One English Lab named George.
One Silver Fox
Grumpy Old Man
A Saturday morning adventure with several mosquito bites as a remainder.
When I first was invited to go along to the dog park with The Fox and G, I was skeptical. Remember the mean old trope about “taking a dog for a ride” where the dog gets abandoned?
I worried I was the “dog” in this scenario.
If I wasn’t being abandoned, I was at least worried that my looks were being somehow maligned…
But I said yes. What could possibly go wrong?
I mentioned mosquito bites, right?
The park in question, the Sandy River Delta Park, is nicknamed 1000 Acres because of its size I suppose. It’s just under 20 miles from town at the intersection of the Sandy River and the Columbia.
Hence, the mosquitos.
It’s an off leash playground for your hound and The Fox likes to take George out there to wear him out and get him some water time. I like to hike, and a change of scenery from Forest Park is never a bad thing. Even though I knew this was more of a walk, given the absence of hills on the waterfront.
The Fox is retired and I’m not working, so how we ended up going on a Saturday beats me. I wasn’t worried there’d be a lot of people or at least crowds due to the overall size, but a parking lot only holds so many vehicles, right? Surely, we could have managed a midweek trip. Then again, Portland has such a large service industry employee base that even weekdays are crowded because of their alternative work schedules.
My misgivings were confirmed when we pulled into the parking lot, passing several cars already parked along the roadside. This is The Silverest of Foxes, though, and his game is good. We pulled into the proper lot and were rewarded with a couple of spots opening up after just one loop. The space we took was one we were actually invited into by the person leaving with a friendly wave of the arm.
Dog people are pretty darned nice. I think it’s the influence of their dogs…I have long said that dogs are the best people, even though I’m a pretty conditional fan of dogs.
We parked, George barking impatiently to get on with it since he knew exactly where we were and what was in store.
No one seems to bother with this rule, but The Fox did at least leash G from the car to the trail’s official entry point to keep him from totally running amok. Funnily enough, on the way out, he was way too tired to do anything but barely make the jump back into the car, so no need to worry about leashing him up for the return.
I’d been here once before, so I knew that the park was a mix of paths, wide open fields and water for the fur babies to play and socialize in.
There’s also a huge antenna-slash-powerline contraption that I believe is used for broadcasting pure canine joy into the world.
Speaking of power…what neither The Fox nor I anticipated – despite my initial Saturday hesitation – was the power of the interwebs. Specifically, MeetUp.
The Fox is a huge dog person. Specifically, Aussie Shepherds.
He’s had several during his lifetime and I know when we are together and one comes near that I will need to entertain myself for a while. George is an English Lab, but he can’t read, so I doubt he’ll be offended by this information.
Still, more unique dog breeds – either truly rare or just less frequently seen because of our urban area – get his attention. Such was the case with the Burmese Mountain Dog that ran by us.
“Oh, a burner!”, he exclaimed. But I swore he said “burMer”, which set us off on a good 15 minute conversation clarifying his enunciation. Interrupted by “There he is again!” and “Wait, there’s another!” and “Wow! Another one!”, of course.
I left the conversation feeling like my whole life was a lie after being assured that the breed was actually Burmese Mountain Dog. It made sense, I suppose, because of the python and cat.
Still…I’d always thought it was “Burnese”. Well, since the Dog Park isn’t the best environment to get a clear shot of a dog, I went to The Google for the above pic.
He’ll deny it, of course. But I know…now.
It turns out that all these big sexy dogs weren’t here by accident. There’s a Burnese Mountain Dog group on MeetUp and we’d just happened to pick their get together date to run George ragged at the park.
It certainly aided in the effort. Halfway to the water he was already dragging dog ass, but clearly loving it!
Don’t worry, we made it to the water. With a few thousand Burnese Mountain Dog friends.
This was the closest I came to a decent pictorial example of the breed myself.
I mean, it’s not terrible. But the google pic also shows off their good nature, don’t ya think? Plus, my best pic was of a wet dog so it wasn’t his best pic.
George was in dog heaven. Just running and swimming and playing with his new best friends.
It was fun to watch.
Still, as I tried to avoid the frequent post swim shakes, I had plenty of time to amuse myself by taking pics.
And consider the dog logic that would explain why they are so willing to spend their time and energy digging for seemingly nothing.
And wonder what future paleontologist will think of us based on the fossilized tracks at sites such as this.
I couldn’t get any great pics of the dried out puddles with similar paw prints in a preserved state, but we certainly passed enough to make me certain that when civilization is wiped out or driven from this area, the last visitors to this park will give these future explorers plenty to consider about our time here.
Were dogs in charge?
Were they wild and this was their territory?
Were they <gasp> livestock?!?
They’ll probably figure it out.
Obviously, dogs were in charge and we were here to serve them by taking them out to the river to play, since they couldn’t drive themselves.
Also, I noticed in the tracks that there were hoof prints from deer. That allowed me to wonder what happened at night when the dogs weren’t around.
And whether any of those dog paw prints belonged to non-dogs!
But, even though we wouldn’t encounter any actual deer, we did see other wildlife on our 4.5 mile walk around the acreage.
I probably could’ve cropped the top pic to highlight Mr Frog a little better. Consider it a life lesson in dealing with adversity.
A frog and a slug. Perhaps not so much wildlife as it is mildlife.
Speaking of wildlife, though, our walk took us through some woods toward the previously hinted at bird watching area. There’s a bird blind closer to the actual delta of the two rivers. We took off in that direction – I think mostly for my benefit.
Somewhere along the line, G led us off the big path to investigate more water. We ended up staying on a single track type trail that The Fox told me was actually the way to the delta. Off the main path, there was some interesting growth. Most of which was probably the result of past severe weather, but I’m sure some was just natural weirdness.
It is Portland, after all.
Eventually, we reached the bird blind at the delta.
The Fox commented that it must have been built before the trees grew because it truly is surrounded. We’d seen some raptors flying over a stand of trees across the water earlier. From where I stood now, I couldn’t see how they would be remotely visible from the bird blind.
It was so overgrown.
I went in to investigate the view. The slats of the blind are so close together that from the entrance, I really couldn’t see through to the outside.
Probably the point.
I moved into the space and pressed my face up to the slats.
What do I know, though? I’m no chaser or ornithologist.
But in getting my up close view of the structure, I noticed that the slats of the enclosure had bird names and other – hopefully not necessarily indigenous animals…rattlesnake?!? – stamped into them.
It was overall a cool effect, though…what a great detail. It must have taken a lot of work!
Of course, I had to make it dirty and give myself a good giggle.
We wound our way out and back to the main path through another single track type trail. This one had modern features like…stairs!
1000 Acres has it all!
Back on the main path, The Fox starts talking about his other visits with his dog owner friends. Casually, he lets it slip that one time he’d gotten lost on the single track paths we’d just come off of after George and one of his dog buddies had taken off running.
Thanks for sitting on that little detail until the end of our walk.
Good news, though…I escaped with nary a scratch. Aside from the aforementioned mosquito bites.
Those little bastards, though! They are either super starved or super aggressive.
They went right for the jugular. Of the four bites I emerged from the park with, three were on either side of my neck.
Well, it was hardly a Red Shirt Diaries moment. But resisting the urge to itch is a bit of a killer.
The fourth, by the way, was on my ring finger, but it’s not like I’m using that anyway.