Before you start reading, have you read our first part of the series? If not, check out the why part of our story here.
It’s all about the journey…
We were hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, our backs ached, and both of us had fallen to the ankle/knee snappers numerous times.
We were nearly there and exhausted as we were, there was a chance at a tasty looking shortcut to the car – saving us a good few hundred yards.
Instead of walking the long way following the path, we could cut up a short but particularly sharp grassy hill. There was some lively undergrowth near the top, but we’d be just about there…
Should we take it?
What could possibly go wrong?
This was one of my favourite moments from one of my favourite trips.
A friend and I travelled to the Galloway forest for a couple of days and hiked up into the hills to wild camp miles and miles from anyone.
During the Corona late summer, it was announced that people could meet in groups and go for walks and exercise. Everyone was excited to get out again and see friends.
Such a glorious break away but… the walk back was particularly tough.
There was no path apart from the half-mile or so around where we’d parked, near a lovely viewing point overlooking the surrounding hills and lochs.
Much of the rest of the walk was following muddy deer tracks – if we were lucky – but mostly it was just aiming here, then there, as we stumbled over the clumped grasses that we lovingly called ankle snappers.
It took some 5 hours to get within range of where the car was parked. A slow but steady march up and down hills, through mud, balancing on grass clumps and all with big packs on our backs.
And as I said, we were hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, our backs ached, and both of us had fallen to the ankle/knee snappers numerous times.
So a shortcut that lopped off as much as 400 meters was far too tempting to resist.
We took it.
It was tougher than it looked, almost hands and knees climbing.
Occasionally having to grab ferns for balance or leverage.
Getting towards the top, I could see the undergrowth wasn’t spiky, just overgrown.
My pal pushed through the ferny undergrowth and reached the top of the hill first.
I followed head down, breached the hill, head still down and used my final bit of energy to shout,
“YAYYY! WE MADE IT !!!”
Suddenly there was cheering and a loud round of applause!
I looked up.
There was an arc of people in groups grinning and clapping…
We’d shortcutted to the viewing point that was now full of clumps of people.
All of whom were hugely enjoying the sight – and sound – of two red-faced, middle-aged gentlemen with backpacks suddenly and very unexpectedly appearing out of deep undergrowth at the top of a hill…
The solemn spell of lockdown had been broken beautifully.
Take the Moment
When I think back now, I’ve actually got very few specific memories of the exhausting walking.
It’s the individual moments within the trip, as our victory finale, that I think back on as a kind of highlight reel of the overall journey in my head.
It was the healthy aspect for body and soul; the moments we took to appreciate where we’d just walked and where we were going, the times sat by the loch with brews in hand appreciating the early morning cool air against our faces, the only sound being the water lapping at the shore.
It was the relationship; the chatting, the laughing and the shared and bonding memories.
It was the happiness; seeing the milky way in the clear moonless sky, wild goats investigating our tent, singing 70s disco classics at the top of our voices for nobody to hear and popping out of the undergrowth to the cheers of strangers.
We all have our favourite breakaways, journeys and holidays.
Take a moment to think about one of your favourite breaks.
Have you got it?
Are you picturing it?
Who are you seeing?
Can you remember the smells and the sounds that accompanied those moments?
Because it’s one of your favourites, your memory probably isn’t staying on the same scene.
You can skip from scene to scene picturing those happy moments you’ve chosen to keep in your subconscious highlight reel.
To the Pet Parenting Journey!
It’s always the collection of moments you gather and curate that decide how fondly you remember the journey.
That’s what we’re hoping to do for you and for your dog on our pet parenting journey together…
To build a collection of lovely moments that together create a wonderful pet parenting journey that we can enjoy with our dogs, so they get their best lives possible and as we enjoy ours to the utmost.
The aim is to truly enjoy the pet parenting journey together rather than trying to achieve a goal – that mirage of being the best ever pet parent.
Because as my last blog post showed, you can think you’re doing well and then suddenly you realise x has actually been going y for quite some time (and we’ve all got our own x’s and y’s to shoulder).
We’ll certainly look at specific problems and consider what the experts say.
But we’ll also be checking out the different ways people have helped their dog, and themselves, have their best journeys.
If we can start ticking the boxes from within each of those three main categories and create moments to remember and enjoy…
Then those moments will come together to give us the most wonderful and ongoing highlight reel to enjoy as it’s made.