Encouragement and pride in a cold, devilish spot

I guess Milo and I have a â??Saturday of Memorial Day weekendâ?? tradition. Without really planning it out that way, the two of us went to the Devilâ??s Icebox in Rock Bridge State Park this past Saturday. We did the same thing last Memorial Day weekend, too. But wow, what a difference a year can make! Our adventures were vastly different. Unlike last year, this yearâ??s ended with me having an overwhelming sense of pride in my puppy.

Our trip started out the same as last yearâ??s. A nice stroll on the boardwalk path. A stop to sniff here. A stop to sniff there. After about 15 minutes we made it to the platform overlooking a sinkhole. This is where I knew things were about to get iffy. Itâ??s also where things get cooler. Just standing on the platform above the cave, you can feel the chilly air rising up, like an invitation to come down, as if you really need one on a 95-degree day.

The descent to the cave isnâ??t an easy one. There are very steep steps leading you down. I was fine, but I can see how it would be an issue for Milo. You know the saying â??two steps forward, one step backâ???â?¦ thatâ??s exactly how we made our way down.

Encouragement was the word of the day. Lots of â??Youâ??re doing so good!â?? â??Thatâ??s such a good puppy!â?? â??Aww, look at you, Milo!â?? I felt a little funny talking to the dog so much, but whatever! He needed to hear my encouraging voice and words!

We finally made it down to the platform leading into the cave. Thatâ??s as far as we got last year, but I wanted to see if I could push Milo to go a little further this time around. He was a little reluctant at first, but once it was his idea to go in the cave all was well!

Wow, I was so, so proud of him!


As Iâ??ve mentioned in many previous posts, Milo is not a fan of water. But here he was in a dark, unfamiliar place, tromping around in the caveâ??s shallow stream. Not only did I get him to go into the cave, I got him to walk all around inside (without me having to drag or pull on him). This truly is a huge feat for him. I even texted Jason (aka, Miloâ??s â??daddyâ??) as soon as I could to let him know how brave his puppy was.

A family with some young kids started to make their way in, so I figured it was time for us to head out. I didnâ??t want their echoing screams and loud splashes to scar him from ever wanting to do anything like this again.

As soon as we made our way out, Milo was done and made a beeline for the stairs. While that part of our adventure was over, Milo wasnâ??t finished impressing me just yet.

We made our way back near the entrance of the Devilâ??s Icebox trail near another section of the stream that flows under a natural rock bridge... the reason behind the park's name. This one is just off the main boardwalk trail. It was the site of a true puppy tantrum last yearâ?¦

I climbed between the wood beams of the railing to get onto the dirt path, but Milo wasnâ??t having it. That feeling moms must get when their child is pulling the wet-noodle-I-wonâ??t-stand-Iâ??d-rather-cry-hysterically-on-the-floor actâ?¦ I was right there with them. So embarrassing!

This year, Milo was trying to climb onto the path before I was. What a relief!

The stream leads into the rock bridge and at the end is a small waterfall, if you really can call it that. Itâ??s about 2 feet tall. My goal was to get us to that tiny waterfall!

Hereâ??s where those encouraging words came into play again. After some careful maneuvering and those loving words, Milo and I made it there! A very nice man with his young son took a picture of us to prove itâ?¦

I was ecstatic and so very, very proud of Milo. In this one trip, he made it past two obstacles he wanted nothing to do with last year. Our little puppy surely is growing and maturing!

Devilâ??s Icebox is such a neat place to visit, with or without a dog! The path is very secure and easy to use and follow. There are some steps though. We saw families with 3 generations enjoying the trail and cave together. Milo and I also noticed several others with their dogs.

Itâ??s an easy to travel trail with lots of beautiful and unique spots to experience. Definitely a must-see in mid-Missouri! Just be prepared to get your feet, or paws, a little wet...

(Check out all the pictures from our Devil's Icebox adventures this year and last year here)

Stay tuned for more!

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