Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mountain Smashers!

I am so proud of my girl Friday! This little gal was a proper trail dog! Yesterday she joined me smashing mountains at Merck Forest, a farmland and forest conservation center in Vermont. We hiked up to the lookout on Mount Antone, a 6.5 mile jaunt to a 2600ft view. A fair first day hike for this collie!

She wore a small pack and carried her own water, bowl, spare map and treats. I had a loaded backpack I was testing for a magazine article and so technically this was a work thing, but it sure felt a lot more like fun.

I've so missed spending time outdoors that wasn't just related to the farm. I used to hike, backpack, and camp all the time but it has been a while. Mostly because when my day job was in an office I craved time outside and spent every weekend in National Parks or local hikes. But when I started farming full time I was constantly outside (even if it was just these 6 acres) and when I wanted to relax it wasn't nature I craved. I wanted to be showered and clean inside. I found a dark movie theatre more relaxing than the trail but I am coming home to it again, especially after yesterday. Yesterday was perfect.

The hike wasn't easy. It was fairly steep at points, an elevation gain of about a thousand feet in 2 miles! It was a summer day, mid morning, and I was sweating buckets and huffing and puffing in ways I never do on a run twice or three times this distance. Hiking is just a whole separate animal and my back which felt like at 17lbs soon started to make the climb even harder. But we pressed on, stopping whenever we needed to. Friday kept pace ahead of me, off leash, trotting with her pack on and stopping whenever I asked. She was so much better behaved in the woods with a backpack then she is walking on the road. Maybe the pack and the forest gave her a sense of work, or purpose of destination in a way an afternoon walk doesn't? All I can say is she was the best hiking dog I ever went out with and I've been hiking with dogs my entire life. This may be her thing!

We finally wound our way up the tight turns and finally hit the lookout I was stunned! What I had worked so hard to reach with Friday was like something out of a fairy tale. A tree, a wooden bench, and an open sky that shared mountains tumbling into mountains! We had it all to ourselves, too! I let Friday rest and nap as I read from the book I carried with me and snacked on some treats I packed. Dragonflies, so many dragonflies, hovered around the ripe raspberries and I snacked on some as I watched them dance and swerve. Up there I forgot the harshness of the climb and just soaked in the earned-sights. (You can see them all on Instagram!) I can't wait to make the hike again, and others in this area. I'm close to the AT in Vermont (also called the Long Trail) and there's a lot of New York State adventures with the Adirondacks fairly close.

So stay tuned for more mountain adventures with Friday! We'll be product testing gear all the rest of this summer and she's a natural when it comes to trekking!