A Day in Sacramento

On our way back from Tahoe, we decided to stop for a day in Sacramento to break up the long drive and check out the state’s Capital.

Sacramento is actually quite dog friendly!

We started off with a visit to Nimbus Fish Hatchery where dogs were allowed to enter the enclosed area with the fish runways. In fact, dogs were allowed pretty much anywhere except the visitor center.

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QQ standing up to check out the fishes

QQ was typically interested and wanted to see everything, frequently standing up on his hindlegs if he was too short. Chyler, on the other hand, didn’t want to go near any bodies of water. She refused to go near the fish run, maybe it was the sound of rushing water that scared her so?  I ended up having to carry her most of the time so her leash don’t create barriers for other people to trip over.

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QQ checking out the fish ladder, where salmons swim against the current

Next to the hatchery is the small trail to the river where we could see fishes in the wild. It was a beautiful walk filled with fall colors.

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You can really see the fishes flapping near the shore, the river was filled with fish.

On the other side of the hatchery is one of the gateways to the American River Parkway. This trail leads all the way to the downtown historic district in Old Sacramento. It’s about 23 miles though and we weren’t heroic enough to try it. Instead, we walked for awhile and opted to drive to Old Sacramento. It was a pretty nice walk with occasional views of the river.

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QQ checking out Chyler

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QQ checking out the river view

Nimbus Hatchery was a very interesting stop for us. Not only did we get to visit a fish hatchery, we also got to try out two different trails. We are used to taking the dogs hiking, but this was the first time we took them to a hatchery, which was a different learning experience indeed.

After checking out the fish hatchery, we drove to Old Sacramento for lunch. Old Sacramento is dog friendly enough to have several restaurants with open patios that welcome dogs. We chose a ramen place. After lunch, we decided to walk down to the historic waterfront district.

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At the historic waterfront promenade, which runs along the historic railroad

 

We walked from Tower Bridge to the other trailhead of the American River Parkway. It was a pretty walk. The waterfront promenade was lined with fall foliage and the views of the river was gorgeous.

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QQ wanted a closer look at the pretty fall tree

We also walked around some of the historic streets and stores which were all decked up for the holidays.

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Overall, we had a very nice day in Sacramento, not a bad stopover on the way to or from Tahoe!

Ruckus the American Eskimo Dog Blog

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Fun in the Snow at Tahoe

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QQ at Lam Watah Trail, Lake Tahoe

Over Thanksgiving of 2015, we took the dogs to Tahoe for two days. We had one simple goal – for QQ to play in the snow. During our epic winter road trip of ’14, we discovered how much QQ love the snow. It must be in his Spitz genes, although it was the first time he encountered snow, he was soon galloping around the snow covered park and having the time of his life.

Given that we live in the Bay area, if we want to let the dogs have fun in the snow, we have to drive to higher elevations. Tahoe was the best choice. Neither the husband and I ski so it never crossed our mind to make the snowy trek to Tahoe in winter. It is a testament as to how we plan our lives around QQ and Chyler that this trip happened. We were lucky in the sense that this year Tahoe got a ton of snow and there was snow EVERYWHERE. One of the local guys we met said Tahoe got more snow in the one month of November 2015 then it did in the whole winter of 2014-15.

I was a little worried that there won’t be anything for us to do in Tahoe, given that we don’t ski or snowboard. But as it turns out, there’s plenty of fun to be had with the dogs! We did two snow covered hikes and went to a couple of beaches for the dogs to just run and also visited the local dog park.

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small little dog lost in the woods

The first hike we did was the Lam Watah Trail on our first day. This is a short 2.2 mile hike that was a great starter. It’s not too long so you won’t feel that you’re out in the elements, and also, it leads to Nevada Beach, a dog friendly beach. We had a lot of fun in this short hike and the dogs got to run off leash.

Chyler did not like the snow at all last year. One of our funniest memories was Chyler trying to climb up a tree to get away from the freezing cold snow. This year, we came prepared. I bought a thick waterproof jacket that she looks uber cute in. Everyone commented on how cute she looked in the jacket. It might be because of the jacket, or it might be because she trusts us more (we’ve only adopted her for 2 months during the road trip last year and she came to us really scared), this year, she had a lot of fun in the beginning running around with QQ too! After about an hour, we noticed that she was getting icicles stuck on her paws and fluffy bottom that wasn’t as easy to brush off, and the husband decided to pick her up.

