These Paws Were Made for Walkin'

Several years ago, my dad had just retired and I was able to spend daddy/daughter time with him each day. One of our goals was to discover places around Aiken that would be ideal for walking our dogs. Odell Weeks on Whiskey Road was great because they had doggy waste bags at stations spaced along the track and a special dog water fountain if your pooch became thirsty. We also enjoyed Hitchcock Woods because of the soft trails and the feeling of escaping the modern world with the chirping of birds and scuttling of squirrels through the leaves and underbrush.

My favorite place was Redcliffe Plantation in Beech Island. The fifteen minute drive was satisfying to the dogs and the parking lot had plenty of spaces available. The trail was a mixture of fairly easy downward slopes and slightly more challenging hills to total approximately two miles of walking. Picnic tables and benches were scattered throughout and I have been known to pack a sandwich and book in my backpack. Chase’s account of the trail is detailed below…

Yesterday I got to go for a car ride and a walk – two of my most favorite things. Sarah put me in the back of the car with my special seatbelt (safety first) and then picked up her dad and his dog, Dolly. I’m still not sure that I like Dolly all that much. She is five years younger than me (in dog years that is a lot) and is really annoying.

We drove for a really long time, at least fifteen minutes, with the sun roof open (another favorite thing). Finally we arrived at Redcliffe Plantation. Sarah said it was a historic site but it just looked like an old house with lots of space to RUN! We all got out of the car and Sarah and her dad looked for a really long time at a big sign. Apparently there was a map on it but who cares for maps when you have a great sniffer? I won’t get lost. They stopped to talk to a man who had a giant golden retriever that kept trying to sniff my butt. I hate it when dogs do that to me – so rude! The man pointed out where the trail began and pulled his dog, Sam, away from me.

Finally I got to walk. Sarah kept issuing a ton of “No’s”. As in no pulling, no sniffing fire ant hills and no birds. The last one is particularly mean in my opinion. No birds? I am a bird dog! I love birds and there were tons of them around. As we reached the trail entrance, I noticed that Sam was following me. His person was following too. The man caught up and told Sarah and her dad that he had lost his keys. He was going back through the trail to find them but if we found them to turn the keys into the ranger. Sam and his person passed us but Sam kept looking back at us. I stayed far enough behind and kept my tail tucked until I was certain he wasn’t coming back for me. I think that dog has issues – maybe he just got out of prison or something. Speaking of prison, I thought that if this guy was a serial killer it would be a great story to tell his innocent victims and their dogs to look out for his lost keys. That way we would all be looking down and not on the lookout for bad people lurking in the woods. Hmmmm. Maybe I watch too much true crime on TV.

So off through the woodsy trail we traversed. I had a nice game of tug-o-war with Sarah. I tugged, she tugged. Worked out just fine until she shortened my leash. I stopped tugging. Strangely enough she allowed me to tug every time we had to go up a hill. Walking walking walking. Really big trees and a nice-soft-on-the-paws leafy trail. An hour later we were still walking. Well, Dolly was sort of lagging behind. She just doesn’t seem to have the energy that I have and she is younger than me! According to Sarah and her Dad, we walked at least two miles before we emerged from the woods. I was excited to see a small muddy stream and jumped in to cool my heels and take a drink. The muddy red clay felt so good on my paws but Sarah didn’t seem too happy with the fresh coating on my legs.

Unfortunately the trail let out at the end of the long gravel driveway so we had to walk all
the way back to the car. Sam and his Stalker-owner were there and now there was a woman (victim?) with them. They asked if we had found the keys. We hadn’t. Sarah then wiped all of my paws and legs with a special doggie wipe thing that I didn’t even know she had. She removed the mud coating that I had taken such care to evenly apply on all four legs. Back into the car and seatbelt, I curled up on my blanket and even shared some with Dolly. As we followed behind the stalker and Sam, they suddenly braked and the woman jumped out. She picked up something shiny from the driveway, smiled and waved. The sun roof was open and I drifted off into dog dreams as we drove home. It was a good day. Woof.


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