It has been a few months since we packed up the dogs and gear and made ourselves at home within Mother Nature’s splendor. After a particularly rough week, it was decided that a relaxing day trip into the wilds of the state park was just what the doctor had in mind for the cruddy week blues. It didn’t take long to single out Island Lake’s trails as our destination. It was, after all, new and relatively close location for us.
Island Lake State park offered two natural turf (dirt) trails for hikers and mountain bikers to enjoy. My husband and I opted for the slightly shorter Yellow Trail because it was later in the day and we didn’t want to be on an unfamiliar trail in unfamiliar territory well into the night. I wasn’t willing to be that brave this go around.
Once we arrived at the trail head, we reviewed the trail map and marked any particular issues – which were pleasantly few in number for such a long trail! Next, we loaded our pack and the packs the dogs would carry (which was primarily our water, portable bowls and other dog needs for them and first aid kit, snacks, camera and other gear in ours). Once everything was packed up, we checked the packs for comfort and security on dog and human alike before we hit the trail.
I was happy to find it was a well-marked and even had distance markers every half mile or so. After we separated from the Blue Trail, we were granted relative peace and quiet from the plethora of bikers and finally had a moment to give the dogs their head on the trails, which they had been itching to do since we got there.
Ryker and Mika had been testing their leads until we were finally clear of the bikers because they’re used to hitting the trails and getting some much needed and desired freedom to romp. Thankfully, we’ve worked on trail etiquette with them for quite some time and the experience has served well. They stayed within visual range and checked back in often. Every so often, we would have to move ourselves off the trail to accommodate a biker or two but for the most part, they were able to enjoy their freedom.
The whole 4.91 mile trek went off with only one hitch – a very dog reactive black German Shepherd who caused a bit of a scene after we had moved off the trail with Mika’s alert that we had company. Other than a nasty threat displace and an issuance to the owner of the dog to get his dog under control, we were well on our way once
more with both dogs having been phenomenal about handling the nasty behavior.
We arrived back at the trail head after the sun had set with two very tired and happy dogs and two utterly relaxed and rejuvenated people. It really was perfect medicine for the cruddy week blues and I, for one, cannot wait to repeat that awesome time on another set of trails with my dogs and other half at my side in the near future!