Kyle's first puppy home was in Colorado. Thus, while we both ended up in Utah, the "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign sure brought a huge smile to my face. Kyle was asleep, but we stopped a bit down the road so that we could both enjoy a break on Colorado soil.
(Kyle in a great down-stay near the top of Monarch Pass.)
The first stop on our trip was my hometown where my best friend from high school, Sarah, and her dog, Sam, live.
When we got to Sarah's house, she surprised me with an early birthday celebration. This was Kyle's first opportunity to watch someone open gifts. He got excited about the process and decided to help me.
(Kyle was really interested in seeing what was in my box. He was disappointed to find out that there weren't any puppy toys. However, I loved all of my gifts!)
Both Sarah and I were fairly nervous about how Sam and Kyle would get along. They have such different sizes, temperaments, and ages that we could have had problems. However, all our worries were for naught. They got along just fine.
(Sam, a 5-year-old Scottie, relaxed on the couch while Kyle sat next to him on the floor.)
Kyle and I spent our first full day in Colorado playing in my hometown. Kyle's favorite spot was Sarah's parents' backyard. He and Sam had a blast running around. The yard is huge, so it was a great place to practice off leash recalls.
(Kyle was "in the doghouse" for part of the time while we played in the back yard.)
The main purpose of our trip to Colorado was four days of camping in Marble. That meant Sarah and I loaded up both dogs and drove for five hours. Kyle started out on the floor and Sam had the back seat, but they both ended up sharing the seat in the end.
(Kyle and Sam curled up together on the seat.)
About halfway through the drive, we stopped at Independence Pass on the Continental Divide. The pictures show just how breathtaking this spot of earth is.
(Kyle and I in front of mountains in the distance. Kyle may be getting heavy, but I still can pick him up like a baby.)
When we sat down for a rest on a bench, we ended up meeting a puppy sitter from a Colorado club. I was suprised that she recognized Kyle as a dog in training since he wasn't wearing his puppy jacket. Sarah pointed out that I was wearing a "Born to Lead" tee-shirt. Silly me!
We had a great visit about Kyle, and the puppy sitter offered to take our picture. However, after being stuck in a car for the second day in a week, Kyle was a bit of a goof ball.Sam definitely put on a better show of his obedience training at that point.
(Kyle tried to squirm every-which-way in my arms while Sam sat calmly in Sarah's lap.)
A few minutes later, we headed down the trail and Kyle decided to sit wonderfully for a picture in front of the Independence Pass sign. I guess he just needed to get his wiggles out. Truth be told, I did too.
(Kyle sat like a human in my lap with his front paws hanging over my arm. The silly boy enjoys sitting like this whenever I let him.)
Kyle and I also had to get a picture with Sarah and Sam. If you look at our feet, Sarah and I are sitting in the exact same pose. That makes me laugh.
(Our group of four in front of the sign and a pond. I love the little ponds that dot this area.)
After we got to our campsite and pitched our tents, we headed to an old marble quarry to see the antiquated equipment. I was amazed by the shear quantity of marble. The marble used in the Lincoln Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier came from this area.
(Kyle and Sam posed on a marble table that reminded me of Aslan's table in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.)
On another day of our camping trip, we headed to some natural hot springs. At first Kyle was really hesitant of getting in the water. However, after he saw Sam playing, Kyle decided that the water wasn't that bad. He especially liked trying to catch the water we squirted up with our hands.
(Kyle and Sarah sitting in a hot spring with the river in the background.)
(At one point I enjoyed a hot spring while Kyle dried out on the beach behind us.)
Usually our camping trips include a lot of hiking. Sarah and I have been known to hike two trails a day for a few days in a row. However, this year my broken foot limited our hiking abilities, so we stayed to flat trails and the main streets of tiny towns. Kyle and Sam loved all of the walking and stayed alert and active all day. At night, the two of them crashed in the tent. I loved having Kyle right next to me as we slept. He is my cuddle bug after all.
By the last full day of camping, Kyle finally got tired enough to take a nap. After a long walk, he crashed under a tree. Since he previously spent his time trying to eat the pine needles and twigs under the tree, this was major progress.
(Kyle is collapsed on his side in the shade of a giant pine tree.)
While we loved camping, it was nice to get back to Sarah's house. On our last day in town, Kyle and I visited the church were I grew up. That, more than anything else on the trip, felt like coming home. The congregation was full of people who shaped the person I am today. I loved giving them hugs and catching up on our years apart. I wish I could still see them every Sunday.
Since I come from a large family with several sisters who look alike, some people in the congregation questioned which sister I was when they spotted me in the pew. However, they saw Kyle and figured out that I was Amanda before having to ask. After all, they remembered me with Turk and Mesa in times past. Kyle was a saint (insert cheesy laugh here) at church and won over the hearts of all of my friends. He sure can be a charmer!
Kyle and I love Utah, but Colorado also has a piece of my heart. I know that Kyle loved going to his home state as well. I don't know if Kyle will make it back again before his recall next spring, but I look forward to many more adventures showing puppies-in-training where Turk, Mesa, and I grew up.