When you are out on the trail, in shorts, with no gun or mace, the thought of three dog running toward you barking is a little unsettling. I know what you are thinking. This is going to be an icky story with a bloody ending…right? Well, not today.

Most of the hikes Bob and I take are uneventful, and often even void of a lot of human contact, but sometimes things go a little differently. As we were hiking yesterday, we walked behind a bike rental shop that was located at the family’s home. Suddenly, as we neared the bicycle advertiser they had by their open gate, three dogs came running out toward us barking. As I said, that can be a little unsettling, but we soon discovered that these dogs were very friendly. So friendly, in fact, that they decided to walk along with us.

At first we said, “You guys better go home!!” But, when it became obvious that they were not leaving, we just hoped they knew their way home, and that the owner knew that we weren’t stealing them. It soon became very apparent that these dogs knew this trail very well, and that they spent a lot of time on the trail. They knew their way around. They stayed out of trouble. And most importantly, the knew proper trail etiquette, i.e. do your business off of the trail!!!

So, along we went, the 5 of us. The dogs would run down to the river to cool off, but not splash us when they came back…very unusual. If we stopped, they stopped. Where we went, they went. It was almost laughable. They seemed to have taken us on a their responsibility. They chased each other around and jumped over weeds. They seemed to want to entertain us with their antics. They were very funny dogs. They seemed to want to make sure that it was entertaining. And it was…we thoroughly enjoyed our first “guided tour” of The Mickelson Trail.

After going about half a mile or so with us, we came upon a bridge and the dogs just seemed to know that it was time to go home. Almost like they had been trained. It occurred to me that we should have pictures of our tour guides, and we almost got them all. One had decided to lead the way home. So his picture is a little dot at the very last point on the trail. And after their pictures, the other two followed suit.

The rest of our trip was without our tour guides, but with a smile. And after a beautiful hike, we got to see them again as we passed by their place on our way back. They came running out, barking, but this time if was to greet old friends, and after we petted them and talked to them for a minute, they went back to their yard, and we went on to finish our hike. What a joy those dogs were, and what good masters to have trained them so well.

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