Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Turkey Run Adventure (Part II)

(Continued from Part I)

The grounds around our camping cabin were so dark and quiet that both Sid and I slept like rocks. Actually more like pug loaves. That is, until Sid’s internal clock kicked in and the thought of breakfast overtook his brain. I think he may have eaten breakfast at 5 am though it was too dark to tell. The sun hadn’t even thought about rising yet. After his breakfast and quick run into the cold pre-dawn morning for a bio break, he plunked right back onto my sleeping bag until the sun finally decided to show its bright face.



Sid was raring to go! We picked up my Mom at the Turkey Run Inn, and set a course for Trail 4. The weather was much warmer than the day before and the sun was shining brightly. It was certainly an ideal day to enjoy nature!


Trail 4 was not only very scenic and serene, but was also fairly easy on the legs. The end of Trail 4 connected up with a section of Trail 3 which is one of the most rugged trails at Turkey Run. Long sections of it wind through narrow canyons formed by the small but quick-moving creek below. It can be tricky navigating through the canyons and most first-timers end up half-soaked, caked in mud, and wondering if they are actually still on the trail. Sid didn’t seem to mind if he was on or off the trail, just as long as he was able to stroll through the water, and GET WET!


After a snack and a little relaxing, my Dad joined up with us and we headed to another trail – Trail 6. It also follows a creek, but the banks are much wider so it is a lot easier to navigate.


Even though the trails along along the banks were wide and flat, Sid spent most of his time hopping over logs, crawling on top of boulders, and wading right through the water.



And of course, he couldn’t resist one more pose on a rock! A true outdoorsman, I mean outdoorspug.


Then we hopped in the car for the trip back home. Sid was passed out (half-way out of his travel bag no less) the whole ride home. Guess all that fresh air and hiking wore him out.


We had so much fun at Turkey Run we’re going to go again in the Spring!

Turkey Run Adventure (Part I)

As I mentioned a week or so ago, Sid’s 10th Birthday fell on a weekend and I wanted to do something special with him to celebrate this momentous milestone. I rented a car, popped Sid into his carrier, loaded up our gear into the trunk, and cranked up some tunes as we peeled out of our alley and hit the highway.



We set our course for Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. Even though he can’t read a map, Sid is still the best co-pilot ever.


My family has been coming to Turkey Run for many years, but this was Sid’s first time there. The Turkey Run Inn, where we usually stay, doesn’t allow dogs so we opted for a camping cabin at Up the Creek which is right up the road from the park. It was definitely on the rustic side but certainly a step up from a tent.


After we dropped off our gear at the cabin, we strolled over to the Inn to meet up with my parents who were joining us for the weekend.


Time to hit the trails! Turkey Run has the best trails (including the infamous “Trail 3”). The more rugged trails can get pretty challenging though they often end up being the most fun (or you end up soaked in water and lose a shoe in a mud pit – which has happened to us before!). Since this was Sid’s first time doing this sort of thing, we kept it simple the first day and began with one of the less-intense trails.


Even though the trail we were on wasn’t classified as “rugged”, there were still some challenging obstacles. Sid was very proud of himself for conquering this pile of boulders.


We took a little break near a small lake that looked especially mysterious due to the lighting and the cool moist air that made everything misty.


Sid was a little hiking machine! Look at him go!



We took another break at one of the covered bridges. There are tons of covered bridges all over the county and they have a festival every year devoted to all the covered bridges. Sid said he’d prefer a baby carrot festival.


And then some more hiking!


We ended our trek at the suspension bridge and Sid took a little dip in Sugar Creek to cool off (and to single-handedly ensure none of the pebbles beneath the water were treats in disguise).



After our hiking, we had some dinner back at the cabin and tried to start a fire in the firepit next to our cabin. Unfortunately my camping skills weren’t quite up to snuff and the campfire was a bust. Instead, we just chilled out in our cabin, listened to some music, and ate some snacks. Once it got really dark, we hit the hay to rest up for our next day!

To be continued in Part II

Rented Glass and Green Grass

About a week ago, I rented a nice camera lens for the weekend (for the photo buffs out there, it was a Canon 50mm 1.2L). This is a really nice lens that I cannot really justify buying outright, but luckily there is a camera shop called Dodd Camera just a bike-ride away from Pug Slope HQ. They have tons of equipment that can be rented out and have really good rates for the weekends.

I headed out to Winnemac Park with Sid to try out the new lens. Sid seemed exceptionally excited about this particular photo shoot – probably because I actually remembered to bring some treats with me this time.


In the early Spring, the park district does a controlled burn of the prairie areas of Winnemac Park so back in April of this year the area on the far side of the fence looked totally barren. To see what I mean check out this post from April. Over the summer, though, the plants quickly return and grow at incredible rates. Soon the whole prairie area is filled with lush green leaves and lovely flowers that last all through the summer.



The plants are all native species, so the local pollinators are very attracted to them. There are often lots of bees collecting pollen and even monarch butterflies fluttering by!


