Thanks to our FitDog Friday blog hop hosts: SlimDoggy, Peggy’s Pet Place, and To Dog With Love. FitDog Friday is a weekly hop promoting a fit and healthy lifestyle for our pets, as well as for ourselves!
One very fun way to keep fit is hiking. We are lucky to live in an area where the hiking trails are numerous. We are just south of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and live in a town with one of the most popular hiking destinations in the area: Cardigan Mountain. I’ve hiked up Cardigan many times, and from three different directions. My hubby and I hiked a lot more when we were younger, and with all of our dogs, until the last group. Once we had four dogs we just got out of the habit. Lately I’ve just been missing it a lot, and my sister and I are always talking about hiking every fall.
Kobi is our only current dog that has been hiking much, the girls have only been out occasionally. My sister and I finally got our schedules together and decided to hike this last weekend. Kobi is just getting too old now for hiking, but Sheba and Cricket are still very active. However, with Sheba’s arthritis, in her front shoulders, I didn’t feel like hiking up a mountain would be best for her at this point. She’s been getting better, but I only want to get her slowly back into activity to see how it affects her. My sister and her boyfriend had hiked to a waterfall over the summer and she thought that would be a good hike for us. It’s just under 2.5 miles round trip, and not very steep. It’s rated as an “easy” hike in the book she has.
This hike is on the eastern side of Mt. Cardigan, in the little town of Alexandria. Since we live on the western side of the mountain, it was about a 45 minute drive to get there, since we had to skirt around the mountain range and around the southern part of beautiful Newfound Lake.
The trail to Welton Falls is known as the Manning Trail. It leaves from the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) Cardigan Lodge, an impressive lodge used by hikers and cross country skiers. It was a busy place on this beautiful fall day, but the trail to the falls was quiet, with few people. The trail crosses the lawn of the lodge, then passes through a spruce grove with campsites. After that it meanders along the ridge of the Fowler River.
Sheba and Cricket are intense hikers. I should say Cricket is intense, and Sheba is determined to keep up with her. The trail had a lot of ups and downs, as well as many rocks and tree roots to scramble over, so we really felt like we were getting a workout. The girls definitely kept us moving. Sheba doesn’t normally pull on a leash much, but when she’s trying to keep up with Cricket she does. Cricket pulls some, but at 25 pounds that’s not so bad. 67 pounds of Sheba was a little harder on me. Obviously we need to do some work on that if we’re going to continue to hike!
There were short steep stretches on the trail both ways but no one had any trouble navigating them. Once we reached the beautiful falls, my sister and I were ready to catch our breath, and the two dogs were happy sniffing around and exploring. Sheba had to go in the water every opportunity she got along the trail, and Cricket also enjoyed cooling off.
The girls barely slowed down on the hike out…at one point I told my sister that the dogs were like our personal fitness trainers…not letting us slow down, but keeping us moving. If we stopped to catch our breath or get a drink of water, Cricket would turn around and just kind of look at us impatiently. I’m surprised she wasn’t barking out “move, move, move!!” like a drill sergeant! This might be exactly what FitDog Friday is all about….keeping our dogs fit definitely has the same benefit for us.
What I am the most happy to report is that Sheba was not especially stiff or limping that night or the next day! She really did some scrambling too….she got in the river a couple places and didn’t try to find the easiest way back out. I was prepared that I might have to give her a Rimadyl (she is only on supplements right now with Rimadyl for any bad spells), but she didn’t need one!
I wish I could say the same for myself (and my sister also I suspect). I was sore from head to toe for three days!
We are also joining the fall K9 Kamp hosted by Peggy’s Pet Place, Kol’s Notes, and You Did What with Your Weiner. The theme for this Kamp is “Fitness Fun and Games”. Even though a hike may not be exactly what they had in mind for the Kamp, we feel like it was similar to a game for the girls….since they did, after all, get to play the part of drill sergeants for this hike! It definitely added a lot of minutes to our normal workouts for the week as well.
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