March 28, 2014
Merced River Trail
Total Distance: 4 miles
It was mid-morning when I parked the car near the Merced River. The day before it had rained, but the weather was clear and sunny for our hike. Joining me were my sister-in-law, Maria; and my dog, Ginger.
Ginger, a six-year old pit bull mix, was eager to leave the car. It was her first hike. We were going to walk along the Merced River Trail. As we walked over the bridge, I noticed that Ginger’s paws were small enough to fit through some of the cracks between the boards.
We headed up the damp dirt path. When the trail narrowed, we realized that the three of us couldn’t walk together.
We let Ginger lead the way.
As we walked, we heard the never-ending sound of the river. Ginger frequently veered off to see it.
I kept a close watch on the trail and Ginger. About halfway into the hike, Maria noticed a runner coming towards us with a blued-eyed Australian shepherd. I dragged Ginger into the bushes and held her tightly with my arms wrapped around her. Maria stood nearby. The runner apologized and said he had forgotten to bring his dog’s leash, but was holding him securely by its collar. As they passed by, Ginger lunged and tried to get away, but I still had a firm hold of her. However, she began dragging me. I yelled out to Maria that I couldn’t stop her, so Maria grabbed hold of me and together the two of us contained her. It all happened so quickly. When the incident was over, Ginger settled down and we continued the walk.
Aside from the little scare with the dogs, the day was beautiful and the many varieties of wildflowers along the trail were pleasing to the eye.
Besides the colorful flowers, this granite wall had its own muted beauty.
When an hour had passed, we turned around and headed back.
Ginger was slowing down, so Maria took her and I led in hopes that she would walk quicker.
Before ending the hike, we came upon another dog on the trail, leashed this time. Ginger walked by as though nothing was there. I hope to take her out hiking again one day soon. Knowing that she has incredible brute strength, I won’t go alone.
During the hike, I thought about the night that Maria, her husband and I sang Amazing Grace by the fire. Walking this lush path with my friend, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing the river flow and having it refresh my soul, I knew that God had truly graced us!