Chaparral Time

One thing we’ve begun to notice over the past several months is that Penny isn’t quite as worn out by our morning walk to the top of Mt Miramar as she used to be, and that she is almost always ready to go-go-go when we get home from work in the afternoon. At 2 ½ years old, it’s not a big surprise that she is coming into the peak of her energy level.

Recently, rather than a leash-walk (which is boring) I’ve been taking her to the end of our cul-de-sac which opens out onto the flanks of the hill that The Aerie sits on. There, she gets to run around, but my attempts to turn these times into tennis ball retrieving sessions have resulted in a few too many Penn1s being left behind to create nesting material.

Stretching the legs

Of course, Penny isn’t the only one that needs exercise so over the past month or so I’ve been taking late afternoon excursions out onto the chaparral with her after she gets her initial runs in. Yesterday was a gorgeous, misty late afternoon so I thought to take along my camera.

Are we going??

We walk down away from our house into the brush. There aren’t really any trails, but the native plants are mostly grasses (completely dead this time of year) and bushes (don’t trip into the sticker-ones) that are sparse enough so that it’s not too hard to make your way around them and the exposed boulders that dot the slopes.  With a call of “Dog in front!” Penny seems very happy to take the lead and chase bunnies and flush doves and quail while I come along behind.

Chaparral dog

Taking a break


After a while, we angle our way up, miaking our way to one of the trails in the open space park above our neighborhood, which we call The Red Trail – for pretty obvious reasons. There are a couple of big dips and climbs and one of us always seems to be waiting for the other at the top.

Veiled Sunset


Waiting for Steve


End of the trail sniffing

The Red Trail winds back to the other side of our neighborhood and we complete the circuit on-leash. Penny is worn out after all that running (for a little while at least) and I’ve come to like these trips too – I like the crunch of the grass under my shoes, seeing if I can spot any critters, and the peace of just walking in quiet and getting a chance to reflect on the day.

Dog Tired


39 thoughts on “Chaparral Time

  1. Those trail shots look like some around Elfin Forest in Escondido and Mt. Calavera practically in our back yard in Carlsbad. You are lucky Penny returns when off leash, Max gets his hound nose to the ground and, even though he was obedience trained, he’s off and running. I read that if you don’t train a dog that’s even part hound when they are puppies, the best thing you can do is make sure they are micro-chipped. He’s our rescue and only with us a little over a year – he will be five next month.

    Wrote another drabble for Friday – will send then. Happy Tails.

    • trailblazer — we were very concerned about whether Penny would return when off leash — there is a lot of Pointer lore about dogs being found miles away from home. That’s never really been the case with Penny though — we taught her to return early on and she’s done very well ranging away from us, but always staying close enough.

  2. Penny is a lucky girl to have all that land to run around in! But how did Steve do on those hills? Just looking at that one uphill shot made my knees ache. It must be the equivalent of an hour on a Stairmaster.

    • HG — we walk to the top of the “mountain” every morning which has several good climbs, and there is a “long way” around to the top that has even more that we do on the weekends sometimes. I like the up-and-down.

  3. How wonderful that you two do these walks. You must have a terrific bond with Penny. Your pictures are fantastic. I love seeing her run, but also, the ones where she is facing you. She is such a lovely dog and very photogenic :) Thanks for sharing your walks with us.

    • FS — thanks! We realize how lucky we were to get Penny when I was laid-off so that she and I got to spend every day together when she was a puppy — I think that really helped with the bonding.

  4. My favorite picture is the one where Penny is leaping….I especially love the way her ears are flopping as she leaps.

    I’m not sure where you reside—but it looks like perfect rattlesnake country. Please be careful. (this coming from a woman that will honestly answer she has an unreasonable fear of snakes. Which is why it is called a phobia.)

  5. Your photos are really lovely…. Penny, as has been stated many times is just so photogenic! The area you live in reminds me of around here in Phoenix . . . just much more temperate, you are lucky!

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