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      Hiking in Capen with a little help

      A couple weeks ago, Milo and I went on a unique adventure. It didnâ??t really have to do with where we went, but who came with us. For the first time, Miloâ??s â??daddyâ??, Jason, came along, and boy am I glad he did!

      Because Jason had some studying to do, we stayed close to home and went to Capen Park. I had never been there, but Jason had so he knew his way around.

      As soon as you get out of your car in the parking lot off Rock Quarry Road, there are a few ways you can go. Right will take you to a long trail with plenty of off-shoots and an off-leash areaâ?| straight will take you down a trail leading to a small creekâ?| left takes you up the bluffs, and thatâ??s where we started!

      Jason had Milo and I had my camera. Milo is technically Jasonâ??s dog, and whenever weâ??re in public Jason makes sure he takes the reins. I think itâ??s kinda funny and cute. He wants people to know Milo is his puppy. This time I was especially grateful for him handling Milo.

      I am no experienced climber or hiker so I definitely didnâ??t need a dog to distract me from putting one foot safely in front of the other. Jason on the other hand is good at hikingâ?| and it turned out Milo wasnâ??t too bad himself! Jason was trying to slowly climb the rocks to keep Milo safe, but the pooch wouldnâ??t let him. Milo practically was running up the rocky trail. He could sniff, and probably hear, people up above and that was enough motivation for him to want to move fast!

      Slightly winded (me, not the boys) we stopped at this great look-out point. The rocks are nice and flat, and there is a big clearing in the treesâ?| perfect for the great view of some bluffs on the outskirts of Columbia. Itâ??s beautiful, peaceful, and quiet. Just perfect.

      Down below is the creek you can hike down to, but if youâ??re an avid rock climber you can skip the hike and go straight down. There are hooks imbedded in the rocks so you can tie yourself up and go over the edge, right down to the creek. Jason has done some rock climbing in Capen before. He is a much braver person than Iâ??ll ever be!

      Because it is such a steep drop-off I was a little worried about Milo. Heâ??s not the most graceful animal. However, he did really well when checking out the edge. We wouldnâ??t let him get too close, but he was more daring than I thought he would be.

      I made sure to snap a quick picture of us at the lookoutâ?|

      â?| then we continued on with our adventure. We went up the trail just a little bit more, but there was a group of people further up, so we decided to head back down and check out the creek.

      I tell ya, heading down a dirt and rock trail is almost has tough as going up. While I felt I was moving at a snailâ??s pace, Milo was nimbly pouncing from rock to rock, quickly making his way back to the start.

      (Please excuse the camerawoman and her extremely shaky video, she was concentrating on not fallingâ?|)

      ProducerDori We made our way back to the start then decided to head down to the creek. This walk was a little trickier, especially right as you make your way off the trail and onto the creek bed. As I slowly made my way down the rocks, it hit me (like a ton of rocks?) how thankful I was for having Jason there with me to handle Milo. At that moment as I took the final steps down onto the creek bed I tried to think how long it would have taken me to maneuver Milo down there by myself. It would have been roughâ?|

      Anyway, Jason and I thought the trip down there was worth it, but Iâ??m pretty sure Milo thought otherwise. No matter how shallow the water, Milo hates it. That was the case in the creek as well. I got my feet on solid-enough ground just in time to capture video of yet-another Milo water freak out. (You can see others here, here, and here.)

      So, Milo let me down with the whole water thing, but then he was quick to impress me by jumping at least 3 feet onto this rock...

      It took me a moment to compose myself, get the right footing, and then push myself up there. Not for Milo. He just hopped right up like it was nothing.

      So by this point we had a decent adventure. Maybe 30-45 minutes, but it was far from over. We already went left, then straight, now it was time to go right.

      I could go on and on about this direction we took, mostly because we wandered around on the trails for about an hour. It felt like forever. It was muggy, the clouds were about to burst with rain, and here we were walking around in the woods. On the plus side, Milo had a grand ole time sniffing everything!

      Another good thing about the trail/wooded area of Capen: there is a huge leash-free zone. If only we could trust Milo to not run away from us and never come back! We saw several other people with their dogs roaming free. Maybe one day weâ??ll be able to do the same with Miloâ?|

      Capen Park was a place Iâ??ve been wanting to go to for so long, mostly because itâ??s so close to home, but also because of its diversity and vantage points. I was so glad we finally went!

      (Check out all our pictures from the Capen adventure here)

      It was a lot of fun, but a bit challenging to the novice hiker. So just keep that in mind if you want to take your canine!

      Stay tuned for more!

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