My Dog Knows Where We’re Going

Do you follow a map, or just get out and walk the trails?

That was one of the questions at a live Twitter chat for outdoors enthusiasts that I sat in on last week. My answer:


Yeah, oddly, I can make far more sense of a map after I’ve walked the trails. Before that, they’re pretty much just meaningless squiggles on a page.

Some people are micro-planners. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, it would be kind of nice to know, when you walk out your front door, when on earth you’ll be home again.

But that’s definitely not me. I create rough, general, vague plans. That way there’s plenty of room for impromptu improvements. Otherwise, we could be missing out on all the greatest stuff, and never know it. Like one of the coolest photo ops I’ve had so far this spring:

Nature's Cantilever

Nature’s Cantilever

Trust me, the dead log hanging over the river wasn’t marked on the map.

Maybe that’s why Molly and I are such great hiking partners. If I was a micro-planner, I think we’d be at odds a lot. After all, have you ever met a dog who had her route planned from beginning to end before heading out the door? Nah, me neither. They just follow their nose. One interesting scent to the next.

I love that spirit of freedom she has when she’s out exploring. That “Oh, I wonder what’s over here?” It inspires me. I want to copy it. I let the landscape shape my route. And my dog. I trust they have things to show me I never would have discovered on my own.

2 thoughts on “My Dog Knows Where We’re Going

  1. Hi There. Thanks for following me on Twitter. Glad to discover someone else who loves adventuring with their pup 🙂

    I am not a microplanner but always have a solid plan when I go hiking…especially when my hubby is not with me. I want him to know where to look for me if I don’t come home 🙂 Chester and Gretel never have plan though except “forward, forward, forward”.

    • Thanks for reading! I was pretty excited to run across you on Twitter. Hiking with one’s dog is totally the best. I love that you take your Dachshunds!

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