I admit this cold snap had me a bit grumpy. I’d really given myself over to summer and the dusting of snow just wasn’t working for me until a friend reminded me that it’s great for keeping the mosquito population in check. His comment came just as I was itching one of the mosquito bites I’d gotten on Sunday night at my favorite low-key place to hang out with my dog. Up Blackwood Canyon/Barker Pass Road, there’s a bridge that crosses a small river that is quintessential mountain for me. The river rolls along a rocky bottom and the banks are wide and lovely for hanging out, throwing sticks for the dog, and letting my eight-year-old daughter run around checking out bugs and watching what happens to twigs and branches when she drops them in the water.
The thing about this spot is that it totally inspires me and reminds me of the depth of the mountains that I live in. When you look upstream you can see Twin Peaks and up a canyon that feels big and wild. Sometimes, when I look up that canyon, all I want to do is start walking just to see what’s up there and to be surrounded by it.
One of my family’s favorite things to do is to head up to the bridge about an hour before we need to start dinner. We bring a snack and let the kid and the dog run and play. We hang out, keep them from getting too crazy, and soak up the beauty. Then we pack everyone back up and head home to make dinner. By this time we are all relaxed and enjoying a peaceful close to the day.
We did this on Sunday night and had a particularly enjoyable evening. Currently we have a 12 week old puppy, so this spot is perfect. Unfortunately she was jumped by a big dog earlier in the week and has been feeling a little timid. So when we pulled up and saw a Rottweiler that must have weighed 125 pounds my husband headed over to the couple to see if the dog was friendly. If it wasn’t we were going to skip our ritual. Fortunately the couple who had the dog, whose name is Boulder, had done a great job socializing him. While they assured us he was friendly the initial meeting had me a bit on edge. But they were true to their word and this HUGE Rottweiler was incredibly sweet and not only tolerated our dogs puppy pounces but did some wiggling of his own. My daughter and I decided he should have been named Mountain he was so big.
Boulder and our 25 pound shepherd, Rubi, ended up romping on the river bank for 20 minutes totally entertaining us all. Once Boulder left another dog showed up named Rex. It was Rex’s second birthday that day and he, too, was a friendly guy. So Rubi spent another 20 minutes romping with a Border Collie then, I admit, the mosquitoes got to be a bit much and we headed home. Normally we come armed with bug spray (No DEET for us, we’ve found that Buzz Away works well and won’t kill us. What a bonus!), but I’d left it in another pack so we didn’t have it. When we got home the puppy took a nap, we made a healthy dinner with our fresh CSA produce, and we wrapped up a great weekend on a sweet note.
While you are waiting for the Aerial Tram to open (June 15) so you can hike Shirley Lake with Fido, check this place out. From Tahoe City, drive towards Tahoma, turn right at Blackwood Canyon Road across from Kaspian Beach. Head up the road until you see the bridge. There’s usually plenty of parking along the road. This road does get some traffic, so definitely keep a close eye on your pets. Enjoy!