Early morning walk in July

Today was beautiful! Finally, a break in the hot, humid midwest heat. It has been unusually hot this spring and it has continued into summer, so we really have not been taking long walks. Plus my older dog is slowing down and I just didn’t think she was up to a long walk. This morning she did not want to go for a walk at all. She went and stood by the couch when I got out the leashes. She was shouting “No, not today”.  I don’t think she is feeling well. Anyway, my younger dog, Mozzie, was more than excited. So we headed out into the cool morning air taking our usual route. But it was so nice, I decided to head for the park. It is part of the Great Rivers Greenways project which is 113 miles of greenways connecting rivers, parks and communities. It is a bit of a walk to get there, through our subdivision, along the golf course, over a bridge and then along the road and into the parking lot. From here you can go one of two directions. Go left, and it is a really large loop around a very pretty lake.

Lake view with kayaks

Go right, and it is a long path with a creek on one side and a prairie on the other. It ends in a large loop at the end turning you back the way you came.

Prairie path

We chose to go to the right, along the creek and prairie. I was thinking that it is a bit shorter and less crowded. These paths are very popular with cyclists, joggers and dog walkers. So it is a great place to work on your dog’s etiquette. Mozzie could use a little social skills review. There were lots of pretty wild flowers along the path. Since I love gardening, I really enjoyed identifying the different blooms. There were thistles, Queen Anne’s Lace, Rudbeckia, Cattails, Liatris, and even  Blue False Indigo, to name a few.

Liatris and Rudbeckia
Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace

I don’t think that last one, the Blue False Indigo or Baptisia, belongs in a prairie, but I do love this one. I have it in my own garden too. Mozzie was more interested in the wildlife. We saw a baby white-tailed deer walking along the path ahead of us! Later he bounded across into the brush and woods. So cute! He didn’t have the fawn spots. I guess, he was a little too old for that, but he was still rather small and cute. We saw a lot of birds, but strangely no rabbits. The subdivision is full of rabbits.

Chimney Swift hotel

However, we saw one really strange animal, a ferret! Okay, I am only familiar with ferrets as pets. They are not wild animals, so one must have escaped? So then I am wondering if it could survive the winter on its own?

So I had to do a little research. Apparently, the Black-footed ferret is native to North America and once ranged throughout the great plains of North America. They have been reintroduced in some states, but Missouri was not mentioned. So it still may be an escapee from some neighborhood or maybe they are coming back into the wild? Wow, what you can learn on a walk! Mozzie did not see our furry friend cross the path. However, when we reached that part of the path, Mozzie’s nose knew he was there. He tracked him across the path and wanted to keep following those foot prints.

The other thing learned today. You should bring water on even a short walk in cool weather, because it can turn into a very long, hot walk. We tried to linger under the rare tree to cool off when possible. Mozzie was happy to get home and spread out on the cool kitchen floor. A tired dog is a happy dog.

Tired dog

All in all it was a nice morning walk in July. Back into the humid 90 degree weather tomorrow!

What strange encounters have you had on a walk? Please share in the comments!


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