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Nevada Beach

The beach was mostly covered in snow and there was only a skinny stretch of sand, but QQ still had fun running up and down.

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Bijou Community Park Dog Park

The second day we visited Bijou Community Park. This park actually had two dog parks within it. The first is a agility park, the second is a large open space dog park. We started off trying out the agility equipment in the agility park before moving on the the large open space park. I guess we were the only people crazy enough to go to the dog park in such subzero weather. We had the whole park to ourselves. The dog park is the most beautiful dog park I’ve ever seen – all covered with snow and surrounded by white tipped Christmas trees.

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QQ sinking into the fluffy white snow at the dog park

After the dog park, we visited Regan Memorial City Beach. The beach is dog friendly on the east side. The first question on my mind when we arrived was, what beach?

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Regan Beach. What beach?

All we saw was a huge expense of white. We couldn’t tell where the beach ended and the lake began! But this made for a really large expanse of “land” for the dogs to run in! There were already a lot of dogs having fun chasing each other around. I asked a local how far we can walk out, and she said the ice is pretty thick so it’s pretty safe to walk. I took QQ and we made it out really far until I could see that we were walking on ice then I played it safe and walked back to meet the husband and Chyler.  We made QQ wear his shoes here because he was also getting icicles stuck on his paw pads after the morning fun at the dog park.

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QQ on Lake Tahoe

After lunch, we tackled our second hike at Van Sickle Bi-State Park. This is a large park with long trails. We did not attempt to hike for too long, but instead made our goal the vista point.  We hiked for about 2 hours. The sun came out and so it wasn’t too cold, the trails were covered in snow, but mostly flattened so it was actually quite easy. There were orange markers on the trees so we didn’t get lost either.

It was a beautiful hike, it was like hiking in winter wonderland. The white tipped trees and pristine snow and clear blue skies all made for a perfect day. The dogs had a lot of fun too.

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QQ camouflaged in snow

When we got to the vista point, we could see the lake

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view at the vista point of Lake Tahoe

We took a lot of photos of the dogs.

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QQ and Chyler at the vista point

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QQ ruling the world

Overall, it was a fun filled two days at Lake Tahoe and both dogs had their fill of playing in the snow. After seeing how much fun the dogs have, we decided that even though there’s no snow where we live, we will make it a personal goal to ensure QQ gets to play with snow at least once a year!

We are also planning on returning to Tahoe in the summer so we can utilize the dog friendly beaches to teach QQ how to swim. There’s also several trails that we gave a miss this time round because we were afraid that the snow might be too thick. Those trails would be great for summer!

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A to Z Challenge: C is for Carmel

Every year on my birthday, I like to do a short weekend getaway to somewhere nearby. We don’t go far so we don’t have to take more than 1 or 2 days off work. But we  go far enough so that we don’t have to think about work and can have some time to enjoy and relax.

Last year we went north up to Napa, and it was the first time we took QQ on a trip. We had a wonderful time. And this year, we decided to go south down to Carmel, and we have a new addition to our family, Chyler.

The first place we visited was Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove.

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This is a beautiful park with gorgeous views of the Pacific. We visited on a Saturday on a sunny day and it was extremely crowded. That didn’t detract from how awesome it was. There was carpets of wildflowers backed against the blue, blue sea.

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We spent quite some time walking up and down the coast, and also sat on a bench to do some reading. The only sad thing was we didn’t bring the dogs down to the beach because there were so many people on the beach, and QQ was quite forlorn when he looked down at the sandy beach he could not run on.

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This was quickly rectified the next day when we visited Garrapata State Park for a day of hiking and beach fun. But before we set off for a day of fun activities, we fueled up with a heavy breakfast at Bistro 211, a lovely restaurant with patio seating and a doghouse menu!

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We didn’t actually buy anything from the doghouse menu because QQ and Chyler already had breakfast and also, they are on a raw diet. But it’s too cute not to take a photo.

Garrapata State Park is a big park with coastal trails and a 2 mile beach. It’s not very crowded and we didn’t come across many people. The coastal views are breathtaking.