Sid didn’t want any bees accidentally landing on him so he trotted over to one of the more open areas of the park near the weeping willow trees.


After a little stroll through the field he laid down near the far end of the park and made sure I delivered with the treats. He was being very photogenic so I complied.


I’m definitely excited to try out some other lenses from Dodd. Maybe next time I’ll try a fish-eye lens so I can show you guys some LARGER THAN LIFE close-ups of Sid’s pug mug?! I wonder if he’d approve…


Our Park

On a typical day, Sid and I go for at least one of our walks through the beautiful park in our neighborhood: Winnemac Park. I thought I’d tell you a little more about it today.


Winnemac Park is exceptionally large for a neighborhood park. It’s filled with enormous weeping willow trees and large areas of native prairie plantings that are stuffed with bright flowers and tall grasses that sway in the breeze. Woodchip paths wind through the native planting areas and rustic wooden fences create a border around them.


Sid loves smelling all the plants and certain sections of the fence where other dogs have left him “messages”.


There are also a few baseball diamonds, a large playground, tennis courts, a large soccer field, and a stadium that is part of the adjacent high school.


Lots of families take their young kids to play in the park, and those of us without kids take our dogs there. It’s usually a very peaceful place, especially if we go there for our early morning walk.


If you ever come to visit Chicago, we highly recommend visiting Winnemac Park. Sid told me he’ll take you on a guided tour himself!


I’m Burnin’ For You

We were lucky to have some amazing weather this weekend which allowed Sid and I to go on multiple excursions throughout our neighborhood. Always wanting to be in style, Sid refused to leave the house until I accessorized him with his favorite bandana – the black one (of course).


As usual, Sid made a bee line for Winnemac Park which was packed with people and pups out basking in the sun. The park looked really different though because it just had its annual “controlled burn” of the prairie areas completed this week.


Although the areas within the rustic fences look desolate now, the burn kicks the plants into action and soon the native prairie plants and flowers will be sprouting up like crazy.


I think Sid was a little perturbed that someone burned all the dried-up plants he liked to sniff and pee on, but it’s difficult to explain the cycles of nature to a pug.

We continued strolling around the blocks that surround the park and Sid started perking up. We journeyed down a few blocks we’ve never been on before, so I think he was psyched to mark some new turf and check out some unfamiliar scenery.


The signs of Spring were all around us. We found tons of brightly colored crocuses popping up in people’s front yards.


Did anyone else get to go on any Spring adventures this past weekend? If so, Sid and I want to hear about it!

River Park RAMPAGE

Hi there my loyal ‘Slopers’! Sorry for taking so long to get this post up. I had all the photos ready to go but then my Dad got sick so I’ve been on call for nursing duties the last few days. The nursing just means lots of extra naps, even during the daytime! Can’t beat that, right?

Anyway, I probably built this up too much in my last post, but I did really go on an expedition this past weekend, though it might not have really been a RAMPAGE or THRILLING or TURBULENT.

My Dad and I started out on our usual after-dinner walk, but then we just kept on going! It was the first warm-ish day we’d had for many months so with a spring in our step, we strolled all the way to River Park. I know, it’s pretty much the most generic name for a park ever, but it actually is a really beautiful park the runs right along the Chicago River (which explains the name I guess).

As soon as we got there I noticed there were all these gigantic brown bean-pod things on the ground. I eat green beans from time to time so I thought they would taste the same but boy was I wrong. They were pretty disgusting, although I still tried to eat every single one I came across. I was hopeful there might be one that tasted as good as a green bean. No such luck.


Then we strolled around under the trees for a bit and took a few posed pictures. My Dad tricked me into thinking he had some baby carrots with him which is why he got me at the top of my posing game. I don’t know how I fell for that again – it’s definitely not the first time he’s pulled that move. Next time we do this I’ll be sure to make him stop by the fridge before we leave so I can WITNESS him actually putting the b.c.’s into his pockets.

Head on:




And full-body, with a three-quarter twist (one of my specialties):


We then trekked over to the river. There’s a fence that blocks direct access to the river so I wasn’t able to go for a dip, but it still was a pretty sight, especially since the sun had begun setting. I can’t wait to go back again (if the weather here ever decides to cooperate!).



Spring has Sprung! ACK! IMPORTANT UPDATE!

Well, after surviving the mildest East Coast Winter EVER (did we even get any snow?), today we celebrate the official arrival of Spring.

We implore all of you to follow Sid’s simple guidelines for a successful Spring Equinox Celebration: go outside for a nice, sunny walk in Prospect Park with your favorite treat-giving humans, and while you’re there, be sure to take some time to stop and eat smell the daffodils!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: SID DID NOT ACTUALLY EAT ANY DAFFODILS DURING THIS PHOTO SHOOT, AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU! After making what I thought was an innocent joke, I hopped over to our good friend Google to do some Googlin’, and apparently Daffodils are highly toxic for dogs.  Like, beyond toxic.  Lethal.  Especially the bulb but apparently a small nibble of any part of the plant could make you guys sick.  So, yeah, DO NOT EAT THE DAFFODILS!!!