Merry Happy Birthday

Somehow, some way, Rhys became five years old today. We celebrated by going to the beach.

Rhys and his BestieBigSister (who is much littler) .

I’m flummoxed as to where the time has gone and how he could possibly be a full adult dog. Probably because a great deal of the time he doesn’t really act like a full adult dog.

Rhys is a mixture of a very old soul with deep sensitivities and maturity and knowledge way before his time, and a perpetual puppy with Very Big Feelings that everyone should know coupled with zero impulse control. He’s a conundrum sometimes.

I wonder if this is a result of being the youngest. It was interesting how much Camm grew up once a puppy entered the picture.

At least he has Youke to emulate. This gives me a great deal of hope and comfort for a future that will someday not include Youke. Camm is his best friend, he very much admires Brady and often mimics him, but Youke is the one he has mad respect for and the one that deep down Rhys wants to be. How do I know that? I really don’t, but I suspect it as he covets Youke’s various favorite spots and hangouts and gently solicits his attention.

Today, I decided to be the Best Dog Mom Ever. As a result, I’m exhausted and sorta grumpy.

I took Youke and Brady to a nearby forest with a friend and her dogs for a couple of hours. Then came home, warmed up with some homemade chicken soup, and headed to the beach for a birthday romp with Camm and Rhys for a couple of hours.

As I was driving home, reflecting on my own awesomeness, and before the grumpiness hit, I realized, not for the first time, but maybe harder, how much I love where I live now.

I live less than a mile from the bay and can walk along the shore at low tide, as we did today.

I also live roughly a mile from a forested preserve with trails that loop and twist and provide for easy exploration.

And perhaps best of all, I live seven miles from a privately owned land area open to the public with over 2,200 acres of working forest to explore. We haven’t even begun to make a dent on all the potential exploration there despite several visits in the month since I’ve lived here.

We made the obligatory visit to the waterfall of course.

But since that was barely a mile in, of course I knew we had to go further to get to the really good stuff.

And then imagine my delight when I discovered this area backs up against an even bigger, wilder forest.

Haven’t ventured that far yet, and it may be a while before we do, but you know it’s gonna eventually happen. Meanwhile, I think our next foray may be a separate adventure to the state forest area that encompasses land in two counties.

So, while I do miss the hiking areas I explored for 20 years, I’m finding that there are indeed some great places to explore, and I haven’t even looked at the Olympic National Forest area yet, nor the abundance of much smaller parks and private permitted land areas nearby. My fears about not finding good places to take my dogs and to explore were unfounded.

I’ve loved the forests for a long time, but to be so close again to water nourishes my soul.

And while this is all delightful, I still need to work, so sometime hopefully in the next few weeks, my abundant free time is going to be compromised. But the dogs and I gotta eat and I need gas for our adventures.

I will say though that after a month of stress and very little free movement, it feels really good to be walking some miles and exploring again.

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