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It’s not an off leash park, so we kept QQ and Chyler on a leash most of the time. But when we climbed down to the beaches that are not easily accessible, we allowed QQ and Chyler off leash. Mostly because we needed both hands to climb up and down the rocky cliffs, and also because the beach had nobody else around that QQ and Chyler can disturb, excepting a couple of lone fishermen.

chyler on a beach

Because it was our first time at the park, we didn’t know where the “2 mile beach” was. So when we asked some people we met on the trail if the trail leads to the beach, and they said “Yes, it’s a little steep, but it does lead to the beach”, we took that it meant the 2 mile beach. As it turns out, the 2 mile beach is easily accessed with a wooden staircase if we drove a little more down the road. The beaches that we had to use both hands and feet to climb down to is not 2 miles. It’s barely half a mile in length. But it’s still beautiful.

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And we had it all to ourselves, so QQ and Chyler had a blast.

We still made it to the 2 mile beach later in the day. It was more crowded and we couldn’t really let the doggies off leash. We returned the next morning where there was barely a soul and we did allow the dogs off  leash for a quick morning run.

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The highlight of the park is a ravine filled with wild Calla Lilies, accessible from the beach, and the main reason we returned the next day, so as to see in in all its glory.

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calla view

There are no words for the beauty.

Carmel is well known for being dog friendly. On the third day, we visited the little town with its storybook cottages.

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In Carmel Plaza

We ate at Porta Bella, a restaurant housed in one of those story book like cottages. It was so dog friendly, it even allowed us to walk QQ and Chyler through the restaurant to reach the dog friendly back patio.

And the definite gem of the town must be the long off leash Carmel beach, within walking distance of Carmel downtown. A haven for the dogs to run and play. Sadly, QQ wasn’t the most well-behaved when we visited the beach, so we only allowed him off leash sporadically. But we did walk about half the length of the beach and sat down to enjoy some reading.

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However, we visited Mission Trails Park later that day and QQ was very well behaved, so he was allowed off leash together with Chyler for the entire loop trail.

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Mission Trail Parks kept to the story book theme of Carmel with the pretty wildflowers lining the trails. It felt a little like the woods in fairy tales. The trails are mostly flat and consist of interlocking loops. There are varying entry points though, and a couple of close to the road so it’s a good idea to keep a watch on the dogs when near an entry point. We spent about an hour plus walking the wide loop and barely saw a soul.

On our last day, we visited Asilomar Beach, yet another off leash beach. We went in the morning and there wasn’t really anyone around. QQ and Chyler spent about an hour running on the beach before we started off on the drive home.

All in all, we really enjoyed Carmel, with the multitude of off leash beaches and beautiful hiking trails. It was a wonderful getaway!

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Downtown Carmel

Monday Mischief – Winter Road Trip Final Part

This is the final part of our 6 part recount of our winter road trip. You can find Part 5 here.

Day 13 was also January 1st, the first day of 2015! Happy New Year! (2.5 months belated here)

This was an especially exciting day, because this is the day we visited Iku and Reenie, QQ’s Mom and baby sis.

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Reenie taking a first sniff at her big brother.

We picked QQ up from LA on Nov 2nd, 2013, and this is the first time we’ve brought QQ back for a visit. So it’s been 1 year and 2 months. Amazing how times flies! Iku’s Mom and Dad were really happy, they kept saying how QQ was their favorite of the litter and how glad they were to be able to see how he turned out.

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Reenie, QQ and Chyler sniffing around the front yard

On our end, we were very excited to meet Iku and Reenie too! Reenie looks almost exactly like QQ, it’s so amazing. Except Iku and Reenie both just had a bath, while QQ and Chyler were way past due for a bath. QQ especially have been rolling around in snow, sand and grass for the past two weeks. It doesn’t show all that much in the photos, but he looks positively yellow next to his fluffy and white relatives.

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Three Japanese Spitz sit for a portrait shot. Chyler feels very left out indeed. In this indoor shot, you can clearly see how dirty QQ looks next to his sister and mom.

We spent over three hours visiting and were quite sad to leave. The dogs had a wonderful time running around the front yard before going in for treats. And then coming out to run around again.

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Outdoor family shot. Reenie has the exact side profile as QQ, so many people guess that she is QQ when looking at this shot!

After we left Iku and Reenie’s house, we went to the nearby Arroyo Pescadero Park for a short hike.

