Well, the dog and I just hit 100 miles. Only 200 more to go. Leo’s been with me every step of the way. I’ve learned a few things about him. In an homage to the awesome movie “High Fidelity” here are the Top Five things about my dog on a trail run.
5) He always sits up when the truck decelerates. When I ask him if he wants to go for a run, he gets “triangle ears” and starts stretching. When I put the shoes on and grab the Camelback he starts to whine and stands at the door looking at the doorknob. When he gets in the bed of the truck and we’re cruising up the shore, he just lies down on his blanket. When I decelerate, he always senses it and sits up, thinking we’re there. Any deceleration at all. When the g-forces stabilize, he gets back down to the blanket. It’s nice to have a running buddy who’s that motivated.
4) He’s a wheelsuck. In bike racing, a wheelsuck is someone who sits in your draft and never helps the group lead into the wind. When I’m running through grass or brush, Leo is a total wheelsuck. His forefeet on the forward swing hit the soles of my feet on the backswing. He’s so close behind me that I can feel his whiskers on my calves. Sometimes we get tangled up. So, if you ever find me cold and dead with my teeth all smashed out on a rock, you’ll know what happened.
3) He never found a body of water he wouldn’t plunge his junk into. He deserves to get a drink. But he does this while flopping his whole body down in the water. He did this today at 45F and overcast. And we just got started.
2) He’s happiest when he’s outside. When we are outside, he listens. He comes to heel. Even around large groups of other people. He’s friendly. Listens to commands. Is mellow around strangers. Always looks back conscientiously for me and stays within sight of me. I don’t know if he’s capable of the emotion, but I think he’s happy. He’s quite pleasant to be around. At home, inside, he pees on the kitchen floor because you said good morning to him. Psychotic. OCD. Freaky. Lurking around and acting all weird. But outside, he’s content. Kind of like me.
1) He never gives up. Never. Ever. He plunges into the bushes every five minutes after squirrels and chipmunks. He’s never caught one. Today, he probably charged into the brush over 50 times. I ran 16 miles, which means he ran at least 32. And every time we hear that chirp, it’s like the first time. He never gets discouraged. Ever. He just goes for it. No memory. I admire that.
Today, Ken Nelson from Duluth was the driver of the Superior Shuttle that took us from Lutsen to Cascade River. His family founded Tofte in 1885. There were no roads until 1924. There were lots of people in the shuttle hiking and more people on the trail than I’d ever seen. Three big groups of at least a dozen each, young college students from Northwestern in Chicago up for five day jaunts. I met a West Point graduate. He self admitted this because he saw my Air Force hat. He was up for a week-long hike. Lots of other solo and duo hikers. I thought school was back in session? Who are all these people?
We flushed three grouse today. Just like last week. And it’s supposed to be a low year. Season opens tomorrow.
Big features today were the big cliffs on the north side of the ridge along the shore. Really something. Also, the ridge itself, only broken by two creeks. Long, straight, and level ridge running. Hardwoods soaking up the sun on the south side and conifers living in the shade on the north side. A few beaver ponds. Lake Agnes was quite pretty.
And the truck showed up at 16 miles instead of 17.5. Which was a pleasant surprise.
Today, 12 September is one year since I last flew the Viper. And all afternoon, I could hear the boys above the overcast, raging around in Snoopy. It made me proud.
Today’s Data from my fancy new Garmin 620: North Shore Shmo: Leg 21
This attempt to run all 300 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail in support of the Wounded Warrior Project: North Shore Shmo!
T-shirt of the Day:
Today I wore my Afghanistan shirt. Jokingly referred to as “Asscrackistan.”
Interestingly, the AFCENT patch for that part of the world is a brown and black depiction of the globe centered on that region. The countries under the purview of CENTCOM are depicted in black. I used to point at my chest and say, “Look. The black part. It looks like an asshole. The world is a butt and the black part is the asshole of the world.” I took seven trips to the asshole of the world.