Yesterday we had a plan to head from Fresno, California, up to Shaver lake. We had researched all dog friendly places, especially “off-leash” on an awesome website called “ www.naturedogs.com ”. We did not anticipate that, at 4000 feet above sea level there would be weather warnings. It was very clear on the road up, and the lake was absolutely beautiful, the shores covered in sand and large rocks that were lightly dusted with snow in the shaded areas.
The dogs had an absolute blast, Bali practising her agility, bouncing from rock too rock like an agile lemur of some sort. Rubix panting and hovering around the bottom, anxiously awaiting her descent. The water was so clear you could see the bottom all the way out, the pups were diving face first after their ball, sometimes building each other up on who was going to retrieve it when it bounced into the lake.
That pretty much cancelled our further plan of heading to Hume lake which was sitting at about 7000 feet above sea level, so we took their advice and headed down, with plans to stay at a cheap RV park just south of Visalia.
We pretty much found ourselves in a low end trailer park, with long term residents and warning signs that the water causes bodily harm and birth defects, but hey, there was a pool! We did a quick load of laundry and decided to take our chances and have a shower, then were out of there by about 630 am the next morning.
We decided to head south to warmer weather and maybe some desert hikes. Did a little research as usual and found a place called “Red Rock Canyon State Park“ It looked stunning with massive cathedral like rock formations and it was only about an hour and a half away. Our 6:30 am wake up got us here at about 10:30 after gas, breakfast and the very important starbucks hunt, all the usual morning rituals. The reviews were right, it was absolutely breathtaking, the grandness of it all was so humbling, and the websites were right, it was dog friendly!
We chose to drive up Iron canyon and do the “Nightmare Gulch” trail, because well… one man’s nightmare is another man’s dream! It was the just the coolest, the paths made of sand and colourful rocks made it a bit tricky to walk on, but the views were perfect, the clay columns just towering over us. The dogs had a blast, did the usual tourist thing, took lots of photos and wandered around aimlessly, then about 2:30, we started to wonder if we knew where we were. We had been walking at that point for about 3 hours and had kind of gotten to a crossroads. We got to the highest peak and decided to have a look around, and after still not being able to see the van, the thought it was best just to go back the way we came. Seemed a bit safer than the unknown, seeing as how the sun would be setting soon, and we had seen a fairly large turantula on our walk. By this time Rubix was struggling. He was lagging behind quite a bit but was doing amazing for a 6.5 year old English bulldog.