I was proud to have the company of Gary Black and his dog, Bellatrix on today’s run. Gary’s a former naval aviator in the Tomcat and now works for Cirrus. He picked a beautiful day to join me. The sun was yet again shining in the sky as we headed from Rossini Road to the Sucker River Lot off the Fox Farm Road. The day began with a nice view from “12 Mile View” and ended with a real head-shaker.
We passed three ladies who started out just ahead of us. They pulled up in a clone of Gary’s car. Leo made himself at home in the front seat when Gary let him in to shuttle us to the put-in. I figured I’d leave the truck at the takeout when the dogs were messier. Leo makes himself right at home. Bella meanwhile acted like a normal dog. What a treat to be around normal.
We continued up a long ridge through some hardwoods. We could see the lake glimmering from the 12 Mile View overlook. Then we continued along the ridge and you could see for miles through the trees empty of leaves. then we descended down to the West Branch of the Knife. I thought maybe it was the French River, but I was having wishful thinking of being further west. Leo taught Bella how to swim. He also tried to teach her how to swim in every skanky mud-hole he could find. She showed judgment and elected to avoid giardia. Suit yourself, thought Leo, as he licked up algae-filled muck. When we get home, Shelley usually asks if he got dirty. Nah, he’s fine, I say.
Leo tried tripping up Gary. He realized that maybe my run down the shore has been kind of a death match between me and my dog. Then he took a dirt sample without Leo’s help. Fortunately it was a smaller tree that gave in instead of a big tree that would’ve “left a mark.” We reenacted the scene for the camera. We hit some clear cuts that afforded awesome views of the miles to come. Saw some awesome beaver ponds. About half a dozen of them sprouting dead trees that had been flooded. We finally reached the spur to the parking lot. We made our way across the Sucker River bridge and up to the parking lot.
Then, like they say in flying, the mission’s not over until you’re in the chocks and the engine is shut down. Right as we stumbled out on to Fox Farm Road, I saw something up the road to the west. A rabbit. Bella saw it too and went into a crouch. The rabbit, amazingly, came toward us. It got within 20 feet of the dog. Gary told Bella to stay, to see how close it would get. Then Leo saw it. No stopping that moron. He charged. Bella and Leo crashed into the brush to the left. Then the rabbit appeared back on the road with Leo in hot pursuit. They tore to the west from where the rabbit came. Leo almost had him and the rabbit took an instant right turn and Leo skidded into lag. By then, Bella was back in the fight and followed Leo and the rabbit into the brush to the right. Gary and I laughed our heads off. How much would you pay? Don’t answer yet.
Then like something out of Wile E. Coyote chasing the roadrunner, the rabbit came back out onto the road. All by himself for a long time. Then Leo appeared back on the road. Never quit, man, never quit. But this time the rabbit was running. Right. Back. Toward me and Gary. Unbelievable. Like a black streak of lightning, Leo gained on the idiot hare and ran directly back by me. Hard to take pictures while simultaneously laughing and picking your jaw out of the dirt. Bella followed Leo into the woods on the east side of the lot back into the woods. Leo was making some kind of weird yipping sound as he disappeared into the distance. The doppler shift of the yipping faded to silence.
Gary and I looked at each other and realized that our dogs were now a half mile away. We were so close to going home and now we had to reel in the mutts. Luckily they came after a few minutes of calling. No rabbit parts in their mouth, so I guess he got away. My theory is that the rabbit was trying to commit “suicide by dog.” What rabbit runs toward a dog? Bugs Bunny was really bugs, I guess. It was kind of creepy. It is close to Halloween, after all. If Gary wasn’t there, I’m not sure anybody would believe this one.
Action Sequence follows:
Thanks for running with me, Gary! You too, Bella!
Today’s Data: North Shore Shmo: Leg 39
Consider a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project via North Shore Shmo!
T-Shirt of the Day:
I ran the Ham Lake Half Marathon in May 2013. I stayed with the Prom family at Voyageurs at the end of the Gunflint. If you want to run a cool race that takes over the whole end of the Gunflint Trail, this is your baby. It was surreal under an overcast sky running through the remnants of the Ham Lake fire. I ran pretty goodly also.