Last weekend, the dogs and I traveled up to Pocatello, Idaho to volunteer at the Scout Mountain Ultra Trail race with my brother and a group of people from the Pocatello Running Club. We needed to get up early, meet my brother’s friend, Matt, and hike in to the aid station about a mile to start setting up gear that had been dropped off the night before with ATVs. My brother and I decided to take two cars to the trailhead, just in case Charlotte didn’t make it all day (it was a long day, and she’s only 4 1/2 months old). I had visions of her tied to a tree and barking all day at the runners.
We did not get much sleep the night before. For whatever reason, Charlotte would not settle down and was awake every hour to go outside from 10pm until 3am. I finally went out to the car at 3am and got a couple of her stuffed toys and she kind of slept for a couple of hours and then wanted to go out again at 5am. We snoozed until 6:30 and then it was time to get going. I felt like it was going to be a really long day…
My brother made me breakfast, which was good, because I usually don’t eat breakfast and I think it really helped to get me going for the day. We left Franklin in the backyard with a peanut butter Kong to chew on (because he is a good boy) but I didn’t trust Charlotte to stay in the yard for 10+ hours. There’s not much phone reception where we were on the mountain, so if she did get out and someone called us, we might not have even gotten the call.
So we picked up Matt and drove up to the trailhead. Charlotte was all chipper and ready to go, prancing up the trail. At one point, my brother said, “Wow, a deer… she (Charlotte) smelled it, but didn’t run after it.” Thank God.
When we got to the aid station area, we started setting up and getting food and drinks ready, which took about an hour. One other woman was with us (Louise) and the running club hadn’t shown up yet. Turns out, they would show up later because some of them were sweeping the first part of the race before heading up (talk about a long day!).
After we were mostly set up, I took Charlotte for a hike up to the Frog Pond, about a mile away. She had fun snooping along in the creeks along the way. On the way back we met the bartender from Pebble Creek Ski Area and her daughter, and a man on a motorbike whom Charlotte stopped for and was very cautious, waiting on the side of the trail.
As the day went on, Charlotte roamed around the aid station and mostly stayed off to the side of the action. She said hi to a lot of the runners but didn’t jump on them. I was helping at the drinks and ice station most of the morning, and she stayed right nearby, snuggled into the base of a tree. I tethered her to the tree when the foot traffic was really heavy and she started barking at one point. “Oh no, ” I thought. “Here we go.” I let her off the leash to let her go and get a drink in the nearby creek, and she just looked up at me and squatted to pee. “Oh is that why you were barking? You had to go potty?” Such a good puppy.
There were several times in the afternoon when I was looking around for her and kind of started to panic, thinking she had wandered off or followed some of the runners up the trail. She was found, several times, sleeping under an aid station table in the shade. She got so tired in the afternoon that she decided she no longer wanted to sleep on the ground, but wanted to be in a camp chair so she climbed up and took a nap. She was totally fed up with the biting flies and mosquitos 8 hours into the day (such a long day for a puppy) and when we finally dumped the left-over ice out of the cooler, she sat her little buns on the pile of ice and cooled her belly on it.
We hiked out, and she pranced right along ahead of us, looking back every few minutes to make sure we were coming.
We got home and she was happy to see Franklin (and he was happy to see us), the dogs ate their dinner, and promptly fell asleep on the kitchen floor.
I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have such an amazingly smart and agreeable little puppy. I’m so proud of Charlotte Jane.