May 29, 2021

Weekend Recap: Snake Training, Hiking, and an Unofficial Louisville Drinks Tour

My Friday night kicked off with a happy hour at Sanitas Brewing in Boulder with another Beaver Creek ski instructor. Tacos, quesadillas, and lots of talk about both running and skiing. It makes me excited to live in a place where so many people share my interests đŸ™‚

I was able to get to bed early, which meant I easily woke up at 6am to take Sadie for a quick four mile run, before hustling to shower and get out the door to head up to Fort Collins. After a lot of research, I was taking her to a rattlesnake avoidance workshop that used positive reinforcement rather than shock collars to hopefully teach the dogs to avoid the snakes and come alert you that they had found one. Unfortunately, the class wasn’t quite as good as I was expecting.

We started by teaching the dogs their alert behavior – for me, it was Sadie coming and touching her nose to my thigh. She’s usually out front leading the way on our hikes / runs, so if she came back to me, it would be pretty obvious! We used treats to reward the dogs for performing the behavior, in conjunction with a command (“Snake!”), which Sadie picked up pretty quickly. Then, the trainer put a fake snake, real rattlesnake skin (for smell), and a bluetooth speaker with the sound of a rattlesnake in the middle of the training room, and we took turns going in and then yelling our command and rewarding the dog whenever they noticed or got interested in the snake setup. This was the part that felt like a waste. From my Googling to figure out why Sadie doesn’t care about my mom talking to her on the phone, I learned that dogs process electronic sounds very differently – so most likely the recording of the rattlesnake sound wouldn’t sound anything like a real rattlesnake to Sadie.

More generally, I felt like I could have done all this at home myself, and it wasn’t worth the $175 (!) I paid for the class. I was also disappointed that the trainer said I’ll probably have to keep practicing every day for a month. I get that dog training takes time, but if I’m doing an immersive class, I want Sadie to be good at it when I finish. However, I reminded myself that it was good for me to take this class to learn that maybe group dog training isn’t for me, rather than signing up for a longer and more expensive series. And it was also a good reminder that I really ought to start doing more dog training research on my own and taking the time to work with Sadie!

On the way back home, I stopped at Acreage in Lafayette for lunch with my friends Heather, Elizabeth, and Cindy. Although originally I had been thinking of not drinking, I ended up getting a flight of different ciders, which was really delicious. Stem Ciders always has some great picks!

The new cocoa caramel was a standout, and I also always love the lavender and the salted cucumber (weird though it may sound).

Meanwhile, it was great catching up with this group of friends for the first time in a year! And on the dog training theme, it was a good opportunity to test Sadie’s behavior at a brewery, as I haven’t taken her out in public before. (Though, she’s four years old, so presumably she’s experienced it before.) I thought she was really whiny, which stressed me out a bit, but my friends (two of whom have dogs) said she wasn’t bad; Elizabeth pointed out that as the dog’s “parent” (ugh, I do hate when people use that word for dogs) you are always a little more sensitive to their behavior than others. I hoped that was true!

When Sadie and I got home, we soon headed out once more – for the local high school graduation parade! I met up with my friend Chris and Mark and their kids at a central spot down the street, and we soon realized that while the parade started right about when we got there, it probably would be a while until it got to us. Sure enough, we had to wait about an hour… but I was so glad we stuck it out!

Even though I don’t have kids myself, I got a little teary about seeing all these kids thrilled to graduate and be off to new adventures, with their whole adult lives ahead of them. I am such a sap đŸ™‚

But it was pretty chilly as we waited around, so once the parade was over, I was excited to get back thome and put on some cozy PJs, make something warm for dinner, and curl up on the couch / call it an early night. Good end to the day!

The next morning, I woke up super early and got dressed to go hiking… but then took my time getting ready and eating some baked oatmeal, and didn’t actually head to the trailhead until 7:15. The South Mesa trailhead parking lot was already full, and I had to park across the street at Doudy Draw. Not a big deal at all, but it showed me what a busy morning it was going to be on the trails!

Sadie and I headed up the Towhee Trail, even though I later realized it was no dogs allowed, and were punished for our disobedience by a decent amount of mud that stuck to my shoes like crazy. That’s what I get for breaking the rules for a half mile! However, I made sure to practice leave no trace principles and plow through the mud rather than going around and widening the trail. I thought the mud had really slowed me down, but when I got to the bottom of Shadow Canyon (which usually takes me an hour to reach), I found I was actually there in 55 minutes.. so somehow I was faster in spite of the mud? I guess I was really well-rested!

Sadie and I had a great time hiking, even though she was leashed to me instead of getting to run on her own, after that incident in February where she ran off. We made it to the top of South Boulder Peak in exactly two hours, and it was beautiful up there. I got some great pictures of the two of us at the top, and really enjoyed the views.

Brave little Sadie Bug!

But in just a few minutes we were at the top, clouds started rolling in, and by the time we got to Bear Peak, we couldn’t see anything in any direction off this summit! I was wondering if we ought to go back down the way we came, which was faster, but I really wanted to go the back way down Bear Canyon, in preparation for doing the Skyline Traverse at some point this year. As we started hiking down toward Bear Canyon, the clouds started to disperse, so I was gratified by my decision.

It’s always so hard to know the right call with the mercurial Colorado weather!

It was definitely a little challenging hiking down Bear Canyon with Sadie, as she has a tendency to pull a little bit, which is delightful on ascents but challenging on descents, since I don’t want to lose my balance. Fortunately, we did fine and made it through with no spills. The clouds had almost totally cleared by the time I got to the west ridge on the back side, and it felt really nice to hit the smooth downhill of the trail from there.

Smooth as it was, I didn’t feel like running it, and kept my pace at a walk.

I contemplated going up to Green Mountain, but decided I’d save that for another day. Besides, I really wanted to check out the full Bear Canyon trail, which I hadn’t done in years. I was glad I made that decision, as by the time I got back to the trailhead, we had done a full 13 miles, and I was reasonably tired!

Crystal clear views for these last few miles!

There was a lot of mud in the last section on the Mesa Trail, so when Sadie and I got home, much to her chagrin, I gave her a bath. She loves to romp around the trails, and has seemingly no issue with mud, but hates getting wet! Fortunately, she’s a good girl about getting in the tub and not trying to leap out; she just gives me the saddest face to let me know how much she hates it 😂

I closed out my weekend with a date at 12 Degrees… which ended up continuing on to the new tiki bar popup, and finally to Por for a light dinner. (Yup, that meant beer, cocktails, and wine – we hit the full gamut of drinks!) The tiki bar popup was new to me, and it was both delicious and awesome! They had one section of the patio filled with sand, so we literally sat in beach chairs with our toes in the sand. And the menu had all kinds of yummy cocktails, all served in really awesome theme-appropriate glassware. This is definitely my new favorite spot in Louisville, and I’m really excited to schedule some summer nights here with my girlfriends.

More of this to come!

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