes.  

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Itasca State Park and Walker Bay

The heat and humidity have made it hard to sleep this summer, so what better way to relax than head to Itasca State Park for the weekend.  Lake Itasca is the source of the Mississippi River.   There's a lot to do there.

We pitched our tent at Bear Paw Campground and, I'm happy to say, didn't actually 'see' any bear paws other than the engraved ones on the sign!   There was, however, a skunk who found his way into the campground the first night.   Our food was safely stored in the trunk of the car, so we were bypassed, thankfully.

On Saturday we went to the Mississippi headwaters.  I'm sure I've been there at least a dozen times over the years, and I've never seen the water as deep as it was this time.  They've had a LOT of rain this summer; one ranger told me they'd had around 14 inches - just in July!    We waded across, none-the-less, and the girls enjoyed cooling off, although the congestion was a bit too much for Dee Dee.   She was happy to head back to the car and move along to the next spot - which was a stroll along Mary Lake and the Red Pine Trail.   My eyes were peeled for glimpses of the Minnesota State flower, the showy lady slipper, and I wasn't disappointed.
It was a hot day, so in the afternoon we took a drive to Lake George and on to Walker, which is one of my three favorite Minnesota resort towns (along with Grand Marais and Lanesboro). Leech Lake is a much prettier lake than its name would make it sound (I have yet to actually see a leech there), and the public beach on Walker Bay is just wonderful. We had a great time cooling off there.  When it was time to leave, Dee Dee put up a fuss.   As soon as she realized we were walking toward the car, she stopped in her tracks and looked at me with pleading eyes:   "Please, Mom, just a little bit longer ..."   I gave in - three times, in fact - before I decided that we really did need to leave!    In the evening, I went to a show at Jaspers Jubilee Theatre in Park Rapids.    By that time, the girls were worn out and happy to nap in the car.    I got this picture of them sharing the shady side of the back seat.   Dee Dee woke up when I slowed to take the picture, but they had been lying almost on top of each other, sound asleep.