However, waking up Ashland is pretty beautiful even if you don’t get to see Shakespeare.
So Tucker took over my job.
Sunday brought a brief amount of sunshine and I took the limited opportunity to get to the nearest mountain for a hike.
Mount Seymour had a dog-friendly hike called, oddly, Dog Mountain. It seemed like a good beginning hike for us. However, it was closed.
Now, if you have full control over your dog, that’s great. Honestly, there were plenty of times I thought I might crack my head open as I stumbled over roots and slippery rocks while holding Tucker’s leash. It would be safer if he could be off leash. However, he’s not a fan of all dogs. He’s not great with un-neutered males, and he gets pretty worked up about any dog that is not being respectful of their owner. Tucker cannot be off leash. And that’s fine. I’ve accepted that. And probably 80% of the time, that’s totally cool. The moment that follows falls into the 20% "not cool" category.
Being my first hike in British Columbia, I didn’t realize there is a bit of difference in their ratings of trails. Now I know that “moderate” in Canadian terms is “impossible” to Americans. “Easy” will still involve some obstacles. A couple days ago I read a description of a “dog-friendly” hike that was “moderate” because there was only “a couple of ropes to climb that you will have to hoist your dog up.” What?!? Evidently us Americans are used to Candyland, and the Canadians are playing Chutes and Ladders.
This particular hike at Mt Seymour was quite muddy (it had been raining), and Tucker and I hadn’t yet coordinated our hiking-in-mud policies so it was a bit stressful as I tried to remain upright. Mud and severe elevation changes, and roots and rocks and then bunches of people and their dogs. It wasn’t quite the peaceful and serene hiking experience I’m used to.
I had considered turning back but tried to keep going. Tucker never wants to give up, and I really didn’t want this to be a wasted venture. But then there it was: the dog coming up quickly behind us with no person attached. Tucker wouldn’t keep moving forward, but there was no person so I didn’t know what would happen when the dog arrived in front of us. The person finally came into view, saw Tucker and called her dog. No response. Called again. Still nothing. The dog continued toward us, and albeit not in a threatening manner, still was not under the control of his person (and it was a leashed trail, mind you), which alone is terrifying and there was nowhere for us to step off the trail to be out of the way. The trail itself is only a few feet wide. Dogs coming up the hill are meeting dogs coming down head-on. Not a good way to introduce one another.
Her dog gets up to Tucker just as she reaches her dog with a leash excusing him because “he’s friendly.” Tucker lunges at the dog ferociously, people with small dogs coming up are terrified, and the dog with no respect for his owner just carries on like nothing happened.
Meanwhile Tucker and I are in the treeline, bush limbs jabbing into my spine, and he’s thrashing about, upset at the dog that just passed and scaring the people with a dachshund off leash heading toward us.
And that’s when I felt we should call it quits.
We climbed back up the steep, muddy, narrow trail and out into the open. I took a breath, looked around, and off to the side I saw a trailhead everyone else was ignoring.
Through a small meadow, Tucker and I alone crossed a bridge and headed up to a peak.