Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sugarloaf Mountain

Though I will confess that it wasn't all bad to be away from Star for a week or so while we traveled, seeing her again was all I thought about as we returned and I went off to daycare to get her as soon as I could. 

I worried that the poor little thing, having come such a long way with us, would backslide in the absence of focused attention and training, and I wanted to get her back on track as soon as possible. 

I am happy to report that although the first day or two back, she did seem to have lost a bit of her frustration tolerance and gone back to being a feisty little demon--there was more of that spunky jumping around, lunging, and mouthing when she didn't get what she wanted, and it took a bit longer for her to calm down--she appears to have gotten back into her calmer, rapidly adjusting groove after just a few days.

What better way to re-cement the bond than to go for a hike together. On Florian's suggestion we went to Sugarloaf Mountain, a gorgeous, steep hike on the way to Frederick, MD that we haven't done in a couple of years.

We love it because of the huge rocks that remind us of Colorado, the steps that have been carved into the rocks in especially steep parts, and the stunning views. I can remember a hike some years ago in the spring, when it was covered with mountain laurel in bloom.

This time, there was snow and ice, but still the same gorgeous rocks and views. 

I just love a sunny day in winter, especially in as beautiful a place as this. 

So mood-elevating to be outside in that much sun, and to take in stunning views and sit on the warming rocks. 

With the two of us, handing all the dogs was not too bad--although certain parts were certainly challenging.

Who knows how much snow, ice, or steep rocky terrain Star has ever encountered. Maybe it was all completely new to her.

That's part of what made it fun. With her new Halti harness--which attaches to her collar so she can't slip out of it the way she did with the Easy Walk harness, and fits much better than the Easy Walk did--her pulling was pretty manageable even on those steep and icy steps.
What a nimble and athletic little thing, with no fear and an adventurous spirit.

even on rocks with deep crevasses between them and at the edge of rocky precipices.

Fozzie and Lamar had a great time too. 

On a nice day like this there were some other people out on the trail, and I was afraid that people with a dog would emerge any minute from behind a rock and Fozzie would yank me right over a cliff. 

That didn't happen though, and the one time we did see a dog up ahead, we were slowly headed down a steep, icy part so I just stayed put with Fozzie and scratched his butt to help him relax. 

And he just watched and stood still! Not a peep out of him! Can you believe that? 

Fozzie really seems to be making progress lately in his leash reactivity and ability to handle other dogs. I can remember when there was no hope of him standing still, being quiet, or being able to eat a treat when he perceived another dog anywhere in the distance. In the past month or two, he's done all these things on several occasions. 

And Lamar just walked right along on his 13-year-old hips. 

Yay team! A gorgeous hike we will have to come back to in every season.


  1. This too looks gorgeous! Living in the city I often feel like we have so much...but then I see these beautiful hiking trails and I realize we don't have anything like this near us.

  2. Mountain laurel. I had to enlarge to have a good look at it. It's gorgeous! Does it have a scent? Somehow it looks scented.

    Your walk looked lovely but I keep wondering how icy those rocks must have been. I think I would have been scared to walk there in case I slipped.

  3. I am glad to hear that Star was able to adjust in such a short time. The hike looks beautiful. I too love to walk on sunny winter days.

  4. Hi Kirsten, that looked like a great outing. Thanks for taking us along.

  5. bet you both missed the beautiful hike
    Benny & Lily

  6. Thanks for sharing the great scenery! Glad to hear that Star was back to normal quickly and really happy for Lamar to get out on that hike.

  7. Beautiful flowers and hike! Must have been good exercise. I bet Star was happy to see you again:)

  8. That's great Fozzie has made progress on his reactivity. I like your picture of you and your boys. What do you attribute his progress to most? I feel like Hades alternates between progress and regression on his reactivity all the time.

  9. What a beautiful place. I love long hikes like that but prefer to have Delilah off leash because of her constant pulling. I think next hike, she will wear her harness.

    So you like the new harness better?

  10. What a beautiful hike y'all went on! Gorgeous! Very happy you did not go over a cliff - Yay Fozzie! :D

    Waggin at ya,


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