We spent the day walking on Marros Mountain. Not the whole day. We were only out for about two and a half hours, but the sun was low in the sky when we returned, so it feels like we were at it all day. Our mission today was a long walk, and we accomplished that, if not much else.
We took a very long walk, indeed, really for Truman’s benefit more than our own. The weather’s been cold, but bright and sunny and the dog has been pining at the back door since yesterday. When Truman needs a long walk he won’t settle. He becomes this manic, attention seeking little powerhouse; dragging laundry off the radiators, or shoes downstairs; a bundle of puppy energy that has no where to go but naughtiness. There’s nothing for it but to help him burn off some of the excess with a ramble through the countryside. This is known as “breaking the dog.” Don’t worry. He’s not really broken. Just calm and sleepy and lovely and mellow at the end of the process.
We don’t always feel like walking when Truman does, but if we oblige him he sleeps for hours and hours afterward. It’s always worth it. Plus there are health benefits for both Tonia and me that I’m well aware of. And I like knowing that my legs will carry me for hours across the countryside if I so chose.
Jasper accompanied us for the first part of the journey, as he often does. I’ve been wanting a picture of this for months now. Today, Tonia caught the moment for posterity. Adorable, isn’t it? My neighbors find Jasper’s behavior delightful; the little orange cat trotting along the lane with his very best buddy in the whole wide world. Make no mistake, the cat is walking with Truman, not with me.
I was a little nervous about Jasper following us, as we were planning to cover a fair bit of ground. I’ve been worried that Jasper will wander off and not be able to find his way home. I needn’t have. We met Stephanie, a neighbor, looking after her horses on Honeypot Hill, just at the base of the mountain. Jasper took one look at her collie, and decided that that was far enough for him. He was waiting on the back porch for us when got home.
Near the foot bridge over the creek there’s a boggy area that’s been iced over for most the week. There’s been no rain, so the water level has dropped, leaving sheets of ice suspended between the willow saplings growing out of the bog.
Up the mountain (which is really no more than a large hill) we followed the the tumbled remains of a dry stone wall along several large fields, to the kissing gate at the entrance to the woods. There were more molehills this time than last week, and fewer sheep. Which is to say, none at all, today. Lots of wool though, snagged on gorse and along fences.
In the clearing just inside the woods we stopped for rest and a Dollheid photo op. This part of the woods was clear cut by the previous owners, leaving a stark landscape of stumps and gorse. The current owners, neighbors of ours, are actively managing the woodland, planting deciduous native species, and thinning the old over grown woods. There are big plans for the area, and it does my heart good to see the place under such careful management.
Until this month I hadn’t walked Marros Mountain for five years, and the last time I was up here the woods were dark and silent. It’s lovely to see the range of wildlife now in the area. Last week I spotted a Pine Martin slipping into the undergrowth while I walked with Truman. Stephanie mentioned this morning that she’d seen deer tracks in last months’ snow and, sure enough, today we spotted a deer. Though if she hadn’t mentioned it, I probably wouldn’t have recognized it as such, as I’ve never seen one here. It’s quite surprising to discover deer living less than a mile (as the crow flies) from my front door.
As for my new Dollheid, it performed admirably on its first outing, doing everything that a well made hat ought. The cashmere lining of the corrugated ribbing is super soft. My ears were kept toasty and my head neither too warm or cold. An excellent hat (worthy of a Today’s Sweater feature in the next podcast) for a most excellent Sunday, walking frost-covered Marros Mountain on a blue-skied afternoon.