An overdue but brief spate of stuff…
Hope you are all enjoying the trails identified and ‘marked’ by our friends, the cross -country skiiers! What would we do without ‘em?
SNOW FUN (s’no fun?)
For trekking thru knee deep snow, snow shoes are great for ease of traversing the drifts and working up a heart- healthy sweat. I bought my first pair of snow shoes the day a man twice my age effortlessly passed me by as I huffed and puffed my way to a standstill with exhaustion at only the halfway point of my trek! Without snowshoes, take it slow; don’t expect to walk as far; rest if you need to.
SLIP SLIDING AWAY
Two words my friends: YAK TRAX!! As the trails become packed and turn to ice, be prepared to walk with confidence using a pair of Yak Trax. Everyone should keep a pair in the car (along with a flashlight, extra poop bags and a clean towel). The best $20.00 you’ll ever spend will buy a pair of these ice traction devices that slip on over your boots/shoes to prevent you from slipping on icy surfaces! Get the bright green so you can find them easily when they slip off in deep snow (and it’s not a bad idea to check your feet every few minutes to be sure you haven’t lost one!). Word of caution: do not wear them indoors, especially do not wear them on tiled floors! Sources include: Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, On-line.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Remember to dress in layers when the temps are frigid. Proper attire is the difference between comfort and pain when the wind does blow. Layering also make it easy to remove items and stay comfortable if you work up a sweat. Here’s a general guide to cold weather, layered dressing practiced by runners.
The short version is: layers, protect extremities and – if you’re gonna work up a sweat with a run, or on snow shoes or cross country skiis: don’t over-dress!
For more detail:
1) A moisture wicking first layer; coolmax or dri-fit or any “technical” fabrics that are moisture wicking–NO COTTON, PLEASE, EVER!!!
2) Your second layer can be anything but it should breathe. (You could do cotton here, but coolmax or dri-fit for this layer).
3) When it’s windy, you’ll want a final layer that’s wind-breaking but allows moisture to escape; something Gore-tex is perfect.
4) Keep your extremities warm, but uncover them when you start getting warm. Get a neck protector, face protector, and serious socks and gloves (check out LL Bean or REI. If you will be out in the cold, you deserve socks and gloves that will protect your important hands and feet!)
5) And, especially for runners: If you’re not COLD for the first mile (or the first few minutes), you’re overdressed.
What’s worse than yellow snow??
It seems that some dog owners get lazy when the snow falls, or can it be simply that unscooped poop is more visible on a white background?? The trails visited from the Edmands lot in the past few days are – in a word – disgusting! You can see it, so – poof! – make it disappear! Please remember to keep your bags or pockets stocked with poop bags, and clean up after your pooch! Carry an extra plastic bag to store the filled poop bag for a degree of separation until you return to your car and find a trash barrel or container. Or if you must – and only if you must – bag it and leave it on the side of the trail until you’re on your way out, BUT DO RETURN TO RETRIEVE AND DISCARD!!! Do not leave it for another to discard for you, or for someone else’s dog to tear and consume, or to biodegrade – cause that ain’t gonna happen in this lifetime! We know it requires a little extra effort, especially without the barrels, but inconvenience is a small price to pay for the privilege of walking with our four legged kids in our gem of a park.
If you see careless or clueless masters permitting their canines to relieve themselves along the Earthen Dam/Aquaduct, perhaps a gentle question that alerts to the fact that kids play here will re-direct (“did you know that this is a favorite hill for young sledders??”). But, be gentle, be kind, be aware…
ONE BAD APPLE
Don’t you just hate it when one irresponsible dog owner makes us all look bad? There have been reports that the poop bag dispensers are being emptied at an alarming rate (again!). If you see anyone taking more than their fair share, send us a description of the human and his/her dog, and the day(s) and time(s) of the poop bag theft so we can relay information to the local park stewards.
You may remember that there were several reported incidents of canine-on-canine aggression and at least one example of unwarranted human interaction in the Fall. In an effort to educate users and help to diminish the numbers and/or frequency of such incidents, Board Members of the Callahan Dog Owners Group recently met with local and regional directors of the Department of Conservation and Recreation to discuss present conditions and propose suggestions. Among a smattering of topics (i.e. after becoming an off-leash alternative due to lack of staff for several years, Ashland State Park will welcome staff when it reopens this Spring. Many used to walking at Ashland are almost sure to find their way to Callahan – bringing new – and perhaps uninitiated? – off-leash dog owners to Callahan; weekenders are most in need of education; regulations governing DCR lands have been revised and a draft of proposed rules can be found here: (dead link). If you check out the link, know that the pilot program for designated areas of off-leash recreation at Callahan remains in effect. Let’s do all we can to keep it that way! ), our focus was the need for clear signs at the park alerting any and all users to the presence of off-leash dogs. We are cautiously optimistic that the mutually viable and valuable partnership of Cal-Dog and DCR may produce some positive effect. Stay tuned…
In the meantime, we hope you will continue to make newbies and weekenders aware of our group, directing them to our website (www.callahandogs.com), telling them that there they can find useful information about on and off-leash recreation at Callahan, and encouraging them to join our mailing list. The more responsible dog owners we can educate, contact and keep apprised, the better for everyone, especially the furry ‘kids’!
WEEKENDS AT CALLAHAN:
Many cases of canine-on-canne aggression take place in the area of Eagle Pond on weekends and holidays. Many of the weekend visitors are not as familiar with typical canine behavior, and often spend more time socializing with other humans than keeping their eyes on their dogs, many of whom have not been adequately exercised all week. Many of our daily regulars avoid the pond area on weekends because of this. If you see a dog not under voice control or whose behavior seems to be genuinely aggressive rather than play-style aggressive, you might tell the owner about our group and direct him/her to our website for the guidelines of off-leash recreation at Callahan, but if you do, be helpful – not confrontational. Often it is safest simply to do what the regulars do: move along, walk the trails; remove your dog from the possibility of unwarranted aggression.
If any are up for one more petition seeking justice for a pooch, here’s a link to a tale of Dutch the Service Dog, in danger of euthanization by court order when he defended himself against a human who tried to break up a dog fight by punching, kicking and beating Dutch with a metal pipe (dog fights are scary – to be sure. This is where understanding and recognizing canine behavior comes in handy: there are almost always signals that a dog is about to fight, and this human failed to see or ignored the signs, and then used ill-advised tactics to stop the fight. But this petition is not about that really. It’s about trying to save a life worth saving.
Happy trails dog lovers…