As per our usual Sunday routine, Roxy, Cash, Jer and I set out to find a new trail to explore on our weekly hike. This time we left our city and traveled 30 minutes away to Fort Langley, a tiny little township filled with historical sites and some pretty cool trails. We decided to try the Houston gravel trail in Derby Reach park, the signage stated that this 4km loop would take 1 hour. It took us 2+. And so begins the story of our stint in what I call the Labyrinth of Danger.

Despite the "Be Bear Aware" warning signs posted all over the opening of the trail, Jer insisted on letting the dogs off-leash. Generally I love having the dogs run loose on our hikes since watching them explore is part of the fun, however we’ve had a bear run-in in the past, and I was really darn happy to have control over the dogs while we passed our wild comrade, so not having total control made me nervous.

The forest that the trail ran through was absolutely gorgeous, it resembled something out of Jurassic Park!

Our hike started our great, the dogs sniffed out all the wonderfully strange smells while we appreciated the lovely surroundings. Despite being visually impaired, Roxy does really well off-leash and stays relatively close to us. It helped that I had a giant walking stick that made a lot of noise everytime it hit the gravel trail, giving Roxy a general idea of where I was. Plus, Cash never strays too far ahead and always keeps a close eye on Roxy and I while we lag behind.

After about 40 minutes, we came to a fork in the trail where it split into three seperate roads. The one to the right was a definite no as it went in the complete opposite direction of where we were headed. So that just left the other two, one straigh ahead and one to the left. I know what you’re thinking, choose the one straight ahead. But wait! The one to the left was covered in beautiful red leaves, making it easier on Roxy’s tired and delicate paws. Plus, it looked as though it would connect with the other one. So we veered to the left.

This leg of the trail was beautiful, and Roxy certainly appreciated the softer ground! There were even a few puddles for the two of them to splash and play in, perfect choice, right? Wrong.

After about 20 minutes on this trail, we came to a bluff. Crap. We had chosen the wrong one. Cash just looked at us with this expression that said, "I told you so, dummies".

So we had to turn around. At this point we’d been in the trail for well over an hour, and it was starting to get dark and windy. Roxy and I were getting nervous.

Jer pulled out his GPS to ensure we didn’t get turned around. We were on the right track, but had a ways to go. This proved to be too much for Roxy, so she gave up and demanded that Jer carry her the rest of the way. This daddy’s girl always gets her way.

At about the 2 hour mark we were getting discouraged, but Cash’s knowing gait inspired us to carry on. Eventually, the trees began to lighten and a clearing could be seen up ahead, we were almost there!

And so we made it safely back to the car, all in once piece and without having to use my giant walking stick as a bear deterrent. Good thing we had our brave dogs there to guide us out of the Labyrinth of Danger and back to the warmth of our car, which just so happened to be where I left their bag of treats.