Adventure Walks: The Path Less-Traveled

What do you think of when you hear the word adventure? For most folks the term tends to conjure up adjectives like dangerous, unknown, risky, and exciting. Maybe you picture an Indiana Jones movie or backpacking the Appalachian Trail or some other exotic journey. Hey, those all sound great but when it comes to walking your dog, it does not require anything all that remarkable to spice things up a bit. The difference between an average walk and an “adventure-walk” may be just around the corner. It is often just a matter of choosing the path less-traveled and it is very likely there is one that has been right in front of you for a very long time, perhaps even one that you pass every day. Let me share a little adventure-walk I had with my dogs this morning as an example of how easy it can be.
As with all adventures, it all starts with the first step. The first step is to take notice that the well-traveled path is not the only path. In our case, the well-traveled path is a paved one, designed for pedestrians and bicyclist. It is very clean and smooth with a dotted line down the middle, you know, all the comforts of a city street but with some country views.
In this photo, you can see a nice open area and some trees in the distance, pretty isn’t it? If you look a little closer you can also see that there is a small unpaved trail which branches off to the right. Where might that one go? It seems to head towards the trees. Is it safe? What’s beyond those trees? Do you feel the call of adventure? Sure you do! Come on, let’s check it out.
Step number two is to actually step off the well-traveled path, leave the herd behind and take your dog on an adventure! In this photo, you can see what we found. Our little dirt path led us to this beautiful spot along the creek. What a wonderful payoff for taking the path less-traveled, wouldn’t you say? Oh, and did I mention it was literally only 175 steps from the paved path. Yes, I counted them. So simple and yet so much fun! I let my dogs play in the water and have a good sniff around our newfound oasis for awhile and then had to consider step number three, to head back or to venture forward?
I could have easily taken the 175 steps back to ordinary-ville and that would have still been a fun little adventure for my dogs. Better than a typical walk around the block or staying on the paved path, anyhow, but that felt a bit like a teaser. It seemed as though our path had ended at the creek and like I said, turning back was an option, but if you look carefully at this photo, you can see a very small path through the trees on the other side of the creek. Look carefully, do you see it? It looks kind of like a little cave, very intriguing don’t you think? It turns out there was a spot where the water was only a few inches deep and there was a rock in middle. I was able to get across without even getting my pants wet by jumping to the rock and then to the other side. Yeah, I had to step in the water a little bit, but I had my boots on, so no issues there. I suppose I could have taken my shoes off and rolled up my pants as well. Regardless, now we are really beginning to get adventurous by taking not only the path less-traveled but the path far less-traveled. Fun!
In this photo, you can see Nakita and Missy enjoying their adventure. Our little discovery turned out to be a bigger trail than expected and led to a other trails both big and small. Some paths were in the shade and some in the sun, some led to forks in the path and some to dead ends but all-in-all we had a great adventure. With a little imagination it was easy to pretend we were in some far off forest, but, in fact, our great adventure on the path less-traveled was only a matter of yards from the well-traveled path of ordinary-ville.
Less traveled paths are all around us all the time, just look and I’m sure will find some in your area as well.
Happy adventures!
- Chad Culp, Certified Dog Trainer, Canine Behavior Consultant and Nature Enthusiast

© Thriving Canine 2013