The Very Long Hike

EagerDog HalfwayHike TiredDog

[First pic: We’re going somewhere? Now? YAHOO!!! Second pic: Ummmm, this is a really long hike, dude. Third pic: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!]

Today, we demanded too much of the geriatric and overweight in our house. And I’m not referring to myself or Frank.

We took the beagle on a very long (too long) hike around Pickerel Lake, north of Chelsea in the Pinckney State Recreation Area.

He’s all worned out.

We drove out to Peach Mountain, which is, allegedly, according to this thing called the internet, a place where you could walk around Stinchfield Woods. But we ran smack-dab (as we say in Oklahoma) into that monolithic institution, the University of Michigan, which owns all of that neck of the woods and has an observatory on Peach ‘Mountain.’ (And I wonder if they also own that strip-mine quarry out there, too?)

The roads have very stern ‘No Parking for Any Reason at Any Time’-type signs every few yards and the trees on the edge of the property have ‘No Access for Any Reason at Any time’-type signs every few yards. I don’t think UM wants anyone to get in there, even though we, the public, supposedly ‘own’ it.

So we pushed on and discovered our second obstacle. The Pinckney State Recreation Area, like the Hudson Mills Metropark nearby, charges admission. We thought $4 for Hudson Mills was a little absurd for a short hike; imagine our surprise when the friendly ranger at PSRA wanted $6.

He leaned towards my driver’s-side window and asked which pass we wanted, the day pass? The beagle answered from the backseat with a very loud ‘Ruff!’ Alas, we didn’t have that much cash with us, not having planned on being charged for touching nature.

We turned around and found the parking area at Pickerel Lake (free!) and had a reasonably enjoyable hike (with the exception of a visit from a very friendly and hyper terrier of some sort named Howard, who was at a loss to understand why Bayley was rather … less-than-happy to see him.

The trail is lovely and even though you have to share the road with mondo-bicyclists who all look the same, since they’re outfitted as if they’re in the Tour de France, they were polite and friendly and it wasn’t too bad.

It was, however, way too long for the old, fat beagle. I ended having to carry him the last quarter-mile or so back to the Jeep. On our last rest stop, he attempted to sit down and ended up falling over. And yes, I should be horsewhipped; I’m feeling majorly guilty this evening for not taking just a little bitty hike with him.

He’s been very quiet this evening, not moving a whole lot because he’s sore. Otherwise, he seems to be fine; he’ll just be grandpa-ish for a couple of days. He did enjoy most of the hike (although he could have done without meeting Howard) and it was a beautiful spring day, so it was a good thing.

And maybe, just maybe, he lost a pound or two of all that winter fat. He turns 10 in August and the Battle of the Bulge is getting ever more crucial in making sure that he matches his great-grandmother’s record of 17+ years of happy beagle life.