My trainer worked on a few "tricks" to help Shyla with the specific issue of passing people on a narrow trail and then encouraged me to give it a try. Our plan was that I would turn around if the challenge ever seemed to overwhelm Shyla too much.
It was a tough but very fun day, on the exact same trails as Shyla and I hiked last week to celebrate her Gotcha Day. Three years ago, whenever I could, I moved Shyla off to the side of the trail with a good buffer zone to let other hikers pass. But, sometimes the mountainside was too steep for that, and Shyla and I had to fumble along as I tried to help her avoid a "total meltdown" as people passed very close by us.
Three years ago, the most memorable part (aside from the fun we had at the top with no one else around) happened about where Shyla is standing in the second photo. Two hikers were both using hiking poles, and they were hiking downhill as if they were in a race. They didn't seem to register that we existed or that I really needed them to pause so I could get Shyla ready for them to pass.
As they almost ran directly at us, Shyla freaked out and pulled me downhill off the trail because she was so afraid of their fast-moving hiking poles. We ended up perched about 10 yards below the trail on the crumbling rocky mountain, where I finally got Shyla to stop her downhill escape. After the hikers were out of sight, I crawled back up to the trail with Shyla in tow.
We did make it to the top, and I took a photo of 9 month old Shyla looking confident!!!!
Her Gotcha Day hike this year was SO different. She now wants to meet almost everyone. Shyla is so gentle with people that one hiker admitted to me that she's generally afraid of dogs, but she wanted to meet my sweet little chocolate dog. As I watched Shyla gently interact with her and other hikers, I shocked myself by wondering if Shyla might be capable of being a therapy dog someday. She still has some fears to conquer before we can consider that possibility but she has the sweet love of people that is needed.
Enough of the retrospective... Needless to say, we had an amazing time up high in the mountains last week, celebrating three years together!
Near the top, there's a cirque with an alpine lake in it. Of course, swimming was on the agenda! It's a snowfed lake, as you can see from looking at the far shore where a snow field was melting into the lake. It's very cold but Shyla loves it.
The ground between the boulders is a soft and spongy tundra. In summer, it's green with mostly yellow flowers sprinkled throughout it. As you can see, the tundra turns gold and red in autumn. In fact, the first snow up in our high mountains will probably fall soon.