Monday, January 21, 2019

Ice

A few days ago Hapi and I were on the trail where the ravens have been tearing up the pine tree branches. A raven in the woods whistled. Hapi responds to whistles (I can't whistle so I can't take advantage of that) so she went tearing off into the woods. She went right to the tree where the raven was perched but she did not look up, she didn't see the raven. The raven was looking down at her, kind of surprised I guess. He wasn't intending to call her. I thought Hapi would come back when she couldn't find the whistler but she did not, she went further into the forest where I couldn't see her. I continued walking, calling her occasionally so she would know where I was, and eventually she reappeared.

The next day I went into the woods where she had been the day before to see if I could find whatever had attracted her after the whistling raven. I found an area of trampled snow, lots of rabbit tracks. Hapi went into the midst of the rabbit tracks to sniff around and I looked to see how big the trampled area was. There were no other tracks, just the rabbit tracks. I'm guessing there is a warren in there somewhere. I mentioned it to a friend who asked if I saw coyote tracks as well but I didn't. The coyotes don't know about this yet.

Yesterday a major storm passed through here, coming from Toronto the day before. In the morning it snowed and was very cold, but since I knew it was going to rain later in the day I took Hapi to the park in the snow. At one point it was snowing so heavily that it was like fog, you could hardly see anything. I decided to walk across the long pond since it is well frozen and people have cleared a skating rink on it. Hapi doesn't like walking on the frozen pond, she knows the risks. She once went through the ice in the Wolfville harbour in January and had to walk home drenched in freezing water. Anyway, she came with me but made it clear she did not consider it safe. She started growling. Ahead of us on the other side of the pond I could just make out two human forms on the ice. Getting closer I saw that they were hardcore skaters with big shovels clearing the snow off the rink. That's what Hapi was growling at, she thought that was really suspect behaviour. I stopped to chat with them about the ice, they were hoping that if they cleared the snow then later when it rained nice smooth ice would form.

When I got home I shovelled the snow off my driveway in hopes that the rain would wash everything away and my driveway would be bare afterwards. But it did mean that it was very icy for awhile. After the snow transitioned to rain Hapi came indoors. She doesn't mind sleeping in the snow but the noise of rain on the deck roof bothers her. In the evening it warmed up dramatically. I went outside and left the door open, just to be in the open warm air. Could barely see the moon. If I had been able to stay awake past midnight I might have seen the lunar eclipse. Maybe. The forecast was for heavy rain through the night so the chances weren't great.

This morning most of the snow was gone. It was cooler than the previous evening but still above zero. We went to the park. The trails were totally icy and optimistically I had not brought my Icers. You could have skated on the trails! I met a couple of other dog walkers and we set out on one trail that didn't look too bad, however once out of sight of the parking lot it turned to a sheet of ice. The other walkers decided to turn back but one of them loaned me her walking stick to continue on.

There are two ways to walk on ice. One is the Old Lady Shuffle and the other is just sliding. I can slide on ice that is relatively smooth but if the ice is bumpy or has a lot of debris in it then the Old Lady Shuffle is best. Either way you have to go slowly. The stick helped. We made it all the way around both ponds but I did not dare go onto the bike trails because they are too steep. At one point I was walking uphill on ice toward the parking lot and the only decent foothold I could get was on some of the dog poop on the side of the trail. People are supposed to pick up after their dogs but obviously not everybody does that. Walking on it was better than trying to walk on the icy slope!

At the parking lot a friend arrived in her car with her big Pyrenees dog. Lulu is bigger and younger than Hapi and just wants to play; Hapi is not interested in playing but she does like the company of other big dogs. I told Lulu's owner E about the ice but she thought she'd try it anyway because she was wearing ice grippers. Not as good as the Icers though. We got a little ways down the trail before she gave up and we turned back to the parking lot.

It is supposed to get really cold tonight. The skaters will get their wish, the ice on the pond will be perfect. And I will not be forgetting to bring my Icers, it is going to be very icy for the foreseeable future.

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