Everybody said he was handsome. Then he started to ooze.
I’ve owned many dogs. But, for some reason, I never fully understood how nasty they can be until Leo came along. We took him to get professionally cleaned one time. The lady who was going to shampoo him said, “Would you like us to express his anal glands?” What the WHAT?, I thought. Hard to believe, but I didn’t fully understand this part of a dog’s anatomy. Well, Leo has them. Oh boy, does he.
We first thought we were smelling some stinky garbage. Then we found tiny, dime-sized, circular leavings of water in the house. “Water.” They were something he left behind. From the glands. Like dew. The kids started calling it “butt dew.” It smells like fish, road-killed deer, and a dash of pepper-spray, all rolled into one. When we are in the house, we all gag and say, “Butt dew!” Leo knows what this is, curls and smells his own butt for confirmation, and retreats to the other room in shame.
Well, it was a busy morning for the Superior Hiking Shuttle. Bob enlisted Kathy to drive an overflow vehicle. The people were going out to catch the fading leaves in droves. Well, Leo and I jumped in the front seat of Kathy’s small SUV. Two folks were in the back from Coon Rapids. They were headed to Beaver Bay from the Split Rock Wayside, just like I was. They said they had multiple dogs at home and remarked on how handsome Leo was. I remarked that we call him the supermodel: good to look at, but not so smart.
Then, the butt dew. The ooze. I nearly threw up. Leo curled and smelled his own butt. Yup, butt dew confirmed. I cracked the window and apologized. They all said it was no big deal. Kind of like it’s no big deal to smell a baby’s diaper. From an inch away. And then, I thought that maybe they thought I was trying to cover my own fart by blaming the dog. I dismissed that because no human, not even me, has ever smelled that bad. There was an awkward silence until we arrived at the Beaver Bay trailhead. Life is more interesting with Leo on board, that’s for sure.
We headed west under the crystal clear skies. We followed the north facing cliffs for about a mile. If you believe the topo maps, it’s a two hundred foot drop. As we trotted along the edge, we spooked a raptor. I’m not sure what kind, but the uniformly light-colored hawk/falcon followed us along the cliffs for about fifty yards. Then we got a high-altitude view of a beaver pond. When we found the pond and its creek, the name Fault Line Creek seemed appropriate. Like a big karate chop in the land. A straight line that shouldn’t be there.
We flushed five grouse today as we made our way along. We got an amazing view of Lake Superior a couple times along the sawtooth ridge line. One of the overlooks gave us a distant glimpse of the Split Rock lighthouse. We made our way west and eventually got another view of the lighthouse from the west side. Ridiculous views of Lake Superior. How did I get so lucky? Time off. Health. Vision.
We found the Merrill Grade. An old railroad grade that was there for the old logging operations. Another straight line that shouldn’t be there. We found the spur down to where we parked the truck. I was planning on eleven miles and it was. I’ll have to leave the Split Rock river loop for another day. I didn’t have a second consecutive 15-miler in me.
We went down to get a close up of Split Rock lighthouse. I figured Leo likes to swim. He obliged and jumped in Gitchee Gumee for a photo. But he didn’t stay long. Cold.
For the record, even outdoors with a Lake Superior breeze, he still stank. But even so, over the course of this running adventure, I’ve come to love this stupid, smelly, hairy creature.
Today’s Data: North Shore Shmo: Leg 32
Consider a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project thru North Shore Shmo!
T-Shirt of the Day:
It’s a Fat Tire shirt from the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Chef got her masters there at CSU. We used to get the beer from the teat. It’s a shirt about beer. Why run? To make room for beer. Oh, and beer. Because beer.