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QQ looking quite sassy on the hike

This is a 2 mile dog friendly loop hiking trail. Dogs must be on leash. We went around 4pm and met some dogs and families. It’s a easy trail, there’s some elevation, but nothing too difficult. The dogs were happy to get some walking in before the end of the day.

On Day 14 though, we did what I feel must be the best hike of all 2 weeks of our trip. We went to Runyon Canyon in LA.

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Interesting graffiti art at the entrance of the trail

Runyon Canyon is off leash for dogs. It’s a moderate trail with quite a lot of elevation. Some parts of it was quite steep for us. But the views are amazing! And the dogs had so much fun. Not the entire trail is off leash though, some parts towards the summit isn’t. There are signs stating the off leash and leashed areas. I don’t think all the people follow the rules, but we decided to just stay within the off leash area as that’s quite a workout for us already. It took us about 2 hours to finish the off leash loop.

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Chyler with a wide grin. She approves of this trail.

As the trail is a loop trail, you have a choice of going up either the flattish trail, or the steeper trail. I wished I knew this beforehand, as we went up the flattish trail. I think it would be easier to climb up the steep trail and come down the relatively gentle flat trail. Instead we stumbled most of the way down. By “we”, I meant the humans. The dogs have no issue running down like the wind.

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Dogs ready to take off

Although we didn’t hike to the highest summit, the views we saw were gorgeous enough. We had a view of both Los Angeles skyscrapers and Hollywood.

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QQ and the Hollywood sign

All in all, Runyon Canyon lives up to the expectations as one of the most popular off leash hiking choice in LA. We wish we live closer so we can do this hike regularly, but alas it was not to be.

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Chyler takes one last look before leaving

Another reason we chose to stay in LA for a couple of days during our road trip was the food. LA is known for the many good food and the husband has been hankering to do a foodie road trip for awhile. While I like good food, I’m not really up to driving long distances just to eat, so I’ve been telling him no. But it’s easy to incorporate visiting some well known restaurants during our road trip. Since this is a doggie blog, I’m not going to spam a ton of food photos here. But here is QQ in front of the signage of one of the restaurants on our list.

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This place serves a mean Chicken Cracklin sandwich! And it boasts patio seating so the dogs get to hang out with us while we dig in. They didn’t get to eat anything though. Hence QQ’s sulky look.

Day 15 is our last day before driving home, and we decided it was way past time to just relax. And what better way to relax than to spend the day on a beach?

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QQ is pouting because he wants to run and not sit and pose. Chyler is clearly happy where she is.

We drove to Summerland’s Lookout Park, 10 mins south of Santa Barbara.  It’s a pretty green park with benches on the cliffs that look over the ocean. And there’s a small pathway that leads right down to the wonderful off leash beach!

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The beach stretches super long. We started walking north and didn’t even manage to find the end even after walking for more than an hour. One thing to note though, horses share the beach and we came across two set of groups on horseback. QQ isn’t entirely trustworthy around horses so we leashed him until they passed. Also, this means there’s horse poop on the beach, another thing that QQ is prone to eat.

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But other than that issue, the dogs had the time of their lives running along the beach, chasing seabirds they can never catch. It was an easy day with no place to get to, and no other plans other than relaxing.

It was a perfect end to our epic two week road trip.

Thank you for reading our recount and sharing our adventures with us!

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Monday Mischief – Winter Road Trip Part 5

This is Part 5 of our recount of our Winter Road Trip. You can find Part 4 here.

On Day 10, we began the return part of our road trip and crossed the state line back into Arizona.

Our road trip might be nearing the end, but we still have plenty of days for more fun. The destination of the day was Tombstone, Arizona.

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The site of O.K. Corral

Tombstone, AZ is a town famous for being the site where the most famous gunfight of the Old West took place. It’s a interesting historical town and made for a very fun day. It was also very dog friendly. There wasn’t anything that we couldn’t do with dogs in tow, given your dog isn’t easily startled by gunfights that is.

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The streets were lined with stores that still maintain the Wild West look, complete with horse drawn carriages. QQ didn’t really like the horses, but we managed to keep him under control. We started the day wandering around the historical town before checking out the options for watching gunfight shows. I was actually surprised that dogs were allowed in the gunfight show! The only small disappointment was that although we got tickets for the gunfight show, but when the first shot went off, Chyler began struggling in my arms to run off. QQ did not like it either and kept trying to hide his head. The husband had to leave with the dogs while I got to stay behind the watch the show.

