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New Year’s hike

Happy New Year, everybody! I’m Oscar and I’m a very experienced runner and coach, and this is my fourth year doing the challenge. I’m also a dog, so I have a service human called Mom who does things for me like driving, typing, paying for things, and getting cheese out of the fridge. Right now Mom is broken, so we’re walking and hiking our miles until she can run again.


As I’m sure you can tell, I’m a stud muffin, so one of Mom’s favorite things to do on our hikes is to take my picture. But the woods we hiked in to get up the mountain were the kind of beauty that you need to move through and feel in your muscles, and the camera can’t see that. So when we got to the top, Mom was dying to snap a few photos. “What, is this it?” I asked when we got to the little paved clearing at the top. “There’s nothing up here but… what are those? Drying racks? Rakes? Torches?” “I think they’re radio antennae.” “And the igloo?” “Beats me. Probably some kind of public works station. This explains why I never knew that this mountain had a third peak. Why would anyone but the radio repair guy come up here?” But all was not lost. There was an even better, higher peak just about a mile away. It was the exact steepness and cone shape as the poop emoji, and had an observation tower sitting at the top, so we knew it had to be good. (Also, we’d been there before.)

We started walking down the trail, and then suddenly Mom held her phone out in front of her and walked right into the brush. “Where are you going?” I asked. “Do you need to go potty?” “The trail is this way!” she said. Then she squawked and almost fell on her butt. Mom has this really bad habit of walking only on her hind legs, so when she hikes down steep trails covered in loose rocks, leaves and acorns, she has a lot of trouble. If you’re new to running, take it from an experienced coach and learn to run on all 4 of your paws. It’ll take some adjustment, but you’ll thank me some day. Even though service humans are supposed to stay on leash everywhere on this mountain, Mom dropped the leash so that I wouldn’t make her fall by pulling her with my sleek muscles and superior speed. Because Mom never learned to run sensibly, it took us for-ev-ver to get down that short little trail 1/3 mi trail just because it descended 800ft.

Once we finally got down off the peak, it was just a short walk to the base of the poop cone where we had to climb another trail that was just as steep as the one we’d just come down. This trail was the tightest woods we’d hiked in so far today. It was so close that the bushes were petting me as I walked through them. This time Mom took the leash off of me completely so that it wouldn’t get stuck on one of those reaching branches and hung it around her own neck instead. Finally I came out of the woods and stood to wait for Mom, who was crashing like Big Foot through the brush behind me. “Hi, doggie!” said a man who was standing on the trail. “Mom, mom! Come here and look! Quick! There’s a man dressed like Smokey the Bear!” Then Mom came clattering out of the bushes. If she were a cartoon character, she would have had twigs in her hair, hashtags on her cheeks and forehead, and her tongue hanging out. But in real life she just looked like a lost person. “Um, hi,” she said, pulling the leash off of her own neck and hooking it to my collar real quick. “I…” [gasp] “…uh…” [sputter] “…I had him on leash but it got a little…” [wheeze] “…overwhelming in there and I had to…” “I can see why,” interrupted Smokey the Man. “That’s why we don’t recommend that people use that trail. You know… since it hasn’t been maintained for years and everything…” “Yeah, well… I see that now. And that explains why it was so hard to find at the junction back there…” “You know what I’m about to say to you?” “Yeah, I’m sorry… I just…” “Happy New Year,” he said, and started hiking away. “Wait up!” I said, running up next to him and matching his pace so that we could keep talking, now that we were friends. “I’m Oscar and I’m a very experienced hiker and blogger, who are you? Are you a fan? Want to be my Friend?” “Thanks for not busting me back there,” Mom said after awhile. “Yeah, well, I took in the totality of the situation…” he said. When he had gone I asked Mom, “What does ‘totality of the situation’ mean?” “It means that it’s always a good idea to pretend that you’re dumber and weaker than you are around someone who thinks they’re in charge.”




Oscar the Pooch


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