Just in case, I packed my hiking boots. I wasn’t sure which shoes would be best, my tennis shoes, or my hiking boots. One thing I did know for sure, I was in need of a hike. The desire to be on the trail again, and see, feel, and hear God’s creation was overwhelming. And I knew my dog, Holliday, would be thrilled to join me, and I was just as pleased to have his company.
The first trail we targeted, unfortunately, did not allow dogs. A Google search led me to a dog-friendly trail about 5 miles north, in upper Fort Collins. We jumped back in the van, and headed north. My excitement mounted as we came closer to this trail that boasted of a plethora of birds, other wildlife, streams, and foliage. We pulled off the road into the parking lot. As I parked the van on the crunchy gravel, I could see the dirt trail that led into the green trees, and it looked inviting. With fanny pack, containing a water bottle and the rest of a chocolate Power Bar, strapped to my waist and a camera slung over my shoulder, the hike began – with one very excited human (who decided to wear her tennis shoes) and one very excited dog, who made no attempt at leash manners as he pulled to sniff here and sniff there.
I began to breath in the spicy forest aromas and the pungent river smells. I heard the crunch of the dirt and rock path under my feet. The orchestra of bird music was without ceasing. There was no mistaking that this path, with its tall trees and many wild bushes was a natural bird sanctuary. As Holliday continued to be enthralled and enticed by every bush, patch of flowering grass, or collection of rotting limbs, zig-zagging me from one side of the path to the other, I began to see arrangements of trees and plants that begged to be photographed. “Ok, Holliday, you are going to have to learn to be still while I take pictures.” I was very impressed with how quickly Holliday learned to sit while I captured frame after frame of the foresty marvels of the trail.
Before we had walked very far, we saw another lover of nature, down the path a bit, who was very intently taking photographs of a cottonwood tree. When she finished her photo session, she walked toward us and greeted us with, “Isn’t this a beautiful day?” I agreed as I squatted down and held Holliday firmly by his collar. I explained that this was his first trail hike, and that I wasn’t sure how he was going to respond to people. She thanked me for that consideration. She was an elderly woman dressed like she was an experienced trail hiker. We both exclaimed over the trail, and she said in a calm, sweet voice, “I love how the farther you walk west on the trail, the more the traffic sounds fade away to nothing.” I agreed again. She noted that I had been taking photographs as well and encouraged me to take a look at the cotton on the cottonwood tree that she had been photographing. I thanked her, and we wished each other a good day.
The tip about the cotton wood was a gem!!! Yes, they were beautiful!!! I eagerly snapped many a picture!!! My desires to capture more of the beauty of the trail increased. I was in my glory.
Stay tuned for part two of My Hike With Holliday!