On our last walk around the Sconset Farm loop, which was already a pretty tight fit time-wise because we had just a little over two hours to do the trail (which is 6.2 miles all the way around, according to the trail markers) or else we'd miss the ferry, we ended up having an Unexpected Misadventure.
For whatever reason, Sconset Farm was a super busy and popular walk this trip. It's by far the most heavily used trail anyway -- there are always other joggers, dog walkers, and cyclists around Sconset Farm; it is definitely not a walk for antisocial dogs! -- but in October it was busier than it was in July, even as the once-crowded beaches were completely deserted and the Middle Moors were nearly empty.
At the beginning of our last walk around the loop, Crooky flushed a bunny and darted off the trail. He does that a lot and always comes back, so I didn't think anything of it.
However, shortly after he ran off, we passed a guy with a very big stick (maybe like 8 feet long?). This guy, who I think was just profoundly clueless and not actually mentally handicapped, brandished his stick menacingly at any dog he passed, not because he was afraid of dogs and trying to fend them off, but because he thought the dog might somehow want to play fetch or Tug with him if he did that. Naturally, none of them took up his invitation (although I do kind of wonder what would have happened if he'd crossed paths with a bitesport dog and done that to one of those guys...) and most dogs, including Pongu, were visibly apprehensive about this guy's weird behavior.
Crooky wasn't in sight when I walked past Stick Guy, but I would bet a significant sack of dollars that he came across the guy later and the stick-brandishing scared him off the trail, because Crooky did not come back after he flushed that rabbit. We waited maybe 10-15 minutes and there was no sign of Crooky.
So eventually I walked the half-mile back to the gate area, and there was Crooky, being held on a spare leash by a very nice lady who'd spotted him wandering around the parking lot and clipped her own dog's leash on him to keep the big goofus safe.
I'm moderately impressed that Crooky had the sense to go back to the car once he realized he'd lost us. That parking lot backs up onto a busy, high-speed road, though, so I'm really glad that a fellow dog owner took the initiative to protect the Crookydog from himself. He probably would have seen a bunny and gotten himself pasted, otherwise.
Anyway, I grabbed Crooky and we finished our walk (albeit with a forced march on the last half so we could get back to the parking lot in time) and then we got on the ferry and bade farewell to Nantucket for this year.
We'll be back next summer. Till then, two last pictures: a scenic overlook on a pond near Madaket
and one last sunset on the Middle Moors. This is one of my favorite pictures from that whole trip.