Saturday, April 30, 2011


Today was beautiful, so I set out to test my leg and Murphy with a hike to the Maryland Heights observation spot above Harpers Ferry. Murphy was doing well today at first. I stopped at a drive-through and grabbed a couple of burgers on the way and he made it clear that he wanted some, but he wasn't pushy about it until we got to Harpers Ferry. As I approached the ranger to see about a parking spot, Murphy decided that she meant us harm and began to bark and bite at her through the rear seat window. I rolled the window up and apologized to her, and as I did so, Murphy came up between the two front seats like a rocket, only instead of continuing his defensive actions, he jammed his muzzle down into the burger bag and snagged the remaining burger. DAMMIT! He got an elbow in the head for that one, but he also managed to retreat with the burger and scarf it down before I could take it away, so that one was a draw.

I took him out on leash and across the bridge over the Potomac, and he was good. Heading up the trail though, he began to show signs of wanting a drink, so when we got to a spot just above a creek where I used to water Lagniappe, I took a gamble and unleashed him, my rationale being that where we were, with the creek on one side and a rock wall on the other, he could really only go down to the water and back up to me. That's what Lagniappe always did and that's how I used to water him here without my having to traverse the steep slope both ways.

OK, that was a bad call. He could also run up and down the trail like a lunatic, which is actually what he chose to do. He ran in each direction about 40-50 feet, then turned and ran back, just playing and daring me to try to grab him. Well I know better than to try that, so I just bid him goodbye and began walking on the opposite direction. As soon as he ran past me, I turned around and went back the other way. Puzzled, he came right up behind me and when I stopped and told him in a stern voice to "sit", he did. I was able to leash him up again (and he got praised). And then, because I'm too nice, I walked him down the steep slope to the creek so he could drink his fill, and then we climbed back up to the trail.

At the top, we took in the view for a bit. Murph seemed to enjoy the cool breeze, and I was happy that my leg had held out. Last year, before the new trouble with it, I could have double-timed this climb. But now, even though it's starting to work right again, I've lost confidence in it and I'm going to have to work at re-establishing my capabilities with it. That's going to mean starting slow and working up until I'm pushing the envelope again, and it'll be hard and painful over the next month or two, but a man's got to know his limitations, and in this case, that means going forward until I hit one, and then working through it. Today's 4mi. rough-terrain hike really helped though.
Then it was back down. It would have been a longer hike, but I know a shortcut down from this spot, so Murphy and I cut about 20 minutes off the descent and we were actually back in lower Harpers Ferry well before some of the people we'd been talking to up top--people who'd left back down the trail well before we did. And of course once down there, Murphy had to go see Sharon at the Swiss Miss ice cream shop.

And here he is, enjoying his sweet treat. Notice that he doesn't inhale it in one bit like Lagniappe did. In fact, he's downright dainty about it.

How'd I get to be your ice cream bitch? Just take it already!


  1. That is one happy dog. Glad he is feeling better. Barkley is better too, stomach no longer so upset. I couldn't figure out why got to him, gal friend feeding him popcorn on our Friday movie night while her husband worked, or something else. I think it was something else. This morning I found a black stocking pushed under the bed with a Barkley sized bite out of it. Not big enough to call the vet but I can see where it gave him a stomach ache.

    And yes, stocking. I think pantyhose should be banned.

  2. haha!! That's exactly how Kira eats her ice cream cones, too!! One dainty lick at a time while I have to hold the cone!

    Beautiful view of the river & valley below! Definitely don't have views like that here in FL. It's kind of flat down this way.

    Hope the new leg continues to work out well for you!! :)

  3. That's some mighty pretty scenery. Glad your hike worked out well!

  4. He is such a beautiful dog. I'm glad the leg is getting better. A 4mile hike seems like a pretty good test. You going to try a run on it?

  5. @ Six: Oh, hell yeah. I won't run on this one as I have a dedicated running leg, but as soon as I'm sure that my organic leg is refamiliarized with these prosthetics, I'll be using that one again too. In fact I'll probably try it sometime this coming week. I WILL run again, and the Army Ten-Miler is only five months away! I'm registering. You coming?

  6. I would love to do it with you. IF I can work up to the mileage (and it's a big If). You know when the cutoff for sign up is? Drop me a line when you get a chance.

  7. That is one happy and loved dog!!