Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Springtime in January - Hike to the Lake

Do you see this?

It's the last of the snow piles melting on a 68 degree Sunday afternoon. Yes, 68 degrees on January 30th!! And this after weeks of the mercury in the thermometer hovering around 32. Needless to say, this was a weekend to get outdoors and enjoy the spring-like weather. I asked the dogs "Do you want to go for a hike?" and they exploded into two furry, dancing balls of "YES!!!"

The trail to Lake Powhatan begins in a parking area alongside the French Broad River. As soon as the dogs hopped out of the truck, they were busy soaking up the smells of the woods. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to experience the world like a dog, able to smell everything, seen and unseen. They probably wonder about me too, when I'm trying to move them along, oblivious to some captivating scent. "Doesn't she want to come over here and smell this??"

Here's Lucky demonstrating for you his most favorite thing about hiking:

The trail follows a stream most of the way to the lake, and there are several great spots for the dogs to swim. I never imagined it would be warm enough for a swim this weekend, but they loved it.

Our peaceful moment at the creek was interrupted when the dogs began to bristle and growl. I turned around, and discovered an unleashed Great Dane looking me in the eye. I almost jumped out of my skin. Lady, who lunges and goes crazy at other dogs, as I've mentioned elsewhere in this blog, was at the end of her extender leash, so I quickly tried to grab the fabric part of the leash as she jumped around, getting "leash burn" in the process.

This experience was made all the more surreal by the dog's owner, who stood nearby doing nothing, leash in hand, and proceeded to chastise me in a sweet, condescending voice: "Relax. Relax. Your energy...." When I reminded her that Lake Powhatan trails require dogs to be on leash, she serenely advised me to watch "The Dog Whisperer." I'm a peace-loving, easygoing person, but I just wanted to smack her. Cesar Milan is the only reason I can even take Lady out in public, thank you very much. Of course I didn't think of this clever response until later. Oh well. *deep breath*  Rude, condescending woman will not ruin our hike! On we go....

There were lots of other dogs and people at Lake Powhatan when we arrived. Everyone was out enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. What a surprise to discover the lake almost completely ice-covered!

The trail around the lake weaves through tunnels of rhododendron. The old-timers used to call these places "hells" because of the difficulty they caused when traveling. We are thankful someone has done the hard work for us in creating the trail.

What a great day for a hike!

6 1/2 miles - not bad for an old guy!


  1. What a fabulous scenic hike! Wish we could have joined you! The boys are getting a little stir-crazy with cabin-fever these days what with the two feet of snow on the ground and another 12-18 inches due by tomorrow night. Lady and Lucky appear so happy to be on the trail! BTW, my sympathies about the run-in with the Dane's owner; been there, done that (many times, unfortunately). Oh well, as you said, "on we go"... :-)

  2. That looks so fantastic! And I have to envy your spring-like temps. Sadly, I don't think we'll be seeing anything like that for a long time. The Chicago Tribune has been saying we need to "Brace" for the "massive" "potentially life-threatening blizzard". I'm not sure if that's a sensationalist effort to bring back newspapers, or if it will really be as bad as they say.

  3. Hi! I'm a new follower on your blog. I'm loving the adorable pictures!

  4. Love the photos! Wish I had been there!!!

  5. oh, man, i am jealous. jealous. jealous.

  6. Oh! Hiking in NC!!! We'll be back there in 235 days!! I LOVE NC!

  7. We wish you all could have come along! Supposedly we're in for an onslaught of freezing rain on Friday, but the unexpected respite from winter sure was nice - even if it was only for a couple of days. :)