Finding Humor in the Outdoors

He takes off full speed down the middle of the trail holding a 5 foot stick by just the end

I started Riley out hiking when he was just a few months old and as we have spent the last six years continuing on our outdoor adventures, there is one specific memory that remains my favorite. 

As an Australian Shepherd Riley is a very active breed and I like to challenge him and give him tasks to do. So on our hikes, I started playing a game with him. It began by playing fetch with a stick that I would find along the trail and progressed to me asking him "Okay Ry, find a stick!". He would search for a stick near the trail and sometimes bring it to me but more times than not he would pick up the stick and take off proudly running ahead on the trail. It was something extra to expend his insurmountable energy and became a fun game for the two of us to play. 

Well while playing this very game four years ago, it took a humorous turn. We were in the middle of a game of fetch while hiking in the Front Range outside of Denver and I had asked him to go find a stick and he happily ran off to find one that was suitable. I continued on my way hiking ahead, knowing that he would catch up shortly. After about 150 yards I turned around to check on him only to find him bounding down the middle of trail holding a 5 foot stick by just the end. He was running full speed with the biggest smile on his face as if he couldn't wait to show me his great stick. To add to the situation I had just passed a couple hiking and were now headed straight into Riley's path. I start laughing in embarrassment as I think in my head "Yep, that's my child" bounding down the middle of the trail now going to knock down everyone in his path and there is nothing I could do to stop him. I shout out to him in an attempt to remedy the coming predicament but it does nothing to slow him down. He continues on so happy and so proud and at this point there is nothing I can do but continue laughing. Luckily the couple see what is occurring and join me in the humorous situation as they graciously step off to the side to eliminate being sideswiped by Ry and the large stick. 

Riley runs up to me panting and purely content. I haven't stopped laughing the entire time which he understands as a sign that he has done a great job and has made me proud by finding such a great stick.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Kalli Hawkins

Passion for the outdoors | Always exploring with my four legged friend