I suppose I have to start blogging more again - lots to say but I don't want this to go on forever. The Buckwheat Festival was ok this year, David was working so I went by myself and it is not as much fun when you do these things alone. But I saw all the 4-H cows, pigs, sheeps, etc - I bought Ramp wine and buckwheat flour and did a little early Leaf Peeping on the way home. I stopped at the farm stand on route 7 too, I have not been there in forever. Today Molly and I finally made it to Cooper's Rock - my goal for us over the past couple of months. She has been progressing every time we go out - and I change it up every time we go so she can get used to different situations. And she has done beautifully. Cooper's Rock is a huge state forest, not really a park. Very popular with hikers, bikers, campers and picnickers - there's tables, a play ground, an over look and trails, 88,000 acres in all. I brought my backpack and compass since this was really a practice run for both of us. There's a lot to transitioning a dog to being a good hiker - you're making your canine companion walk through a forest filled with animals while they're tied to a leash unable to escape if they feel threatened, bikes will come by whizzing and bumping on the trails, where people will suddenly appear in front of or behind them from nowhere, they can hear talking but cannot see anyone - she's expected to sit while we rest or eat and to come in in the pit toilets and structures. I make a point still to talk to anyone that stops and talks to us, letting them know she's being socialized - most people will stop and chat. A lot of people will want to know what she is, people that know what she is will want to stop and talk about that. During our trek we sat and talked to a young couple that was taking a break from rock climbing, he sat on the ground five feet away from Molly and although she wouldn't go over to him, she didn't try to run. She just sat quietly and watched us talking. She may never get to the point she'll let someone touch her - I'd like her just to be able to not be afraid and enjoy the whole shebang. We also stopped and talked to a couple of women with small dogs on leashes - she was afraid but not terrified. Most of the walk her tail was up and this time she relaxed to the point she was exploring off the trail, snuffling down holes and peeking in little caves in the rocks. My compass after a year of being stored worked fine. David and I had to switch out for new batteries and thank goodness I kept the instructions! but it worked perfectly. I got a new backpack and had to adjust what went where a few times - we were only in the park for a couple of hours but after about 15 minutes I discovered my metal thermos swung too much to hang off the side, I couldn't reach my camera and the compass needed to hang on the side straps and not the back. I think we hiked for about an hour and a half, the rest of the time we did a few slow turns around the main part so Molly can just look and see for herself there's nothing to be afraid of. I'm glad she's finally turned the proverbial corner and is now looking forward to our walks. Today when I got her harness out she really knew what we were doing today - she ran in and bounced off David a couple of times tail wagging madly, then raced out to the kitchen barely able to contain herself. Life is good, isn't it?