On Saturday, we visited the nature center in Wellesley Island State Park where we were camping for a few days. A nice volunteer recommended a very scenic hiking trail but warned us it may be muddy from all the rain from the previous 2 weeks. We took Niko along with us and were tempted to let him off leash. We decided against because of signs forbidding it, the muddy areas, and other hikers on the trail. The picture above is taken at the lookout point which was breathtaking. It got very warm and humid which explains NIko's tongue sticking out for picture perfectness.
In hindsight, it was good NIko was kept on a leash. We found a deer carcass that was mauled up and bloody. Niko would have totally gone to it for some sniffing and snacking. Also, at one point during our walk, NIko lunged off the path at something in the grass. Although it was well camouflaged, we quickly saw that it was a snake. Niko wouldn't let up on it and kept poking his head toward it everytime the snake moved. The snake reeled its head back at Niko too and even opened its mouth to show teeth. It was a scary moment but exciting too. We pulled Niko away and I snapped this picture before moving on:
I can't imagine what would have happened if Niko was off leash and had free reign to lick, bite, play with, or bark at the snake. I shake my head when I think of how Niko is fearful of the wrong things (like water) but is brave around the real dangers (such as a snake and skeletons). Niko showed the same interest he usually has around tiny living things that move. There was a bumble bee that lingered around us most of the weekend and Niko chased it and snapped his jaw at it like a frog countless times.
Camping was a lot of fun and Niko was great at nights in the tent. He didn't make a sound and was pooped out tired when we turned in every night. I laid down a beach towel by my side and showed him where to lay down the first night. On the 2nd and last nights, he automatically went to the towel, circled around it to pat it down, and settled in. It was great cuddling with him because we don't get to do that at home due to his usual aloofness and preference to not snuggle. I felt him shaking when it was cold one night. I put part of my blanket over him and he nuzzled against me. During the wee hours of the morning, I tried to remember to cover NIko's head lightly with the blanket. This is to keep him from noticing the light filtering in from the rising sun and to allow us all to sleep in. On the last morning, my attempt didn't work because Niko weaseled his head out of the blanket and as soon as he saw daylight, he went towards the zipped up tent door. I reached outside for the tether and attached his collar. When i saw the sunrise, I didn't mind being up at 4:30 at all. I took a few pictures, made sure Niko had access to his food and water bowls and went back in to snooze a few more hours. Niko was quiet and sat peacefully outside listening to the birds chirp and probably snoozed a bit on the soft woodsy ground. It was a perfect weekend.