Yes, as part of my job, I get to hike for work. Don't be jealous, the hikes are
Usually most of my work day involves driving, not hiking. I get far more windshield time than I do boots on the ground time. But this year has been somewhat quiet for me, so I've been out collecting bear hair from trees and other objects (like wooden trail bridges and sign posts) that bears like to rub on. Since the sites are part of a research study, they are marked and have short strands of barbed wire on them. You wouldn't think that a bear would like rubbing their backs and sides on barbed wire, but they do. And because they do, they leave us lots of hair to collect. The sites mostly look like this...
|A rub tree alongside the hiking trail|
|A close-up view of the tree|
This week my intern was off doing other things, and since I wanted a little company on this hike, I took Little Dog. She's been out on some shorter hikes, but never on a longer one or on a working hike. Holly was jealous she got left behind. But if I take a dog for a working hike, I only take one at a time. I need to focus on work, not on keeping two wild dingos on trail with me.
|Lunch at a creek|
I kept her on leash so she wouldn't outpace herself and get too tired on the way back. She's never been this far out in the back country so I didn't want her to have a negative experience (or lose her!) her first time out. She was wonderfully patient while I stopped at each of the sites to collect hair, enjoyed lunch with me at the last creek crossing, and I found out that she really likes huckleberries...she even learned to pick her own each time we stopped for a short break.
She even alerted me when she heard a larger animal move off the trail way ahead of us. What a good bear dog :) She was an excellent trail partner and hopefully this will be the start of many back country hikes for us.
|More hiking please|
|One tired Little Dog|