Deer season (var: rifle) opened 2 weeks ago, half an hour before sunrise on Saturday the 10th. Because the woods behind our place are ample and amply populated with deer, they make for a popular hunting spot. And while most hunters are well-trained and conscientious, the thought of wandering out there with a sprightly dog (even blazed in fluorescent orange) is not terribly appealing. So for the 16 days of deer season, me and the dog have to go elsewhere to stretch our legs. It defeats the purpose, somewhat, to have to drive to take a walk, but it's just a part of the cycle of things. And there's a really cool place to go walking when our woods aren't an option (mud season is another time to avoid them).
Seven or eight miles south of here, the river that runs past our door (the West River) is choked in spectacular fashion by the Ball Mountain Dam, built and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. There's a mile and a half of road in to it from Route 30, also the work of the ACoE. Maintained to high standards for constant access to the dam – routinely paved, always plowed in winter – with convenient parking, very limited traffic, and otherwise pristine exposure to the elements, it's a pretty swell spot to take a walk. And popular because of it (especially when the woods are off limits).