What a wonderful August 17, 2018 morning!
For Bernie and Chris, This is going to be an exciting day. It starts when I cross Bell Road and continue north on El Mirage Road. As we head into the desert, they smell it and can see it.
The rising sun at six greets us with a very pleasant 85 degrees.
We have another three miles before I turn off the hard pavement and the tires find entirely different surfaces. Dusty, fine sand quickly turns into rough, deep tire ruts gouged by desert machines.
We share this piece of land with folks who delight testing their driving skills by plowing helter-skelter through scrub brush as they make new trails.
I drive at least 500 feet into the desolate zone before I let the dogs out. That distance provides enough area for their exercise and is safely away from nearby roads. Releasing my canines, within seconds they disappear.
I search for them as the sun continues to rise.
I will let them investigate for about five minutes.
Grabbing my trek poles, I plod through the sterile dust. Unlike my smooth street pavement stride, desert walks are a much slower pace. The strewn wasteland sparkles with quartz rock and dull black volcanic debris.
My amputated large left toe affects my balance. I need trek poles for stability.
I carry my dog whistle and remote electronic reminder. Bernie and Chris wear electronic collars. I’ve had these devices for more than six years. The effective range for both the whistle and collar is more than a quarter mile. Most of the time I keep the dogs in sight, except when in the mountains and the wilds.
Although both dogs monitor me, Bernie keeps me in sight. I usually need to use the whistle or remote device to recall Chris.
When it involves Chris, everything becomes a game.
I blow the whistle and double-tap the remote. I may have to do this a few times. Within a minute, or maybe two, Chris appears. I never know from what direction. Chris may not know exactly where I am. He’s rushing on the general bearing.
Although I can yell, I usually blow the whistle. Its signal carries much farther than my voice. The whistle also helps Chris home in to me. As he comes near, I happily call him. He excitedly increases his speed, sometimes overshooting me.
Bernie ignores the whistle. He is already next to me and knows the whistle is for Chris. The dogs are close to being played out.
After thirty minutes of exercise, it is time to head for the car. ( top middle of photo) With the dogs beside me, we are about a quarter mile from the car. My long shadow indicates the time is about six-forty.
Rocks, tire ruts, and brush are obstacles to avoid while reaching the car.
It takes about twenty minutes to exit the area and drive home. Bernie and Chris enjoyed their desert fun. It exhausted them.