We took Dart hiking on a trail late this afternoon. We went to the beginning of the trail at a State Park and paid our entrance fee so we could park there. It was pretty much empty. The park allows you to camp with your horses. A portion of the campground has horse enclosures at every campsite. It was really amazing. There was an enclosure to dump your horse manure with wheel barrels and rakes. Each campsite was large. The trail is great for horseback riding and mountain biking.
Within 250 yards of the beginning of the trail, you have to cross the Little Missouri river. Obviously, horses can cross here. I took off my shoes and started across and stopped when it got almost to my knees. We weren’t prepared for a swim prior to the hike. Instead of trying to come up with a way to get both of us and the dog across, we chose to drive to where the trail enters the National Park and then hike back toward the beginning of the trail (because dogs aren’t allowed on the trails in the park). We had to cross a stream about 4 times. Regis and I had to figure out how to gingerly get across. Dart is a showoff and leaped over the stream like a gazelle. Clearly, all that agility training came in handy for him today.
Once we got to the base of a large hill/small mountain, we elected to stop and enjoy the scenery. We had dressed to warmly for this hike and weren’t really interested in scaling the hill/mountain. It took about 2 minutes for us to realize that Dart was covered in ticks. I have never seen so many ticks. I was also covered in ticks. For some reason I do not understand, Regis had very few ticks on him. I continue to be puzzled about this. We decided to head back to the truck. Once we got there we spent quite some time removing all the ticks from Dart and me. When we got back to the campground, we double checked to see if we missed any. It was horrible. How do the wild animals manage? With that many ticks, there would be no blood left in any wild creature. I love to hike and expect to find some ticks now and again. But, this was traumatizing.
Dart had a really good time on the hikes. Even though we didn’t make much progress on the beginning part of the trail, Dart had an opportunity to romp and be exuberant. I love watching him when he is so happy.
One last mention about the vet visit yesterday. When we brought Tekoe into the vet, there was a kitten in a cage in the waiting area with a sign that he was looking for a home. This kitten made a tremendous amount of noise. All while Tekoe was being examined, we heard this kitten in the waiting room. The vet told us that the kitten likes to be loved and craves attention.
When the vet took Tekoe back for Xrays, she told us to wait in the waiting room. I couldn’t resist pulling the kitten out of the cage and holding him. He was desperate for attention and I was desperate for a distraction. I became smitten with this kitten. We are no position to have a kitten but if anyone out there wants a crazy little kitten that wants to be loved, he’s your guy.
We took one more drive through the park this morning and got this picture of the feral horses.