On Friday we met Nadine at Flaming Geyser for field tracking. There's been a bit of rain lately and the fields have grown so much. The wild daisies where hip and waist high and the grasses higher still. Mostly the grass was chest high, but there were places where it was over my head. They should be mowing those fields any time now. The worst part was the way the thick daisies would grab and tangle your feet, so as tracklayer, you had to step high to smash them from the side. It was easier when we ran the track, since the cover had been "pre-smashed". The best part was we sure didn't need no stinkin' track markers.
Nadine laid great tracks for us. We experimented with a warm-up track for Gimme - one 50 yard leg. Then Nadine laid a humongous zig-zag of 6 legs. She mis-read the instruction email I sent and put 3 articles on each leg! The two green rectangles indicate hills, the first one up hill, and the second going down. Good news - because I wanted to make sure Gimme had a fun tracking experience, we ran it when it was only 30 minutes old. Bad news - even though the forecast was for 72 degrees at noon, when Gimme ran this track at 9:45 it was already 76 degrees. It was 80 degrees when we left at 12:30. Fortunately this super deep cover made it a scent freeway as all parts of the tracklayer was in contact with the cover as they pushed through it.
Gimme has a tendency to either do a saw-tooth to one side or cast back and forth on her first leg (depending on the breeze), so we decided to try a warm-up track. It worked well for her, so when we got on the main track she was really plowing down the track.
With the cover being so tall, much of the time I could just barely see her. When she'd take a turn, the line would just sweep the grass tops in a big wave, which is the only way I knew where she was. She never really circled at any corners and was right on them. She did circle at the directional flag and then came in close to me and passed between me and the flag, stepping over her own line to go down track again. This tied a perfect knot around the flag, so I had to stop her and untie it. At the third corner she overshot it by 10 feet, then turned and paralleled the leg for 20 feet, before self-correcting to get right on the track again. I think plowing her own road through this heavy cover made being right on the track the easier choice.
Another interesting thing was being able to actually see the game trails and bedding spots, so I could tell what Gimme was doing. She did investigate most of them, but always turned back to the track on her own, usually after no more than ten feet.
Gimme missed one article, a small cloth glove. It was interesting how the deep cover made the dogs really have to search for the articles. I could see Gimme looking for something, often as she was tromping on top of it while she searched. Nadine ran this track with two of her dogs, Skookum and Sugar. By then
it was already hotter and her dogs aren't big article lovers, so they
were less than enthused. Skookum is very obedient, so she found all but 2 articles (missing different ones). Sugar prefers tracking more than finding, so she ignored many of the articles - only stopping for the leather ones. I'd laid a TD-like track for Nadine in the other field, which she ran with Cricket. She did a nice job, partly because it hadn't gotten as hot yet.