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Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Mischief - Those Little Quackers!

Toby and I had a lovely woodland walk today - right in the heart of our city! 
We visited the Chesapeake Arboretum, billed as "Nature's Classroom". The Arboretum is 48 acres of nature trails encompassing both sides of Starr Run.
 As you can see, the Arboretum is located right in a residential area, one block over from the "main drag", Battlefield Boulevard.

The farmhouse that serves as the Park Headquarters and grounds is to the left of the road. The Arboretum promotes education, environmental awareness, and research. 

After parking at the main building, you can cross the street to enter the nature trails. This charming otter sculpture is a recent addition to the entrance.
This trail map is a great visual for the way the woodsy area is surrounded by an urban landscape. Starr Run is the creek running lengthwise down the center of the map.
 Sadly the trails are almost always deserted on a weekday. Toby can run without his leash. I use these walks as an opportunity to practice his recall, rewarding him with a training treat each time.
Mischief #1: I  forgot to bring a leash! Toby jumps into the car while it's in the garage, and I neglected to grab one. I had to fashion an emergency handle from a shopping bag. Sigh.

Starr Run, seen from one of the bridges. Trails run along both sides. You can see the trail to the left.

Normally Toby won't go near the water, but today he started doing zooms into and out of the creek. He was running so fast I couldn't time the shutter to get him in the shot...


...until finally I clicked the shutter before he had reached the water, and it fired just at the right time!

Mischief #2: Quackers. This is the first duck we have ever seen at the Arboretum...

Serenely minding his own business - until Toby forgot to be afraid of water and splashed in after him! The mallard used his ultimate defense - wings- quacking angrily. Toby took off down the middle of the creek. After a tense few moments the recall practice paid off as he returned panting cheerily to sit at my feet. Sans duck, of course.

 Next stop is the Camellia Garden. 
The camellia plants bloom at different times. Only a few had blossoms today. (Can you spot Toby?)

The far south end of the trail gets quite close to some homes. The enterprising homeowner here has used grass clippings to make a private entrance to the trail.
Lake Hughes adjoins the trail system. You can see it on the trail map you saw previously.

Mischief #3: More quackers!

"Haha dog, c'mon and catch us - if you can!"

The lake is too deep for Toby (he won't swim).
Guess the quackers win this round!
The Chesapeake Arboretum is a little hidden treasure that we try to visit every few weeks. Do you have a place like that in your community?

23 comments :

Flea said...

What handsome quackers! And camellias! Toby would love my backyard. We have quackers. Actually, Toby would hate my backyard. My quackers bite the dogs.
www.dogtreatweb.com

Anonymous said...

That looks like a great park! Riley would love swimming in the lake! It's nice that you can trust Toby off leash...gives him a lot more freedom. Riley has a high prey drive and would take off after a squirrel and I'd never hear from her again-- haha! Good boy, Toby!

Elyse and Riley

Blueberry's human said...

That is one cool park! Gosh, I wish we had parks like that around here where it was ok for dogs to run into the creeks! We have to travel quite a distance to find anything like that.

Thanks for sharing!

houndstooth said...

I'd be in heaven if we had something that fantastic within walking distance! You and Toby are very lucky!

Sam said...

Very very pretty! I'd love to be able to visit there one day.

Sam

Cascadian Nomads said...

This looks like such a nice place to visit. We have a couple of hidden gem parks within walking distance that we often have all to ourselves- one in each direction!

Jackie Bouchard said...

Wondered what that was on his neck. Good idea to use a shopping bag. I forgot Rita's leash recently on our outing to the leash-free dog bay. Luckily I had "high value" treats so was able to get her back in the car at the end of our walk!

Great park - looks like a lot of fun!

2browndawgs said...

That looks like a beautiful arboretum. It is funny that I had geese as mischief on my blog today and you had ducks. :) Brown dawgs would have loved to swim in that lake.

Very cleaver with the bag. We keep an extra lead in our car for emergencies. It is just a plain slip lead. :)

Loving Max said...

What a lovely arboretum! Toby looks like he had a great time too! We just visited ours recently too...so pretty! Quick thinking on the shopping bag! I learned the hard way and now keep a spare in the car just in case :) ...but then my car is like the Max-mobile anymore :) Great photos! We really enjoyed them a lot!

Sue Kottwitz said...

What a beautiful park! I wondered what that was hanging from Toby's neck. lol Good thinking!

Amy said...

Oh no! Being bitten by a duck would be terrifying. Your dogs must be afraid of them!

Amy said...

It is nice to walk off-leash occasionally. We've practiced the recall since Toby was 12 weeks old. And he's still not perfect, but he does come back. The one time it got shaky was the first time we stayed at a beach house. After a few days Toby caught on that we only called him to put his leash on, and started not wanting to come back. That taught us to call him every 10 min. or so just to give him a treat. Once he associated being called with yummy things again he got better again. But we always, always use a leash in the neighborhood. And if there are other people around.
As for squirrels, and rabbits, Toby would be right behind Riley.

Amy said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Have a great day -

Amy said...

Ha ha I agree but I'll think the same of the cool places I see Bunny visiting :)

Amy said...

You would be very welcome - Toby, Sam, and Monty would have a blast!

Amy said...

How wonderful for you! It might be selfish to say, but I really like having the park all to ourselves when we go :)

Amy said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one to ever do this. You had a good solution too. A leash free dog bay sounds like a lot of swimming fun!

Amy said...

Yes I think the extra leash will go into the trunk today :) It's that time of year. Personally I like ducks but not geese - I've been hissed at by geese and suddenly you get that they came from dinosaurs!!!

Amy said...

Haha the Max-mobile, my car is usually Toby's ride so I know what you mean! I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you for your nice comments!

Amy said...

I figured I'd have to 'fess up since it's pretty weird looking to tie a bag around a dog's neck :/

Misaki @ misadventuresofMisaki said...

What a great place to walk! You should join in with Gizmo's park day 2.0

Golden Woofs! SUGAR said...

Woof! Woof! My kind a park. A treasure park indeed. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

coffeedog said...

chesapeake arboretum is beautiful!!! you are very lucky to have such a gorgeous place to take toby.
note to self: keep a backup leash in the car. BOL
wags.

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