Ginger’s First Hike

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.

View from the car.  The trail is over the bridge.
View from the car. The trailhead is over the bridge.

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.

Maria, looking through the cracks down to the water.
Maria, looking through the cracks down to the water.

We headed up the damp dirt path.  When the trail narrowed, we realized that the three of us couldn’t walk together.

The narrow trail.
The narrow trail.

We let Ginger lead the way.

Ginger, on the trail.
Ginger, on the trail.

As we walked, we heard the never-ending sound of the river.  Ginger frequently veered off to see it.

The Merced River.
The Merced River.

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.

Looking down at the water.
Who would have thought that this little dog could drag a human?

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.

Dichelostemma capitatum, commonly known as bluedick.
Dichelostemma capitatum, commonly known as bluedick.
Redbud bushes in bloom.
Redbud tree in bloom.
A redbud flower from the bush.
Redbud flowers from the tree.
These were growing out of a granite wall.
These appeared to be growing out of a granite wall.  Large-flowered Phacelia
The California poppies were little, and most of the were still closed.
The California poppies were little, and most of them were still closed.
Golden Brodiaea
Pretty face

Besides the colorful flowers, this granite wall had its own muted beauty.

My favorite granite wall.
My favorite granite wall along the trail.

When an hour had passed, we turned around and headed back.

Heading back.
Heading back.

Ginger was slowing down, so Maria took her and I led in hopes that she would walk quicker.

Ginger and Maria
Ginger and Maria

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.


Maria and Ginger
Maria and Ginger

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!

10 thoughts on “Ginger’s First Hike

  1. I guess I should have read this blog before commenting on the Family Blog. 🙂 Sounds like Ginger had a great time. I didn’t realize that dogs were allowed on the trails.


  2. What a beautiful trail and what good companions! You inspired me to go out there this afternoon – solo for me though. Thanks for identifying those large-flowered phacelia, I never would’ve guessed that’s what those were!


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