As soon as I get home from work I change clothes and be stir my stepdaughter off the couch to lay us a track. “oh no… not a long track” she moans. “You’ll be fine. Exercise is good for you and Bea needs you” I offer helpfully. So off we go and she lays the track for me in the pattern I give her, she just has to count the steps and leave the articles. It’s 3 pm and 86 degrees F with BRIGHT sun and blue skies, along with a modest wind from the usual West/Northwest.
At 4:25 I head back and lay in the crosstrack. Yup a REAL TDX track today! It’s now 79 degrees and the wind in dropping too.
At 6 pm we are back at the start flag and ready to go. Bea is as excited as ever. On the “find it” she does her habit of late, grazing excitedly around the flag in a bigger and bigger ½ circle. Weird doggie. Finally she gets off and is doing not bad. This leg is on the flat part on the bottom of the mowed field about 25’ from the paved road and runs straight across the bottom. Bea has very little trouble, just a few stops and starts but nothing really bad. We get to a depression and she searches up and down it but continues on and then loses scent. She loops out and around right. Then out, out a bit more until she is at the end of the line. I take a couple steps and she loops back circles around me, crosses in front and then comes back and hits the left corner about 2 steps behind me.
This second leg is a LONG one and goes straight up a moderate incline, past a set of round hay bales and up and up. Bea has almost no issues, almost no stopping. She’s trucking along at a medium pace. She stops where Stacia stood a few minutes when she realized that she forgot to leave the wallet where I told her to but then heads right on up the leg. We head straight for another set of round bales and about maybe 70 feet from it we realize that there are deer in the field. WAY at the top. One actually just steps into the field and 2 in the bushes. (not enough zoom on the camera but you can see one -IF you look close- just to the right of the snowmobile trail opening). Bea NEVER even gives them the time of day. I keep watching Bea and the deer and when we cross a magic line of their limit we can get, they flag their tails, spin around and are gone. Bea just keeps on tracking and about 15 feet from the round bales she nails the left corner and finds the wallet (definitely NOT where I intended it to be but a good find none the less). It’s a great reward for a long leg.
We then cross the field somewhat diagonally and about ½ way along this leg Bea hits my cross track. She stops dead, sniffs it like ‘what the heck was Mom doing??” and then just tracks along her leg like it was so unimportant! A couple steps later she finds a small hay clump with coyote poop on it and pees on that but then picks up the track leg like nothing happened. The next corner is an open left and she scans about briefly but then gets right on this 4th leg
This leg goes straight down the incline and runs about 10 feet from the brush, tall grass and tree lined field edge. She does a bit of quartering back and forth in spots but overall still a good leg and fast. Almost to the end of the leg, all we can hear are Canada geese. LOTS of geese. The flocks are rising from the cut corn fields and heading to bed. As they do so we hear gunfire as a few hunters try to harvet their dinner. The next turn is an open right that crosses a farm road just below a gate. The geese are now almost deafening and Bea halts and looks up for a moment as a large flock pass right over us and the power lines to the abandoned farm house. Then Bea just gets back to work never giving them another look, even though the sound of geese and gunfire continues for rest of the track- though not so loud or frequent. Bea checks up and down the road edge, works out to the grassy middle of the road and hits my other cross track. She checks it a few feet either way and then goes to the other side of the road and checks up and down a few feet and then dives right through the deer trail, right on top of the track.
Leg 5 is a fairly short one and follows the deer trail through the tree and brush road edge and dumps into another mowed field. Bea breaks into the field and checks the grass, then comes back and checks the brush to confirm her exit track and then she seeks a bit for the exact track and finds it and shortly after finds the cloth glove! So happy is she. I send her off again and she gets back on the track and seems to have some trouble finding the corner. The grass changes from quite short to moderate height and more clover. She pulls out ahead, then comes back, circles around and always heads the same way. Almost like she both can and can’t smell the corner. Finally she lands on the leg and after a few feet she settles back in.
Leg 6 is the last leg and goes down a very slight incline and Bea is back to tracking slowly as she tires but look at that. What’s that? It’s the glove! Wahoo! The final picture while grainy, brings a flutter to my stomach and tears to my eyes. To me it says it all. A happy tail dog and a glove raised over my head. This is what is so hard to explain to people. When they ask “Why do you track? It’s so labor intensive and hard” Look at this picture and you have MY answer, Bea’s too!
This track was 828 yards long, 3 hours old and it was 69 degrees F (and dropping fast) when Bea started it. There was no wind or even any breeze.