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QQ happily waiting for the gunfight show to start, not knowing he wasn’t going to like it.

We also took the dogs on the trolley for the history tour. They happily did way better on the trolley tour.

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Tombstone Courthouse, part of the historical trolley tour.

 

Overall, it was an interesting day, we saw sights that are vastly different to what we previously did on the road trip.

On Day 11, we visited two different places.

The first place is Agua Caliente Park in Tuscon, an oasis in the desert. The landscape is very different the moment we turned into the park. Palm trees, water, grass, versus the barren ground and towering cacti that we have been looking at on our drive.

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Agua Caliente. QQ haven’t woke up yet.

We  visited really early in the morning and mostly had the place to ourselves. It was a nice place to take a morning walk.

In the afternoon, we drove to Phoenix and visited South Mountain Preserve. We chose to visit this park because it boasts valley views over Phoenix, and it didn’t disappoint. Gorgeous views plus QQ = Photo Spam. That’s pretty much the formula for our entire trip.

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love the cacti in the background

On day 12, we headed for our home state of California. On the way, we passed by rest stop at Salome, AZ that is surprisingly covered with snow.

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It was so surprising to come across snow in the desert and to see huge cacti covered in snow. We couldn’t resist taking some photos even though it was very cold.

Our next stop was the Imperial Sand Dunes. We had high hopes that QQ will be able to have as much fun here as he did at White Sands National Monument.

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QQ looking pensive, because he did not have the freedom he had at White Sands.

Unfortunately, there were alot of ATV vehicles racing around, and they were very fast and have the tendency to appear suddenly out of nowhere behind a dune, so we did not dare let QQ run around freely. It was also very windy. So we let QQ run a little and made him pose for some photos and we quickly moved on.

Our final destination for the day is Salton Sea, fondly known as the accident in the desert. Salton Sea is a saltwater lake located in the desert. Apparently there usually is a stinky stench around the lake, but perhaps because we visited in winter, the scent wasn’t very noticeable. We enjoyed walking along the shoreline of the lake, although it was a little windy.

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note Chyler’s helicopter ears!

The “beach” is actually made out of tiny little crustaceans, not sand. It was very fascinating to see, as pictured in the photograph above. It was also littered with dried fish  bodies, which QQ naturally couldn’t resist. The husband decided to hold him for most of the time to avoid giving him any chance at them, but we set him down for a quick moment to take a photograph and he quickly snatched one up. He ended up puking it out at night.

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At Salton Sea Visitor Center.

The visitor center had a little oasis that was too cute for words. We had QQ pose in front of a giant row of cactus. This is probably the last time we are going to see cacti as we are heading for Los Angeles next!

And that concludes Part 5. Watch out for Part 6, the final part, coming soon!

 

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Mischief Monday – Winter Road Trip Part 4

This is Part 4 of our recount of our Winter Road Trip. You can find Part 3 here.

On Day 8, we left Taos to drive back to Albuquerque.

In the morning, we planned on doing a hike at Elena Gallegos Park. I read up on it and it’s a dog friendly park with wide spaces and plenty of trails. Dogs has to be on leash though.

I originally planned for all of us to go on the hike. However, I didn’t expect it to be so cold! It was minus 3 degrees Celsius. The cold weather made it unsuitable for Chyler, who has shown that she doesn’t tolerate freezing cold weather well. So the husband opted to stay in the car with her, quite gleefully too I might add.

I took QQ and went on a 1 hour walk with him. It was cold, but it was quite pretty. Parts of the trails were covered in snow, and we had a view of the distant mountains.

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It took QQ awhile to understand that the husband and Chyler isn’t joining us. For the first 10 minutes, he kept standing up on his hind legs and looking back towards the car. But after awhile he started to focus on enjoying the cool weather walk.

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I wished we could have gone for a longer walk, the views were really quite breathtaking. Sadly, the freezing weather is also breathtaking, and not in a good way. So after an hour, we got back in the car and headed for lower elevation.

In the afternoon, we visited the Petroglyph National Monument. The lower elevation and afternoon sun warmed the weather up nicely, and this time, the whole family get to go for a hike together. Petroglyph National Monument is famous for the many petroglyphs created by Puebloans 400-700 years ago.

