Woody and I have been so busy lately – the admissions season has begun again in earnest…Woody is teaching a new course this quarter…we’ve had house guests for most of September…and we seem to have very little down time to just relax…including getting Cleo out into the woods for a little exercise and adventure.
Yesterday we woke up early, piled into the car, grabbed some coffee and baguettes from Euro Pane, and hit the 210.
We headed to the Frazier Park area with plans to let Cleo run free, maybe practice some of her hunting skills, enjoy a hike and some cooler weather. The area is full of pines and forests that remind us of Colorado, and it is an area that is known to have quail.
We found a new area to explore, Mt. Pinos. Apparently, a great place to go for some good downhill mountain biking. We parked alongside the road, headed out on trails that are mainly for cross-country skiing in the winter. Yep – you can cross-country ski in California within an hour’s drive of LA. Surprise! The trails were great and the temperature perfect and Cleo was quickly exhausting herself, running up and back and all over. She loves being able to run like this. Bouncing around, picking up a smell, chasing chipmunks and lizards and then running back to us as if she is going to tell us about all the cool things she saw and smelled. Our trail met up with another one that was coming down from the main parking lot at the top of the road, we passed a group of 4 people heading back the way we came from, and another family carrying a few hoes and rakes and buckets – they were out scavenging for pine nuts. We decided to turn around and head back on the trail we came in on.
All of a sudden, there was a shot fired. Someone was shooting a gun in the woods…very close to us. We yelled to get Cleo back to us…we didn’t know where the shots were coming from. But when a hunting dog hears shots being fired…her instinct is to go fin the bird that was just shot. She did just as she should and ran around more fervently to locate the bird. Except there was no bird…and more shots were being fired – four or five in total. Woody used the electronic collar and gave Cleo a couple of shocks to get her attention so we could get her back to us. The shots were close enough that I saw pine needles fly off a tree only 20 feet in front of me. Cleo came back and we yelled “Hold your fire!”. Woody ran ahead to see if he could find who was shooting, why they were shooting, and give them a piece of his mind. Cleo and I stayed back hunching down on the trail.
Turns out, it was those 4 people who we had passed earlier. We think they were just hoping to do some shooting or target practice with a handgun, something like a 22. Woody caught up with at least some of them…we think the guy who was shooting took off running. He informed them that they could not just shoot guns in the national forest, and they were shooting over a small knoll and slightly downhill…he definitely scared the bejesus out of them. If we had been 50 feet further on the trail, there’s a god chance one of us or Cleo could have been injured.
So…yeah, nothing like heading out for a walk in the woods on a Sunday morning and nearly getting shot.