Forest Barking

img_3759Rain on the shores of Mt. Hood’s Salmon River.

Rain and I had signed up for what I was calling “reindeer games,” a fun two-week session at agility that would focus more on games than agility work. Then we would break for the holidays and start our regular sessions again in January!

That was the plan BEFORE our area got its first winter event of the season. Class was cancelled last week in anticipation of this winter event, and cancellation is looking likely for this week as well now official for this week as well.

What’s a dog to do?

If that dog is Rain, the answer is to create your own reindeer games in the snow! Rain invited Steven and I to hike with her at Wildwood Recreation Area, located on Mt. Hood at a lower elevation which wouldn’t be seeing any freezing temperatures that day.

The site features a network of trails, interpretive signage, and a unique outdoor underwater viewing shelter. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of action happening underwater when we took a gander, but that didn’t stop Rain from telling us about how excited she was.

Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is the Japanese concept of enjoying a forest in order to boost your own well-being. Scientific literature has been published about it.

Bark, bark, bark! Rain was excited to be out in the forest, excited to see the snow, and excited to be alive. Clearly Rain was enjoying her forest barking. (When I tried catching Rain’s forest barking on camera, she was of course completely silent.)


After exploring a more developed area of the site and throwing some snowballs at rain in a closed parking lot, we headed off on a longer trail which was far more slushy and uneven. At some points of the trail, two of us needed to carefully navigate around the trail which had become a very deep puddle!

Rain, of course, waded right through these slush puddles without a care in the world.


We spotted animal tracks in a handful of spots—often they belonged to deer, but not always. Rain caught scent of some interesting animals too—a couple of times she stuck her head into a pocket in the snow made by drooping ferns, sniffing for whatever it was that had caught her fancy.

Here’s Rain leading our party through the slush.

Hiking with Rain

A post shared by heather andrews (@bookishheather) on

Less than 1/8 mile from the end of our hike I was navigating around one of the slush puddles when I slipped. Icy water filled my shoes and soaked my wool socks.

What was Rain’s reaction? She barked at me to suck it up and keep moving. And she had a point—there’d be no advantage to standing still in my squishy shoes. We pressed on to the parking lot, drove straight through to home, and enjoyed the hygge of home (and dry clothes) upon our return.


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