There seems to be an unspoken philosophy in our lives, and it aligns with the creatures who share our living space, and our farm:   Adventure is where you find it.  If you don’t look, you don’t know what you’re missing.  If you look, well, sometimes there is a reason behind that the old saying about curiosity and the cat, and sometimes, you are rewarded for your effort.  It is up to Shroedinger – you won’t know until you look.  Sometimes you get both reward and penalty in one stroke.

Well, that’s part of the fun in life.

This weekend, our outing to the lake dwindled from three parties to one, but even one can be a party, when that party includes Newfs and water!

With items packed for water play (minus the missing bumpers), dogs included, even the Boston Terrier whose idea of swimming is dog-paddling about 3 feet in 8″ of water, we drove into the sunrise.  Our first choice was less dog-friendly than on another visit, so we moved on to the river below.  There was a fun-sounding stopping point named the Romp Hole, but the sign that directed us from the paved road was the only sign between the road and the river, with several paths and intersections of gravel road to choose from.  The land had a similar character to the area where we camp in the fall, with hills, trees and long, narrow, winding gravel roads.

We found an access point to the river, but it was down a sandy slope, and there was a very nice, broad gravel beach on the other side.  So, we continued a little further down the road until one of us decided that it was time to stop and ask a local person for directions.  (Sometimes that is me.  <g>)  We found a guy moving gravel with a tractor, doing some voluntary road repair, and he seemed willing to take a short break in the heat and visit with us.  (This is where a GPS can take the fun out of travel.)  We visited about relatives that he had in our home area, talked about horses and riding, talked about the weather and got directions to a couple of places to try.

Rivers can be better than lakes, when the water is clear and the river bottom is gravel, and when there is a good access point and not too much current.  So, we made our way back, stopping at the first point of suggestion, the official “Romp Hole”.  The storms had washed out the roads and river banks, and this location had just reopened the previous week.  The access was good for Newfs, and the river had a gravel bottom, but there was a lot of silt, possibly from the storms and flooding in the spring.  We drove down to the concrete ramp, then turned around to find a parking place.  As the van moved to one side of the road, the tire sank in the sand, and the van became a motionless 5-ton object.  I wondered whether we could describe our location to a tow-truck driver while Greg walked toward the sound of a chainsaw.  Driving a small Ford Ranger pickup, a nice guy from Wisconsin helped us get back onto the road.

We parked and let the dogs swim for a while, then went on to check another access point.  The second location was very pretty, with a wide, long, clean gravel beach and clear water – the same beach that had the sandy slope when accessed from the other side.  By then, it was too hot to take the Newfs onto the gravel for that distance, but it will be a good option for another swim trip when the weather is cooler.

After our explorations, we were far enough from our original route that we stopped to plan a different route back, and we left by way of the Eagle Rock access point for Tablerock.  That looked like another good location for Newfs, with a nice campground for the trailer.  We continued to Roaring River State Park.  Now I can see why this area regularly inspires photo entries at the fair.  It is a fast-rushing small river in a beautiful setting.  It’s a lot like the creek at our family farm where the Newfs enjoy their swims in the spring, complete with the sound of gushing water.  It is a very popular site for trout fishing, but there is an area that would be good for Newf swims if you can catch a day and time when it isn’t as busy.

I wonder what the explorations of Lewis & Clark would have been like if they didn’t have a Newf.

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