Not all of the Petroglyph National Monument is dog friendly. The more popular Boca Negra Canyon isn’t. We first visited the Rinconada Canyon, which is supposed to have up to 400 petroglyphs.  Leashed dogs are allowed at this trail.

QQ's first sniff of this strange white substance.

QQ atop a rock that do NOT have a petroglyph.

Petroglyphs are hard to spot. A lady that looked like a local passed by and told us not to lose heart if we don’t see any. Apparently it depends largely on the light and angle. Visitors were advised to bring binoculars. We didn’t have any, but it didn’t matter really. The weather was wonderful and we just enjoyed the walk. We did see some though!

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petroglyph sighted!

The trail was a loop trail, approximately two miles. We did not see many people on the trail and enjoyed taking our time trying to spot the elusive petroglyphs.

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We also visited the Volcanoes day use area, which do not have any petroglyphs, but do have some volcanoes that you can climb. We climbed the smallest one and had a lot of fun before finally calling it a day.

Day 9 was the best day of our road trip.

We drove down south to White Sands National Monument. There really isn’t much to say, except that if you ever have a chance, you should definitely bring your dog there.

White Sands National Monument is dog friendly. The place is what its name say, a place entirely covered with white sand dunes. The sand is so soft, I heard someone saying it’s just like snow. We went on a beautiful day, and it might have been the best day of QQ’s life. Dogs has to be leashed. But White Sands National Monument is huge. It’s easy to find a space for your own enjoyment. We walked the dogs on leash far away from the road until we couldn’t see anyone, and basically let them drag the leash. If we see anyone coming, we picked up the leash quickly.

QQ is a sand dog. He loves running on sand, and digging in sand, and basically anything that has to do with sand. And this sand is so, so soft!

Prepare for a photo spam.

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QQ, ecstatic.

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More fun than he ever had yet.

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Even Chyler loved the sand. And she usually isn’t all that into sand.

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it might be difficult to see, but QQ’s airborn here. A display of his excitement.

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White Sands is beautiful.

To be honest, there isn’t really much to say about White Sands National Monument. There really isn’t anything there but sand. But just the sand is enough. Sometimes, simple is best. The husband isn’t a fan of traveling, but even he talked about returning, just because of how much fun QQ and Chyler had. And when you love your dogs as much as we do, seeing the joy in your dogs makes anything and everything worthwhile, even if you really hate driving 3000 miles. We spent almost the whole day there and had a hard time leaving. The dogs were absolutely zonked out at night.

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QQ pensive about the impending departure.

And with the photo spam, we conclude Day 9 and Part 4. To be continued…

Mischief Monday – Road Trip Part 3

This is Part 3 of our recount of our Winter Road Trip. You can find Part 2 here.

We arrived in Santa Fe on Christmas Eve, this was planned because we wanted to attend the Canyon Road Farolito Walk, which is Santa Fe’s signature seasonal event.

We started off the day wandering around Santa Fe’s Plaza, the heart of Downtown Santa Fe. It was rather quiet and deserted, because we were there really early. However, that didn’t stop us from having fun, mostly because this was the first time QQ encountered snow.

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QQ’s first sniff of snow, a strange white substance he had never saw before.

In the beginning, QQ didn’t know quite what to make of it. In the meantime, I was busily snapping away.

Isn't QQ pretty in the snow?!?!

Isn’t QQ pretty in the snow?!?!

He quickly learnt that this strange white substance is very fun to play with.

The snow-covered Santa Fe Plaza

The snow-covered Santa Fe Plaza

We also walked to Santa Fe’s State Capitol.

State Capitol

State Capitol

In the afternoon, we visited Frank Ortiz Park, a off leash dog park in Santa Fe. I previously looked it up because we need to find a place to let the dogs run off leash. This dog park got pretty good ratings, but it way exceeded my expectations.

It’s not a gated dog park, it’s really big and there are multiple trails for the dogs to explore. It’s also lightly dusted with snow, and afforded beautiful views of snow-capped hills.

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QQ posing just off the trail.

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Beautiful views. This dog park made me wish we live in Santa Fe.

There’s also a big flat area near the parking lot that allows for the dogs to socialize. QQ met a samoyed that he kept following around. It’s so cute, like he found a big brother.

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tiny dog, big dog, small dog

The park also had a festively decorated Christmas tree, and naturally I had to get a picture of it with the dogs.

