The last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy.
Plus a bit more busy in there somewhere but I was too busy to remember exactly where it should be.
Axel has been here with me now for about 2 1/2 weeks and I am very happy to announce that he has done a truly remarkable job at adapting to his new life in Victoria. I was really concerned that he would be miserable since he is losing a lot of his freedom here,
But does he look miserable to you?
How about now?
I am astonished at how well he turned into a city dog. The first two days were stressful because he wasn't eating and worst of all, he wasn't pooping, so I was a big stressball just waiting and hoping that his appetite and bowels would go back to normal. When you own a dog, basically your entire life revolves around their bowels...so I wasn't a happy camper. Axel took it all in stride though. He is great walking through busy traffic and barely shifts an ear when a big truck roars by. He leaves all of the feral hippies alone when he finds them sleeping in the parks and while he is still a bit leery of them, he's pretty much figured out that the waves rolling into shore are nothing to be concerned about. He still tries to drink ocean water though. He runs down to the water, splashes around, takes 2 laps of water and gives me the same "Oh God that tastes awful" face that he gives me every time he drinks from the ocean. Sigh.
The one thing that I will say about Victoria is that (apart from the horrendous access to finding places to live which allow dogs) it does a pretty great job at accommodating the dogs in the city. There are lots of dog-friendly beaches and walk-ways around the city, all well equipped with poop bags and garbage cans. Plus there are dog water fountains placed throughout the city and a lot of businesses in Victoria and in surrounding neighbourhoods keep water bowls and/or buckets outside of their doors to allow any canine passer-bys to have their thirsts' quenched while enjoying their daily stroll.
I can definitely say that Axel has likely been meeting and greeting more dogs and people in the past 2 weeks then he has in his entire life. He's been (mostly) a complete gentleman in all of his introductions to all of the new people and dogs. I was able to find him a lovely lady to take him for walks on the weekdays that I am at work and also a magnificent friend has offered to help out on the weekends when Axel needs some company. Everyone has been very welcoming to him and I am so lucky to have such great people in my life who are willing to help out with his care.
So this morning we started the trail at East Sooke Park which is an awesome provincial park that is packed full of trails, beaches and picnic areas. The trail is approximately 20km round-trip which in the big scheme of hikes, really isn't that far. But the terrain is tricky and at the drop of a hat changes from lush ferns and soft ground to jagged sheer rock cliffs you have to pull yourself up from. Plus it never gets easier!!! The ups and downs of this hike made my legs feel like jelly (and I'm in semi-decent good shape!) and right when I thought that I would be getting a break from incline, I'd go around the bend and be faced with another rock wall to climb. The way back is equally as difficult and there is no physical relief to be had while enduring this hike.
I friggin loved it.
The one major problem with this hike is that at all times you have to watch your footing so your eyes are basically always to the ground. This means that you just might miss out on some AMAZING views and breathtaking landscapes that most people can only dream about seeing. Based solely on what I saw today, I can 100% understand the draw to living in Sooke. When you can look out from the top of the rocky cliffs and see views of the ocean that are so gorgeous that it brings tears to your eyes, you know you're in an incredible part of the world.
So as I mentioned, the hike is about 20km round-trip. Since the trail doesn't have any km marks or indications of how far along you are, I had no way to know exactly how far I had hiked today. I am guessing that we did about 15 of the 20 kilometres. As much as I really really really wanted to complete the entire thing today, I was worried about how quickly we were going through our water supply: mainly I was worried about Axel. There are some creeks on the hike which would have been great little watering holes for him, but unfortunately they were all dried up so he had to rely on the water that I packed for him. I didn't want to dehydrate the guy so I decided to turn back and ration the water until we got back to the car (where I had lots more ready for our return).
My legs are now feeling less jelly-like and my feet feel a bit achy, but it was a great hike. Next time I shall bring more water and complete the entire trip.
The dog hasn't moved from his bed since we got home so that is a sure sign that he's had ample stimulation for the day. All I can ask for now is for winter to never come so that I can keep enjoying all of these amazing Vancouver Island hikes all year round.