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Monday, May 23, 2011

Beau Climbs the Flume and Mt Liberty

Once again Beau had a good week. He already had hiked Mt Liberty (if you remember his first hike http://www.armynavyblog.com/2011/04/beaus-first-4000-footer.html), but because of a lot of rain and high water we decided to revisit Liberty and to climb the flume slide.

We went to obedience class Thursday. Except for the barking the instructor thought Beau was a very smart boy, however he found me a little slow as a handler.

The parking lot is just off I-93 or just past the Flume attraction in Lincoln see http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/liberty.html

We started off with our usual lead arrangement but after about 5 minutes I decided that I would trust Beau to go off leash. It was a leap of faith and I really did not know what would happen. Beau took off like a bat out of hell and then he came back --a pattern that  he repeated hundreds of times during the course of the day.

Beau's first move to show off his freedom was to go belly deep in a mud bog for the benefit of some fellow hikers. I guess it cooled him off and we set on liberty springs trail. About a mile up the junction for the flume slide trail comes up and we took it. The trail going to the bottom of the slide meanders up and down through the valley and all the river crossings were quite manageable.

We passed several guys and Bernese Mountain dog and began our ascent of the slide.

This trail even on the best of days can be hazardous. Much rock in this part of the world is igneous see http://geo.teacherfriendlyguide.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=73&Itemid=89 Granite tends to be pretty sure footing even when wet. However I'm not a geologist and did not stay at a holiday inn but this area is limestone or quartz which can be quite slick and with the rain/fog it was challenging.

Beau did great but on one rock face he started skidding. He went down about 15 feet and I was sure he was a goner but some how launched himself into a tree (at least 8 feet off the ground) and tumbled down. Two minutes later he was passing me to go back up. Not sure how to explain it but he is one tough little dog.

On this type of rock it is best to get good hand holds and make solid contact with your feet. Lot's of times you travel up eroded clefts where there are little bumps in the rock that give good footing. It pays to continually scout ahead to make sure your line is not going to end.

Beau got his picture as the clouds cleared and we reached the top of Flume. We headed off for the next peak Mt Liberty. Beau got in trouble barking at some hikers. They thought he was a wild something or other and were trying to stab him with there hiking sticks. Kind of bad behavior all the way around. As we neared the next peak I put Beau back on leash for his own protection. The views from Liberty were truly great. I've only seen an under cast once previously ( where the tops are clear and valleys fogged in). We ate, talked to some other hikers and then headed down.

For the most part beau once again ran free did ok. He did bark at some other people on the way down (making them and I feel bad) and it is a habit we will have to kick. His energy level though is unmatched and he is fast becoming the partner I've always wanted.

Questions email steve@vtarmynavy.com or call 802-479-2289

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