What a beautiful spring day! I loved this hike and will go back in the next couple of weeks. The Appalachian Trail is waking up and looking so good.

The hike up to Wildcat Mountain was super easy—just right for Wessy’s intoduction to the AT. Along the way, she met several hikers heading north with dreams and aspirations of making it to Maine and Mt. Katahdin—the end of the AT!

I have read that this section of the trail is some of the prettiest in Georgia. South of here is Springer Mountain (where the AT officially begins, Blood Mountain, and Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap. All reference points for those who have hiked this trail. We were at Hogpen Gap on this day.

The view over north Georgia’s mountains is beautiful and following the Richard B. Russell Highway to get here reminded me of being on the Blue Ridge Parkway (some).

At one point, I looked down at Wessy and asked if she liked doing this, and I swear her face was glowing. For the first time, I saw a dog smile. I knew the answer was YES!

Notice the green grass behind us. This is so typical of the AT in the Spring. I have to admit that I love hiking the trail when everything is beginning to bloom. It’s in great shape.

We sat on a rocky outcropping for a while just taking in the view, drinking water, and eating treats. Yes, the wonderful spring wind was blowing through our hair and ears! Here, everyone speaks, laughs through the pain, and basks for a moment in the joy of the journey.

I think I’ll work a little more on this photo and then get it printed: Me and Wessy beside an AT white blaze.

We talked with several people; and of course the chatter was all about the trail and hiking. One woman exclaimed, “A Spaniel! I love a Spaniel!”

Wessy immediately melted in her arms. We checked on another guy, who was having a very rough time. Wessy went up to him and helped him stand up. Well . . . she encouraged him to get up and back on the trail.

As he hobbled off, she looked up at me as if to say, “Mommy, I don’t think he is going to make it through Georgia.” Maybe not, but as one friend said, “At least he is out here trying.”

Pat and Wessy on the trail on the way up to the top and the ridge line that runs to Wildcat. We had problems for the first half of the hike. Wessy just didn’t know how to hike without pulling. After all she is not quite 5 months old.

On the way back down, I began to tell her to heel—something we have been practicing for our training at Dog School 101. To my total surprise, she began to heel. She also caught on to me using the words “slow and easy.” I know these dogs are smart, but I did not realize just how smart she is.

One book I’m reading said that you can tell them to do something a couple of times, and after that they get it! I can’t say that is the total truth with Wessy. She’s still so young. But I will say that this Boykin dog is plenty smart and strong enough for me. In time, she’s going to get me where I need to go, especially as I get older.

And while there will never be another Cocoa Joy, Wessy Joy is close enough. She even shakes with her right paw just like Cocoa did! Amazing!

Wessy sits, waits, and watches for me to tell her what to do next. Then she does it all and after that—it is puppy chaos time and the wildness comes out! It’s all about growing up Wessy.

She loves books. (She tears them up!) Loves her dog toys. Loves to walk and run and play and loves to be close. She’s all Boykin Spaniel! I love this little brown dog, and I can’t wait to take her up to Max Patch this summer when the wild flowers are blooming! (Smile)