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Seasons’ Greetings!

It was a really fun afternoon spent at the park. Nothing makes us happier than to see our dogs run free.

In the evening, we visited the Railyard Arts District. Santa Fe is famous for its galleries and the Railyard district is known for the contemporary art galleries. I’m happy to say that all the galleries I visited are dog-friendly. The husband isn’t interested in art and opted to stay outside with QQ playing with his phone. I carried Chyler in the galleries though, and everyone made a fuss over her. She was the best behaved dog ever, she never made a squeak and allowed anyone who wanted to to pet her.

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Artsy dog.

I did get some photos of QQ outside SITE contemporary art space though.

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at the park outside SITE

 

After visiting the galleries, it was time to go for the Farolito Walk. Unfortunately it was dark and we didn’t get any good photos. But it was definitely fun. Canyon Road is lined with multiple art galleries that went their way out to decorate for Christmas. Thousands of luminarias line the road and there were so many people that it didn’t even feel cold. I had to carry Chyler most of the time because we were afraid she’ll be trampled accidentally, the husband even picked QQ up several times when we had to go through a crowd. But it was beautiful and the mood was so festive. It’s truly a signature event and we are happy to experience it.

The next day, we drove to Taos on Christmas day. We visited a couple of famous churches on the way, and also drove by Rio Grande Gorge. We visited Taos Pueblo to see their annual Native American Christmas dance. Taos Pueblo is dog friendly, but the Pueblo had a lot of dogs of their own and they run off leash. They are not shy about coming up to people and dogs to sniff them. Chyler did well because she doesn’t get rattled easily over other dogs. QQ was a little tense and the husband decided to stay in the car with him because we didn’t want to risk a fight breaking out. Taos Pueblo do not allow photos.

We ended the day walking around in Taos Plaza and the downtown Historic District.

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Huge Christmas tree in the middle of Taos Plaza

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At Taos Plaza. Finally a Christmas tree in QQ’s size!

 

It snowed in the evening just before sunset on Christmas Day. We had our wish, that QQ get to experience falling snow and play in fresh snow. We had a White Christmas.

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White Christmas! The snow was so heavy that QQ literally sank into it.

 

The next day was freezing cold as it usually is after snowfall. The lowest point was below 21 degrees Celsius. We decided to do the Enchanted Circle Scenic Drive, mostly so we can stay in the car. This is a well known scenic drive. It is a 84 mile loop that starts and ends in Taos, circling Wheeler Peak. It was really beautiful with snowy scenes. We were lucky and actually saw a family of elk on the drive! I was so excited and wanted to stop for longer to observe them. However, QQ did not like foreign animals and started to bark his head off. He barked so much he even got Chyler to start. With two dogs making such a racket, we didn’t have a choice but to snap a couple of photos and quickly drive on.

 

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Family of elk that did nothing to QQ. They even had their backs to us! But somehow this is not to be tolerated by the guard dog of the family.

 

We visited Kit Carson Park after we got back from the drive.  Kit Carson Park technically had a dog park. But everything was covered in heavy snow and after trekking around for awhile, we couldn’t find the dog park. We met a local who was walking his two dogs off leash, and he said that the dog park is really small, and since there wasn’t anyone around, we might as well allow our dogs off leash where we are. Seeing as there truly wasn’t another soul within sight, we let QQ off and he got to run around in the snow with the two other dogs. We tried letting Chyler off too, but she kept trying to climb up a tree to get away from the thick snow so we picked her up and held her the entire time while QQ played to his heart’s content.

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QQ, in his element surrounded by snow. That was the tree Chyler kept trying to climb up.

 

It was freezing, so this is a testament to our love for QQ that we actually stayed in the park for over half an hour. After the two dogs left, QQ couldn’t stop running, jumping and digging. I originally planned to leave within 15 mins because I was worried that he might get too cold – we didn’t make him wear shoes. But he was so happy I extended the time. We wiped his paws down the moment we got inside the car, and he didn’t show any signs of discomfort. I have zero experience in caring for a dog in such weather so I’m not sure exactly how long we should allow the dogs to play in the snow. For QQ, clearly 30 mins wasn’t enough, but that was pretty much all he got because I’m paranoid.

We went home after to get warm, and also to do some laundry.

And that’s the end of our 7th day and the first week of our two weeks road trip.

To be continued….

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