The best part about spending the summer in Southern California is the early morning walks on a deserted Windansea Beach with my dog. Carmelo and I have settled into a daily routine that we both enjoy immensely. You may have heard that costal California is densely populated...that's very true, but we love to get up early to enjoy the freedom and independence of an empty beach.
Dogs are only allowed at Windansea before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. and according to the numerous signs, leashes are ALWAYS required. This may surprise a few people...but we regularly break the rules. The lifeguards begin their morning patrol around 7...so we've made it our practice to get out there around 6 a.m. Our beach is not wide open like some you've been to. It's not like Santa Monica or Del Mar with a wide flat expanse of sand. Windansea is famous for it's picturesque rock formations, it's intimate coves and it's pounding surf. When the tide is up there is only a very narrow strip of sand to work with, but that doesn't bother us, getting wet is part of our program. Carmelo and I have traversed every nook and cranny at Windansea, we've learned all the secret paths through the rocks and climbed on every bit of the awesome sandstone architecture that is continually re- shaped by the pacific.
Carmelo and I are both quite aquatic and very comfortable in the Ocean, but we've both learned that Windansea is a heavy wave that rolls in from the deep sea. Windansea is not the most user friendly beach...plenty of rips and crazy currents exist and the aforementioned rocks can make getting in and out of the water a dicey proposition. Carmelo has gotten completely rolled by unexpected "big ones" crashing into the shore. She has learned to pick her spots when swimming. Given Carmelo's propensity to sniff EVERYTHING we have discovered all kinds of wildlife. Snails, crabs, urchins, starfish and more.
We play ball together, we chase seagulls together, we run barefoot in the sand and we love the quiet time alone on the coastline before the beach comes alive with tourists, surfers, joggers and fisherman.
Ironically we always bring a little bit of Colorado with us to the beach... and it's absolutely Carmelo's favorite part. I always carry a supply of ZUKE's Mini Naturals when we go rogue (off-leash). Zuke's is based in Durango, Co. and they make a full line of all-natural dog and cat treats that are sold nationally at better pet stores. Click the logo/link to save $$. I use mini naturals as a reward and sometimes as a necessary enticement for Carmelo to behave. Fuel the Love as the Zuke's package says. The moist and healthy mini's are my secret weapon...she loves them. It's amazing how obedient Carmelo becomes when I have a fresh supply of Salmon mini's at the ready. With Zuke's on board...all I have to do is make a move towards my pocket and Carmelo is sitting, shaking and laying down like nobody's business. Zuke's treats have come in handy a few times when Carmelo is running around like crazy and I see the lifeguard approaching in the distance. With a $250 ticket at risk, the Zuke's are like daddy's little helper; hand-in-pocket results in dog-on-leash.